Claim: A viral video clip shows US President Biden falling asleep on stage during a Memorial Day observance event. 

Fact: A video clip with poor resolution was shared without context to make it look like President Joe Biden fell asleep during the event. 

On 27 May 2024 X (formerly Twitter) user @TPostMillennial shared a video clip of US President Joe Biden in which he appears to be falling asleep on stage during an event on Memorial Day. The post was captioned, “Is Biden sleeping at the Memorial Day Address??” 

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check conducted a reverse image search of the video and found it is a snippet of a longer video that shows the Memorial Day observance event held at Arlington National Cemetery on 27 May 2024. 

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States to commemorate US military personnel who died while serving in the Armed Forces. The observance event typically involves speeches from distinguished defense personnel and the President of the United States, along with a ceremony where a wreath is laid at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

At this year’s event, President Biden honoured the lives lost in a speech saying, “We gather at this sacred place, at this solemn moment, to remember, to honor –honor the sacrifice of the hundreds of thousands of women and men who have given their lives to this nation,” as reported by CNN.  

The viral clip of the president sleeping lasts only 1 minute and 36 seconds and by matching keyframes of the video clip, Soch Fact Check found a complete video of the event posted on YouTube by local news station KSAT-12. The viral clip of President Biden falling asleep begins at the 23:50 mark, during a speech by the United States Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, and cuts off at the 25:42 mark. 

While the YouTube video’s quality is good, the camera remains focused on the Secretary of Defense, as such Biden remains out of focus in the background. This out-of-focus quality makes it difficult to discern if he fell asleep.

Despite that, Soch Fact Check noted several signs that show that he was awake during the viral clip. While in some moments of the video, Biden’s eyes seem to be shut it only lasts for a few seconds before he opens them up again, indicating that he never fell asleep. For example: 

While his eyes appear to be closed at the 23:50 mark, he opens them again only 4 seconds later. 

At the 24:10 mark, his eyes appear to close again but a closer look at the video shows that the president is moving his fingers, and is actually looking down at his hands and observing them.

Biden’s eyes then appear shut for the longest time, from the 24:40 mark to 25:42. However, if closely observed Biden is notably awake as he is visibly nodding at the 24:52 mark and then again at 25:12. He also moves his hands at 25:35, which further confirms that Biden was not asleep during the speech.

Interestingly, the viral clip, which claims to show him asleep, cuts off at the 25:42 mark just before Biden opens his eyes. The frame has also been cropped so that Biden’s hand movements are not visible. 

Memorial Day also holds a special regard for the president who lost his son, Beau Biden in 2015 to cancer. His son had served as a major in the Delaware Army National Guard in the Iraq War, and the president believes exposure to toxins from burn pits in the Iraq War was the cause of Beau’s cancer diagnosis. 

Biden acknowledged his personal loss on Memorial Day saying, “Our losses are not the same: He (Beau) didn’t perish on the battlefield, he was a cancer victim from a consequence of being in the Army in Iraq for a year next to a burn pit,”. He added, “And as it is for so many of you, the pain of his loss is with me every day, as it is with you, still sharp, still clear.” 

Therefore, it seems the president was deeply saddened and emotionally overwhelmed at many points while sitting on the stage. For example, at the 0:12 mark of the viral clip (or at 24:03 for the long-form video), the president seems on the verge of tears as he leans forward and covers his eyes. Many X users also noted that he seemed to be expressing grief at the event. 

Soch Fact Check observed that this is not the first time the president has been accused of falling asleep during important moments, earning him the nickname “Sleepy Joe” from political opponent former president Donald Trump. It seems Biden has a habit of momentarily closing his eyes or looking down at his hands or lap while listening, which creates the impression that he is falling asleep.  Similar claims have been fact-checked multiple times over the years. In 2020, a viral video showed Biden falling asleep during an interview. noted that the manipulated clip was, in fact, from a virtual town hall he did with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The claim misrepresents a moment where Biden was looking down. 

In 2023, NBC News fact-checked similar claims of the president falling asleep during the Maui fire memorial. As is the case with this fact-check NBC News noted the poor quality of the video made it seem like the president fell asleep as his eyes aren’t clearly visible. However, the fact-check concluded that the claim was false as they had found a higher quality clip which confirmed that Biden was simply looking down and nodding during someone else’s speech. 

In 2024, Snopes also fact-checked a claim of the president falling asleep during his meeting with former Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett. Once again, the fact-check concluded that the president had lowered his head for around 30 seconds while the Israeli prime minister spoke, which created the impression that he had fallen asleep. However, his lucidity was evidenced by him moving his hands and twiddling his thumbs.  


Soch Fact Check found the claim on X here and here.

It was also shared on Facebook here

Conclusion: The claim that President Biden fell asleep during Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s speech, is false. 

Background image in cover photo: POTUS

To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to 


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x