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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke February 9, 2021

No, Biden wasn’t photographed sleeping at his Oval Office desk

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  • This photo appears to be doctored. 
  • The original image shows him sitting at his desk — awake — and wearing a face mask.

"AMERICA IN DECLINE," begins a description of a photo of what looks like President Joe Biden asleep at his desk in the Oval Office with a caption that describes him as a "decrepit old grifter" who "works MAYBE five hours a day."

But the photo, which is spreading widely on social media, appears to be doctored.

It was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

The original photo appears to be an image used by some news organizations reporting on the executive orders Biden signed on his first day in office. 

In this version of the photo, Biden’s hands appear on the desk as they do in the image being shared on social media. There is also a stack of executive orders sitting next to him and he’s wearing the same blue suit and tie. Only in the original, he’s also wearing a black face mask and looking up, eyes open.

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Video footage from that day shows the president wearing a mask, signing orders and speaking to the reporters as cameras can be heard clicking in the background. 

We found nothing to support the allegation that he was caught and photographed sleeping at his desk. 

The public schedule the Biden transition team released for Jan. 20, the day that picture was taken, began with an 8:45 a.m. church service and ended with a 9:55 p.m. appearance by Biden and the first lady on the Blue Room Balcony.

The president’s public schedule is available online. While it doesn’t detail his every move on a given day, it shows Biden working full days with events slated for the mornings, afternoons and evenings.

We rate this image False.


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No, Biden wasn’t photographed sleeping at his Oval Office desk

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