President Joe Biden met with the Israeli president in July at the White House. A clip from that meeting is circulating online with the false suggestion that Biden was “falling asleep” during the meeting. The full video shows Biden was consulting notecards and wasn’t asleep.
President Joe Biden met with Israeli President Isaac Herzog on July 18 at the White House, and what might have ordinarily been a routine exchange of remarks instead became fodder for partisan social media accounts.
The pair spent about five minutes sitting together in the Oval Office with the press, and Biden looked at notecards while he delivered his prepared remarks to Herzog.
A roughly 15-second clip from that televised meeting quickly spread online. Fox News host Sean Hannity posted the clip with a caption that said, “Biden Delivers Incoherent Mumbling.” The Republican Party in Collin County, Texas, posted it with a message that went viral, garnering more than 500,000 views on Facebook, saying, “Biden appears to be mumbling in his sleep during a meeting today with Israeli President, Isaac Herzog.”
“It looks like, to me, that he’s falling asleep, he’s struggling to stay awake,” Sabia said in the video, which was titled, in part, “Tragedy At The White House.”
“I don’t know if he had maybe a little card in his hand that he was trying to read off of, it didn’t look like it, I couldn’t see one… It looked like he was just looking down into, like, space and trying to stay awake,” he said.
But it was clear from the full video of the exchange between Biden and Herzog that the president was consulting notecards as he delivered his remarks. Here’s what he said during the highlighted portion of the exchange, according to the White House transcript:
Biden, July 18: Last year, we convened the largest gathering of Arabs and Israelis in a decade at the Negev Forum. And we resolved the maritime boundary dispute between Israel and Lebanon, which people thought could never happen. We opened up an airspace for Israel over Saudi Arabia and Oman after I had a little visit there. And we brought Israelis and Palestinians together at a political level on the — in — at the — in Aqaba and Sharm.
At no point did the president fall asleep or appear to suffer any kind of health-related “episode,” as Sabia suggested.
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Jean-Pierre, Karine. Press secretary, White House. “Statement from Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on the Visit of President Isaac Herzog of Israel.” 13 Jul 2023.
C-SPAN. “President Biden Meets with Israeli President Herzog.” 18 Jul 2023.
“Remarks by President Biden and President Isaac Herzog of the State of Israel Before Bilateral Meeting.” Whitehouse.gov. 18 Jul 2023.
U.S. Department of State. Press release. “Aqaba Joint Communique.” 26 Feb 2023.
U.S. Embassy in Israel. Press release. “Joint Communique from the March 19 meeting in Sharm El Sheikh.” 19 Mar 2023.
Usero, Adriana. “No. Biden didn’t fall asleep while at a Maui wildfire event.” Washington Post. 23 Aug 2023.
O’Rourke, Ciara. “Video clips disprove claim that Biden was sleeping in a meeting with Israel’s prime minister.” Poynter. 31 Aug 2021.
Gore, D’Angelo. “Video Manipulated to Show Biden Asleep.” FactCheck.org. 2 Sep 2020.