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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke February 28, 2023

Video misleads on the ‘single word’ President Joe Biden used to describe the United States

If Your Time is short

  • Joe Biden used "possibilities" to describe the United States in a single word. 
  • The Instagram video cut off the rest of Biden’s remarks to give the false impression that he described the U.S. as "the foothills of the Himalayas."

In a clip posted on Instagram, President Joe Biden stands at a lectern, flanked by Vice President Kamala Harris and Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

"America’s a nation that can be defined in a single word," Biden says in the video. "I was in the foot— foot— excuse me, in the foothills of the Himalayas with Xi Jinping, traveling with him … traveled 17,000 miles when I was vice president at the time. I don't know that for a fact."

The video then ends. 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

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Biden, who has a stutter, was clearly stumbling over a few words in the clip. But his speech, which was given in April 2022 after Jackson was confirmed as a justice, didn’t end there. Neither did his anecdote about Chinese President Xi Jinping. Biden went on to say what single word he would use to define the United States. 

"And we were sitting alone," Biden continued. "I had an interpreter and he had an interpreter. And he looked at me. In all seriousness, he said, ‘Can you define America for me?’ And I said what many of you heard me say for a long time. I said, ‘Yes, I can, in one word: possibilities. Possibilities.’ That, in America, everyone should be able to go as far as their hard work and God-given talent will take them. And possibilities. We're the only ones. That's why we're viewed as the ‘ugly Americans.’ We think anything is possible."

We rate claims that Biden described America as "the foothills of the Himalayas with Xi Jinping" False.

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Video misleads on the ‘single word’ President Joe Biden used to describe the United States

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