Fact Check

Biden Called Trump the 'Sitting President' During January 2024 Speech?

U.S. President Joe Biden delivered remarks during a Democratic Party dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, on Jan. 27, 2024.

Published Jan 29, 2024

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks to a crowd during the South Carolina Democratic Party First in the Nation Celebration and dinner at the state fairgrounds on Jan. 27, 2024 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina holds its Democratic party primary on February 3. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images) (Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Image Via Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Claim:
U.S. President Joe Biden called former U.S. President Donald Trump the "sitting president" during a Democratic Party dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, on Jan. 27, 2024.

In late January 2024, numerous users on X, YouTube, Facebook and Truth Social posted a video claiming that it showed U.S. President Joe Biden wrongly referring to former U.S. President Donald Trump as the "sitting president" in a speech that month.

The Republican National Committee's rapid-response account was one of many users to post the video:

This claim was true, as evidenced not only by the video itself but also the official White House transcript. That transcript showed the word "sitting" crossed out and replaced with the word "former," as Trump had not been the sitting president for more than three years.

The slip-up occurred during a speech Biden gave during a Democratic Party dinner in Columbia, South Carolina, on Jan. 27, 2024.

The official White House transcript — with the crossed-out word "sitting" — read as follows and included yet another misleading remark:

In recent weeks, we’re starting to see real evidence that American consumers are facing [feeling] real confidence in the economy we’re building. Let me tell you who else is noticing that: Donald Trump. (Laughter.)

Did you see what he recently said about that wants to — that he wants to see the economy crash this year? A sitting [former] President. As they say in my faith, “Bless me, Father, for…” — (the President begins to makes the sign of the cross). I mean, come on, man. (Laughter.)

“When there’s a crash” — “Wh-” — he said, “When there’s a crash, I hope in the next 12 months,” he went on to say. It’s unbelievable. It’s un-American.

How can anyone — especially a former president — wish for an economic crash that would devastate millions of Americans?

Biden's claim that Trump wanted "an economic crash that would devastate millions of Americans" was misleading. Biden was referencing an answer Trump gave during an early January 2024 interview with Lou Dobbs for Lindell TV. Here are Trump's exact words from a video of the full interview hosted on Rumble.com (begins at 26:15):

We have an economy that's incredible. We have an economy that's so fragile. And the only reason it's running now is it's running off the fumes of what we did. What the Trump administration did. It's just running off the fumes. And, when there's a crash, I hope it's going to be during this next 12 months, because I don't want to be Herbert Hoover. The one president, I just don't want to be Herbert Hoover.

In other words, Trump was saying that he believed there would be an economic crash that would happen in the future. Trump's own words reflected that he hoped, if a crash did occur and he won the 2024 election, that it would take place before the January 2025 presidential inauguration so he could avoid the same kind of criticism that former U.S. President Herbert Hoover faced during America's Great Depression.

This was not the same as Biden's claim that Trump simply said he wished for an economic crash.

Biden's speech can be watched in full on YouTube, with the "sitting president" moment occurring shortly after the 15-minute mark.

Sources

“Herbert Hoover.” Britannica, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Herbert-Hoover.

“Joe Biden Speaks in Columbia, SC at Democratic Dinner: Full Video.” YouTube, News 19 WLTX, 27 Jan. 2024, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uq6HeBLgrtI.

“Lou Dobbs Interview President Trump.” Rumble.Com, Bannon’s War Room, 9 Jan. 2024, https://rumble.com/v45ws99-lou-dobbs-interview-president-trump-monday-august-8th.html.

Miller, Zeke. “Biden Praises Black Churches and Says the World Would Be a Different Place without Their Example.” The Associated Press, 28 Jan. 2024, https://apnews.com/article/biden-black-churches-south-carolina-primary-59db36dad46d0bece5152eecc8fa4626.

“Remarks by President Biden at a Political Event at South Carolina’s First in the Nation Dinner | Columbia, SC.” The White House, 28 Jan. 2024, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2024/01/28/remarks-by-president-biden-at-a-political-event-at-south-carolinas-first-in-the-nation-dinner-columbia-sc/.

Sullivan, Kate. “Trump Says He Hopes Any Economic Crash Would Happen before He Could Serve a Possible Second Term | CNN Politics.” CNN, 9 Jan. 2024, https://www.cnn.com/2024/01/08/politics/trump-economy-crash/index.html.

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