The claim: An image shows President Joe Biden sleeping at G-7 summit
An image purportedly showing President Joe Biden sleeping during the annual Group of Seven summit in Cornwall, England, is making the rounds on social media.
The claim follows Biden’s first trip overseas, which included meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Queen Elizabeth II, as well as stops at G-7 and NATO summits. The international gatherings have sparked misinformation online.
Some social media users are now using a manipulated photo of Biden resting his head on a desk with his eyes closed to claim he was asleep while meeting with world leaders.
“Summary of G7 and the Biden/Putin Summit,” reads the caption of a June 16 Facebook image with more than 1,000 reactions.
While the image appears to have been satirically altered, the comments indicate some users took the post seriously.
“What a message to other countries,” one user commented. “He’s a danger to all of us,” wrote another.
Fact check: Post falsely claims there were no COVID-19 restrictions at the G-7 summit
Facebook pages Occupy Libertarian and Republican Party of McLennan County shared similar versions of the claim on June 16. But the image is altered, and there is no evidence Biden was sleeping during meetings with G-7 leaders.
USA TODAY reached out to Occupy Libertarian and other Facebook users who shared the post for comment.
Image is altered
The doctored photo of Biden sleeping originated online in July 2020, ahead of the first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Biden.
Twitter users, blogs and meme pages shared the altered photo while Biden was still running for president in an attempt to portray him as mentally unfit for office — a narrative Trump frequently promoted in advertisements and speeches during his reelection campaign, nicknaming Biden “Sleepy Joe.”
The earlier versions of the claim superimposed a fake ABC 15 logo and headline that says, “live presidential debate.” The altered photo of Biden sleeping was compared to an authentic image of Trump standing behind a podium during a November 2015 Republican debate in Milwaukee.
However, more recent versions of the photo cropped out Trump and the news logo to baselessly claim the photo was taken at the G-7 summit.
USA TODAY could find no instances of Biden sleeping in C-SPAN footage of the G-7 summit and news conferences. His meeting with Putin was held behind closed doors. USA TODAY could also find no news reports saying Biden was asleep during his talks with world leaders.
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This is not the first time social media users have falsely claimed Biden fell asleep during public appearances.
In September 2020, USA TODAY debunked a manipulated video purporting to show Biden snoring during a live television interview. Social media users have also previously shared a doctored photo of Biden sleeping at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House.
Our rating: Altered
An image claiming to show Biden sleeping at the G-7 summit is ALTERED, based on our research. The doctored photo first appeared ahead of the 2020 election, when users made fun of Biden’s age and claimed he was mentally unfit for the presidency. There is no evidence Biden was sleeping during the G-7 summit, and similar videos and images purporting to show Biden asleep have been previously debunked.
Our fact-check sources:
Ohio For TRUMP, July 26, 2020, Facebook post
Fernando A. Rosas, Sept. 29, 2020, tweet
Bozzina, Sept. 30, 2020, Find out what the Trump-Biden Debate left for the race in The White House
Thecompleteobamatimeline.com, accessed June 17, Cartoons
USA TODAY, July 19, 2020, President Trump’s campaign to paint Joe Biden as mentally unfit becomes a gamble
Getty Images, Nov. 10, 2015, GOP Presidential Candidates Debate in Milwaukee
C-SPAN, June 15, President Biden Attends U.S.-EU Summit in Brussels
C-SPAN, June 11, President Biden and World Leaders Arrive at G7 Summit
C-SPAN, June 16, President Biden News Conference After Meeting with Russian President
USA TODAY, June 15, With US-Russia relations at low point, Biden, Putin each bring a wariness to Geneva summit
USA TODAY, Sept. 1, 2020, Fact check: Altered video clip purports to show Joe Biden asleep on live TV
AFP, Feb. 15, Doctored photo purports to show US President Biden sleeping in Oval Office
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Photo of Biden sleeping at G-7 summit is altered