A fake Joe Biden campaign website is being run by an operative on President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, according to a new report Saturday.
The New York Times tracked down the owner of a site with the URL JoeBiden.info, a “parody” campaign website featuring out-of-context quotes from the former vice president and leading 2020 Democratic candidate. The site also includes GIFs of him touching women in ways that others alleged made them uncomfortable.
Patrick Mauldin is a digital media specialist who worked on messaging for Trump’s 2016 campaign and, according to the Times, has been working on the president’s re-election campaign. Along with his brother, Mauldin runs Vici Media Group, a Republican consulting firm based in Austin, Texas. Mauldin acknowledged to the paper his role in creating the website, which he has used to spread disparaging and sometimes misleading content about Biden.
Visitors to the fake campaign site are greeted with a warm, grinning portrait of Biden with his arms crossed, standing in front of the American flag. Adjacent to the image is a block of text headed by a “Biden2020” logo, though one that does not resemble the Biden campaign’s official design. Those unfamiliar with the Biden campaign might not know, for instance, that Biden’s actual campaign logo consists of the word “Biden” stacked on top of the word “President.”
“Uncle Joe is back and ready to take a hands-on approach to America’s problems,” the site’s header reads, an allusion to allegations related to the former vice president’s inappropriate touching of numerous women. “Joe Biden has a good feel for the American people and knows exactly what they really want deep down.”
Indeed, the inappropriate touching scandal that cast a pall over the early days of the Biden campaign is a main theme of Mauldin’s fake website. Multiple women came forward earlier this year to allege that Biden displayed excessive closeness when interacting with them, including touching their shoulders or kissing them platonically when they did not feel that level of intimacy was appropriate. None of the allegations involved sexual abuse or misconduct.