Fact Check

Did Biden Say There Are Plans To Build a New Railroad Across the Indian Ocean?

The video accurately represented what Biden said.

Published June 16, 2023

 ( Getty Images)
Image Via Getty Images
Claim:
On June 14, 2023, U.S. President Joe Biden said a new railroad was planned to be built across the Indian Ocean.
Context

Biden's obvious verbal gaffe was met with derision on social media.

On June 14, 2023, claims began to spread on social media platforms that U.S. President Joe Biden had said there were plans to build a railroad across the Indian Ocean.

"BIDEN: "We have plans to build a railroad from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean," RNC Research posted on Twitter on June 14, 2023. The account is managed by the Republican National Committee. 

Attached to the tweet was a video in which Biden said, "We have plans to build a railroad from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean. We have plans to build in — in Angola one of the largest solar plants in the world. I can go on, but I'm not. I'm going off-script. I'm going to get in trouble."

We found unrelated posts repeating the claim on Twitter, as well as other social media platforms like TikTok, Reddit, and Facebook.

The video accurately represented what Biden said. Biden was delivering remarks at the League of Conservation Voters' annual capitol dinner on June 14, the same day the claim started to spread online. We found the quote in the White House transcript of the remarks.

We also found it in a livestream of Biden's remarks posted on YouTube by PBS NewsHour, starting at 12:41 in the video:

At the time of publication, there was no evidence of an actual proposal to build a railroad over the Indian Ocean. We found he was most likely referring to a proposal to build a rail line in Sub-Saharan Africa with the goal of reaching the Indian Ocean, which was referenced in an official White House transcript from May 2023.

There was evidence for Biden's claim about building solar plants in Angola. In June 2022, Biden announced the U.S. government had facilitated a partnership between American firms and the government of Angola to invest $2 billion in building new solar projects. 

A year later, in June 2023, the Export-Import Bank of the United States approved a loan of over $900 million to the Ministry of Energy and Water in Angola to support the construction of two solar plants in the country. The bank is the official export credit agency of the United States. 

Sources

About EXIM | EXIM.GOV. https://www.exim.gov/about. Accessed 16 June 2023.

Export-Import Bank of the United States Approves More Than $900M for Solar Energy Project in Angola | EXIM.GOV. https://www.exim.gov/news/export-import-bank-united-states-approves-more-900m-for-solar-energy-project-angola. Accessed 16 June 2023.

Kilander, Gustaf. "Biden Criticised for Suggesting Bridge 'across the Indian Ocean.'" The Independent, 16 June 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/joe-biden-indian-ocean-bridge-b2358939.html.

The White House. "Remarks by President Biden at Launch of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment." The White House, 26 June 2022, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2022/06/26/remarks-by-president-biden-at-launch-of-the-partnership-for-global-infrastructure-and-investment/.

-- "Remarks by President Biden at the League of Conservation Voters Annual Capital Dinner." The White House, 15 June 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/06/14/remarks-by-president-biden-at-the-league-of-conservation-voters-annual-capital-dinner/.

--. "Remarks by President Biden at the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment Meeting." The White House, 20 May 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2023/05/20/remarks-by-president-biden-at-the-partnership-for-global-infrastructure-and-investment-meeting/.

"WATCH: Biden Delivers Remarks at League of Conservation Voters Annual Gathering." PBS NewsHour, 14 June 2023, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFHW2ArSRSE. Accessed 16 June 2023.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.