Get PolitiFact in your inbox.

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 21, 2022

Biden didn’t sleep at Saudi Arabia summit

If Your Time is short

  • Biden appears to be listening at the summit, not sleeping. 

Since former President Donald Trump first called President Joe Biden "Sleepy Joe," misinformation to support the derisive nickname has spread on social media. 

But we’ve debunked multiple claims that Biden was caught falling asleep when he should really have been awake, such as during a TV interview or when meeting with Israel’s prime minister.

A similar claim has emerged since Biden traveled to Saudi Arabia to speak to a summit of Arab leaders in Jeddah. 

"WATCH," one July 18 Instagram post says. "Joe Biden falls asleep at the Arab Conference in Saudi Arabia."

"It’s an actual embarrassment that this man is SLEEPING while trying to beg for oil from Saudi Arabia," another post says. 

Featured Fact-check

Both videos show clips of Biden sitting at the summit with his head bowed and his eyes lowered. 

These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

We found a video of the summit that Reuters streamed live on YouTube showing the moment the posts use to claim BIden was sleeping. But in context, you can see that he’s awake. 


Biden appears starting around the 20:12 mark, and although he does at points have his head bowed and his eyes lowered, he keeps shifting positions, moving his hands and raising his head and eyes. He appears to simply be listening, not sleeping. 

One of the posts also draws from footage of Biden delivering a speech at the summit. Unless he was doing something akin to sleepwalking with his eyes open, he was awake.

We rate these posts False. 


Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

Biden didn’t sleep at Saudi Arabia summit

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up