Fact Check: Biden Did NOT Fall Asleep During Debate On June 27, 2024

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Biden Did NOT Fall Asleep During Debate On June 27, 2024 Frozen Frame

Did President Joe Biden "literally" fall asleep during the first 2024 presidential debate with his opponent former President Donald Trump on June 27? No, that's not true: No candidate fell asleep, as a recording of the event confirms. A screenshot from the live broadcast, shared on social media, showed a brief moment when Biden was looking down.

The claim appeared in a post (archived here) on Instagram on June 27, 2024. The post showed an image of Biden and the caption:

joe biden literally just fell asleep during the debate.

This is what the claim looked like at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-06-28 at 9.43.08 AM.png

(Source: Instagram screenshot taken on Fri June 28 13:43:08 2024 UTC)

The image of Biden was an authentic screenshot from the CNN-hosted debate, but the claim was false.

A Lead Stories reporter watched the debate in its entirety -- Biden did not fall asleep either during the live broadcast or in the recorded version of the original footage uploaded by CNN onto YouTube and also available on C-SPAN.

The screenshot from the post on Instagram only reflected a brief moment when Biden, blinking, looked down at his notes; as seen, for example, in the fragment between the 7:52- and 8:00-minute marks in the video footage.

Trump also was seen blinking -- a moment that also could be inaccurately portrayed as "sleep"; for example, at the 4:40-minute mark, as seen in the screenshot below:

Screenshot 2024-06-28 at 10.08.41 AM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Fri June 28 14:08:41 2024 UTC)

CNN's rush transcript of the June 27, 2024, debate (archived here) mentions nothing remotely close to one of the presidential candidates falling asleep.

A search for keywords from the post (seen here and archived here), across websites indexed by Google News, did not produce any relevant results corroborating the claim.

Other Lead Stories fact checks of claims about the 2024 presidential election in the United States can be read here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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