Fact Check: Biden Did NOT Call NATO Secretary-General An 'Intellectual Wigger' At July 2024 Summit

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Biden Did NOT Call NATO Secretary-General An 'Intellectual Wigger' At July 2024 Summit Misheard

Did President Joe Biden call NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg an "intellectual wigger" at the NATO summit in Washington in July 2024? No, that's not true: Listening to recordings confirms the official transcript of the president's remarks at the summit, in which Biden said "intellectual rigor," not "intellectual wigger." No credible evidence or verified report supports this claim.

The claim appeared in a post and video (archived here) published on X, formerly Twitter, by conservative podcaster Benny Johnson on July 9, 2024, under the on-screen title "PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN." The video's caption said:

Joe Biden calls the Secretary of NATO an 'intellectual wigger'

This is what the post looked like on X at the time of writing:


(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed Jul 10 14:43:51 2024 UTC)

What is a 'wigger'?

The social media post says Biden uses the word "wigger," which Merriam-Webster dictionary describes as "slang, often offensive," and defines as a blend of the words "white" and "nigger." The dictionary continues:

a usually young white person whose clothing, language, and mannerisms are regarded as imitative of those stereotypically associated with African-Americans : a white person who admires and seeks to emulate black culture

White House

The official transcript of the president's comments at the start of the NATO summit in Washington on July 9, 2024, can be found on the White House website. In his introduction of Stoltenberg, who is Norwegian, Biden said this about the NATO secretary-general (emphasis ours):

So much of the progress we've made in the Alliance is thanks to the secretary. He's a man of integrity and intellectual rigor, a calm temperament in a moment of crisis ...

Google search

Lead Stories searched using keywords on Google News, visible here (archived here), and found no credible reporting as of July 10, 2024, to corroborate the claim that Biden called Stoltenberg an "intellectual wigger."

Read more

Additional Lead Stories fact checks on claims involving Biden can be found here.

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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