Did President Joe Biden misspeak while addressing a picket line of striking United Auto Workers (UAW) in Michigan on September 26, 2023, saying that while he had marched in other UAW picket lines it was the "first time I've ever done it in person"? No, that's not true: Biden was misquoted in a social media post. He was speaking into a bullhorn and his words were recorded by several news outlets. He said, "I marched a lot of UAW picket lines when I was a senator since 1973. But I tell you what -- first time I've ever done it as the president."
Joe Biden minutes after slipping on steps of Air Force One:
'I marched a lot of UAW picket lines when I was a Senator since 1973. But I tell you what -- first time I've ever done it in person.'
Johnson misquoted Biden even though Biden can be heard plainly saying "as the president," and not "in person," in the video clip included with Johnson's post.
Biden joined the picket line (archived here) of members of the UAW outside a General Motors distribution center in Belleville, Wayne County, Michigan, on September 26, 2023. This was an unprecedented show of solidarity with strikers from a sitting president, and this detail was extensively covered by major news media. The Washington Post (archived here), CNN (archived here) and The Associated Press (archived here) all published articles explaining that a sitting president had never before joined a picket line.
This also suggests the reason why Biden would make a statement drawing a distinction between the times he has supported striking workers in the past, when he was a senator, and now, as the president. Biden said:
I marched a lot of UAW picket lines when I was a senator since 1973. But I tell you what -- first time I've ever done it as the president.
Videos from several news outlets posted to YouTube on September 26, 2023, recorded these words. A fluctuation in the bullhorn's volume was also captured. These links are cued to play at the moment these words are spoken: