Fact Check

Biden Did Not Fall Asleep While Meeting with Maui Fire Victims, C-SPAN Video Confirms

A close-up shot broadcast by C-SPAN showed that President Biden's eyes were open, despite a popular social media post that pushed this false rumor.

Published Aug 22, 2023

U.S. President Joe Biden poses for photos after speaking during a community engagement event at the Lahaina Civic Center in Lahaina, Hawaii on Aug. 21, 2023. (Photo by Mandel NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images) (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Image Via MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images
Claim:
Viral video authentically shows that U.S. President Joe Biden fell asleep during a meeting with victims of the August 2023 Maui wildfires.

On Aug. 22, 2023, a dubious user on X (formerly Twitter) posted a low-quality, edited video and falsely claimed it showed that U.S. President Joe Biden had fallen asleep while meeting with victims impacted by the August 2023 Maui wildfires.

The fires that scourged the island of Maui were the deadliest U.S. wildfires in more than a century. As of Aug. 22, authorities were reporting that hundreds of people were still unaccounted for.

The video in question was recorded inside of the Lahaina Civic Center and was one of several stops for the president and the first lady, Jill Biden, during their visit to the island on Aug. 21.

The caption of the post read, "Joe Biden just fell asleep in the middle of his meeting with victims of the Maui fires." As of this writing, this post had been viewed around 6 million times.

The user who made this post is known for spreading baseless conspiracy theories about the Maui wildfires and has bragged about making money on X based on promoting such false rumors.

Fox News host Sean Hannity tweeted a similar video of Biden supposedly dozing off, with the caption, "Biden appears to fall asleep during a ceremony in Hawaii honoring the hundreds of Americans killed by the fires."

Other users promoted the same video and rumor about Biden purportedly nodding off, such as this post that read, "Joe Biden falling asleep in Maui whilst meeting local survivors of one of the worst Human Tragedies in American History. Impeach this child sniffing corrupted criminal NOW."

A quick and simple check of C-SPAN's broadcast of this gathering in Maui (full video on C-SPAN) revealed that Biden's eyes were open, not closed, during the portion of the clip that was promoted by dubious users on X. (The moment begins at around the 19:28 mark in the video.)

In other words, no, Biden had not fallen asleep while meeting with the victims, as evidenced by this high-definition clip that was captured from C-SPAN's broadcast:

We previously reported about other times users had claimed Biden fell asleep during various engagements. In those cases, we found that the rumors were either false or that they lacked enough evidence to make a firm determination of whether or not he had dozed off.

Sources

Evon, Dan. "Does This Video Show Biden Falling Asleep in an Interview?" Snopes, 31 Aug. 2020, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-fall-asleep-during-interview/.

Ibrahim, Nur. "Does Video Show Joe Biden Falling Asleep in Meeting with Israeli PM?" Snopes, 30 Aug. 2021, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-asleep-meeting-israeli-pm/.

Lee, Jessica. "Does Vid Show Biden Dozing off at Climate Change Summit?" Snopes, 1 Nov. 2021, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-sleep-climate-summit/.

McAvoy, Audrey, et al. "Maui Confronts the Challenge of Finding More than 800 Missing People after the Deadly Wildfires." The Associated Press, 22 Aug. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/maui-fire-missing-list-lahaina-e6909a2be7860fc7f9062c886a15f979.

Min Kim, Seung. "Biden Says Federal Government Will Help Maui 'for as Long as It Takes' to Recover from Wildfire." The Associated Press, 21 Aug. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/biden-hawaii-wildfires-maui-7f3cd7b227ae397f164f0f6f9e26c9e7.

"President Biden Attends Community Engagement Event in Lahaina, Hawaii." C-SPAN.org, 21 Aug. 2023, https://www.c-span.org/video/?530006-1/president-biden-attends-community-engagement-event-lahaina-hawaii.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.