Fact Check

Did Biden Say He 'Sold a Lot of State Secrets'?

The video clip in question was recorded during a U.S.-India Technology Roundtable held on June 23, 2023.

Published June 27, 2023

 ( Anna Moneymaker/Staff, Getty Images)
Image Via Anna Moneymaker/Staff, Getty Images
Claim:
In June 2023, President Joe Biden said he had "sold a lot of state secrets."
Context

Biden was joking when he said it, a critical detail omitted from the truncated video clip circulating online.

On June 26, 2023, claims began to spread on social media platforms that U.S. President Joe Biden said he had "sold a lot of state secrets." The claim spread as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to the U.S. for an official state visit.

A brief viral video clip appeared to show Biden saying, while seated next to Modi at a table full of people, "I was just thanking the — anyway, I started off without you, and I sold a lot of state secrets and a lot of very important things that we shared."

We found the same clip posted on Twitter, TikTok, Facebook, and Reddit. U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. and former Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake shared it on their Twitter accounts along with comments such as "Joe Biden admitted to actual treason."

The viral clip is real, but it was truncated, omitting important context — namely that he was joking

It was recorded at the U.S.-India Technology Roundtable held at the White House on June 23, 2023. Apple, Google, and Microsoft's CEOs were among the technology executives invited to the event.

A video of the remarks posted to the White House's YouTube account provided the missing context for what Biden said in the viral clip. We also found it in the official White House transcript of the remarks.

At the very beginning of his remarks, Biden said:

PRESIDENT BIDEN:  Okay.  We — I was just thanking the — anyway, I started off without you, and I sold a lot of state secrets and a lot of very important things that we shared.  (Laughter.)

Now, all kidding aside — look, we're teaming up to design and develop new technologies that are going to transform the lives of our people around the world.

The viral clip had been edited such that it ended before Biden said he was kidding. We reached out to the White House for comment and will update this check if we hear back.

We've previously fact-checked other questionable remarks made by Biden, such as the time he said a new railroad was planned to be built across the Indian Ocean.  

Sources

Holland, Steve, et al. "Indian PM Modi Wraps up Washington Trip with Appeal to Tech CEOs." Reuters, 23 June 2023. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/world/indian-pm-modi-meet-ceos-washington-visit-concludes-2023-06-23/.

LaMagdeleine, Izz Scott. "Did Biden Say There Are Plans To Build a New Railroad Across the Indian Ocean?" Snopes, 16 June 2023, https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-ocean-train/.

Rajvanshi, Astha. "The Key Issues Shaping Modi's State Visit to the U.S." Time, 20 June 2023, https://time.com/6288278/modi-state-visit-biden-india-key-issues/.

The White House. "President Biden and Prime Minister Modi Host a U.S.- India Technology Roundtable." YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxlKUl-z368. Accessed 27 June 2023.

The White House. "Remarks by President Biden and Prime Minister Modi of the Republic of India in Meeting with Senior Officials and CEOs of Technology Companies." The White House, 23 June 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/06/23/remarks-by-president-biden-and-prime-minister-modi-of-the-republic-of-india-in-meeting-with-senior-officials-and-ceos-of-technology-companies/.

Izz Scott LaMagdeleine is a fact-checker for Snopes.