Right-wingers seize on viral TikTok as proof Biden cheated during the debate

@startinofmartin/TikTok lev radin/ShutterStock (Licensed)

No, CNN wasn’t sending secret hand gestures to Biden during the debate

The gesture in question was actually aimed at Trump.


Katherine Huggins


Right-wingers have found a four-second clip of CNN host Dana Bash gesturing during the debate that they think is evidence the network gave President Joe Biden a leg up.

The gesture—a subtle pointing to her co-moderator Jake Tapper—is being interpreted by many viewers as a signal to former President Donald Trump that the conversation was moving on.

But critics of Biden say Bash was trying to help the president look at the camera.

A TikTok posted Saturday that shows the move has been viewed more than 1.5 million times, with many commenters accusing Biden’s team of cheating during the debate (though if you watched the debate, Biden in no way emerged as the winner—and there’s still talk among some Democrats about replacing him on the 2024 ticket).

@startinofmartin Presidential debate #debate #presidentialdebate #election2024 ♬ original sound – Martin Apablaza

The TikTok was amplified throughout social media, including by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who asked on X: “Dana Bash – what are you doing?”

Gaetz added in a follow-up post that the gesture was likely innocuous.

“I have been informed by a source at CNN that CNN believes Dana was signaling Trump to keep the debate moving early on,” Gaetz said. “I hope Dana can provide direct clarity on this. The moderators were very fair in this debate. This was just a curious moment that shouldn’t overshadow an otherwise solid job by CNN.”

But some are not buying the explanation—and continue to insist the gesture is proof of something nefarious.

“Seems more likely Dana was signaling Biden so he knew who to look at when they were talking,” wrote one X account.

“OMG she had to remind Joe where to look,” quipped another prominent right-wing account.

“You knew they were gonna give him some kind of assist,” alleged someone else.

But not all of Trump’s fans were buying into the theory.

“I remember Trump was trying to rebuttal and Tapper was moving onto the next question,” wrote one person. “Dana was basically telling Trump to move on. I’m MAGA, so don’t get it twisted.”

Another pro-MAGA user agreed, writing that Trump “was still speaking, and Jake started talking to [Biden] so she motioned to TRUMP.. hey we’re moving on.”

She added: “And for F Sakes I do not want to defend her, but that’s what happened.”

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