A tweet wishing President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. a happy birthday last week sparked false rumors that Mr Biden was celebrating his 78th birthday with a maskless party on Friday.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted a video of herself celebrating with Mr. Biden as a crowd sang Happy Birthday. She later noticed that the video was filmed at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta in 2019, on Mr. Biden's 77th birthday, following the Democratic debate that night.
Mr Biden is wearing the same red tie in the video as in the debate. A video of the same event from a different angle shows television screens with the words “Debate Viewing Party” on the walls.
Mr Biden wore masks regularly during the pandemic and was ridiculed by President Trump for doing so.
Aside from inaccurate claims that the video was shot that year, some online commentators used the video to criticize the restrictions on Americans' Thanksgiving plans by public health officials, including those at the centers for control and disease prevention. (While the video shows a large, prepandemic gathering, it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving specifically.)
The allegations follow multiple accurate reports of other Democratic politicians violating social distancing guidelines. Photos have surfaced showing a maskless California Governor Gavin Newsom attending dinner at an expensive Napa Valley restaurant and state Senator Dianne Feinstein walking the corridors of Congress without a mask. In New York City recently, local Democratic leaders mingled at a birthday party in Brooklyn and rarely wore masks.
Mr. Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris were in Wilmington, Delaware on Friday to meet with Speaker Nancy Pelosi from California and Senator Chuck Schumer from New York, the minority leader. They sat several feet apart and wore masks, and Mrs. Pelosi gave Mr. Biden a white orchid for his birthday.