Fact check: Joe Biden no longer owns house highlighted by Eric Trump in online posts

Devon Link, USA TODAY
·5 min read

The claim: Joe Biden lives in a large estate bought on a senator's salary

Since before the 2016 election, critics have asked to see President Donald Trump's tax returns to no avail. Several weeks ago, the New York Times reported Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, heightening critics' suspicions about Trump's finances and financial dealings. Now, Eric Trump is using an aerial photo of Democratic nominee Joe Biden's former home to raise questions about Biden's finances.

“The salary of a U.S. Senator is $174,000 per year. This is Joe Biden’s house.... seems legit,” Eric Trump shared on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram Oct. 17.

However, Eric Trump's claim is false: Biden no longer owns that home and Biden has not made a senator's salary in more than a decade.

USA TODAY has reached out to Eric Trump and the Trump Organization for comment.

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Biden no longer owns the house

The pictured home is a 5-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom house at 6 Montchan Drive in Wilmington, Del. Redfin estimates the 10,012-ft home is worth $1,643,478.

Biden bought the former Dupont mansion for $185,000 in the mid-1970s after learning it was set for demolition. The home was abandoned and needed repairs. The Wall Street Journal described the DuPont purchase as one of Biden’s many strained financial ventures.

Biden stands on stage with his wife, Jill, and sons Hunter, left, and Beau, along with his father, Joe Biden Sr., during a campaign event in 1988.
Biden stands on stage with his wife, Jill, and sons Hunter, left, and Beau, along with his father, Joe Biden Sr., during a campaign event in 1988.

He nicknamed the house “The Station” and used it as his headquarters during his 1988 presidential campaign. He lived in the home for two decades until he sold it to MBNA vice chairman John. R. Cochran III for $1.2 million in February 1996.

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Biden's finances through the years

The son of a Scranton, Pa., car salesman, Biden is no stranger to financial challenges. Biden has acknowledged his modest upbringing throughout his political career, referring to himself as “Middle Class Joe” and “one of the poorest members of Congress,”

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaks in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, outside Biden's childhood home as part of the Democratic National Convention, in Scranton, Pa., Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., speaks in support of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, outside Biden's childhood home as part of the Democratic National Convention, in Scranton, Pa., Tuesday, Aug 18, 2020.

In 2009, when he was serving as vice president, CBS described Biden as the “least wealthy administration figure” with an estimated net worth of $27,012.

Since ending his tenure as vice president, Biden and his wife earned more than $15 million dollars from public speaking, teaching and writing. Biden has not served in Congress as a senator since becoming vice president in 2009.

In 2019, Forbes estimated Biden and his wife Jill were worth $9 million.

Biden faced some financial challenges during his vice presidency. In January 2016, Biden made headlines when he recalled how President Barack Obama had once offered his family financial support. Biden had considered selling his house to support his son’s family after his oldest son Beau Biden suffered a stroke, threatening his position as Delaware’s attorney general.

President Barack Obama hugs Vice President Joe Biden during funeral services for Biden's son, Beau Biden, in 2015.
President Barack Obama hugs Vice President Joe Biden during funeral services for Biden's son, Beau Biden, in 2015.

"He said, 'I'll give you the money. Whatever you need, I'll give you the money. Don't, Joe – promise me. Promise me.' I said, 'I don't think we're going to have to anyway.' He said, 'promise me,'" Biden said recounting the exchange with Obama during an interview with CNN.

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Eric Trump’s claim called out online

The internet was quick to fact check the falsehoods in Trump’s claim.

“Actually, that's not Biden's house. It's a money pit he bought in 1975 for $185,000, spent 21 years renovating and sold in 1996 for $1.2 million. I wrote about it last time he ran 12 years ago,” tweeted New York Times reporter Mike McIntire.

Biden campaign spokesperson Bill Russo addressed the false statement on Twitter.

“Lol, this isn't Biden's house and he hasn't been a senator in 12 years?” Russo tweeted Oct. 17.

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Our rating: False

Former Vice President Biden no longer lives in the home pictured in Eric Trump's social media posts. Biden owned and renovated the former DuPont mansion for two decades before selling it for a profit in 1996. He has not earned a senator's salary since 2009. We rate this claim FALSE because it is not supported by out research.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Biden no longer owns house Eric Trump highlighted online