Video of U.S. President Biden shared to falsely claim he fell asleep during an event in Hawaii

By: Vivek J
August 23 2023

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Video of U.S. President Biden shared to falsely claim he fell asleep during an event in Hawaii


The Verdict False

A short low-resolution clip of Biden bowing his head has been shared to wrongly claim he fell asleep during a meeting wit victims of Hawaii wildfires.

Claim ID 06cf014d


The recent wildfires that ravaged Maui in Hawaii (locally referred to as Hawai’i) have resulted in at least 115 deaths, with over a thousand people going missing. In the aftermath of the fires, that started on August 8, U.S. President Joe Biden visited the island state and met with the victims and families on Monday. 

In the wake of the visit, a short clip of President Biden appearing to doze off while attending a meeting with the victims and families started circulating on social media platforms. One such post on X (formerly Twitter) by “Western Standard” had a caption that read, “Joe Biden just fell asleep in the middle of his meeting with victims of the Maui fires…” Several people, including talk show host Sean Hannity, shared varied versions of the same clip to show that Biden fell asleep during the meeting. Archives of such similar posts can be seen here and here

Screengrab from a clip purporting to show President Biden asleep during a community event in Hawaii. (Source: X/@seanhannity/Altered by Logically Facts)

However, the claims about President Biden falling asleep are incorrect.

In fact 

We searched for the event’s details and came across several videos of the community engagement event attended by President Biden at the Lahaina Civic Center in Hawaii. Upon closely looking at the videos, we found the part shared on social media claiming that President Biden was asleep. In the video, Biden appears to cough and look down briefly. Around the 03:04:18 timestamp, he nods in response to the speaker and lifts his head just after a few seconds. He did not appear to fall asleep.

Upon further looking for more videos of this event, we found a high-resolution video of the event uploaded on C-SPAN’s website. On closely watching this high-resolution video, one can see clearly that Biden did not nod off as claimed on social media. While listening to a victim’s speech, around the 19:19 timestamp, he is seen coughing, looking down, and nodding in agreement before lifting his head. We can also see in the high-resolution video that Biden’s eyes are open and not shut. 

Thus, it is evident that a low-resolution video of President Biden has been shared to show that he fell asleep during the community event in Lahaina, Hawaii. 

President Biden has been the target of similar claims in the past as well. Such claims have been debunked by Logically Facts and other fact-checking organizations. 

Former President Donald Trump has been referring to Biden as “Sleepy Joe” since the 2020 U.S. Presidential campaign, implying that the latter is incapable of discharging his duties in office. 

The verdict

A short low-resolution clip has been edited out from a longer version of an event attended by President Joe Biden to show that he fell asleep. On the contrary, the longer, high-resolution version of the video clearly shows that he was awake during the event. Therefore, we mark the claim false.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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