No, Biden was not shaking his hand in thin air but gesturing; Fact Check

A viral video of US President Joe Biden has gone viral on Twitter and WhatsApp showing him as if about to shake hands with someone. The viral video, showing only 30 seconds of a 40-minute speech by Biden, focuses on his finishing the speech and turning to his right with his hand extended.

However, the claim by Washington Free Beacon, who shared the video on Twitter was: “After Biden finished his speech, he turned around and tried to shake hands with thin air and then wandered around looking confused.”


The viral video, however, failed to show the movement of his hand due to the stand covering the other side. Seen from one angle, it shows as if he is about to shake hands with someone. If it was meant for shaking another person in thin air, then there would be a movement, which is not the case here.

In fact, it was static, which is possible in the case of a gesture too. See the original video uploaded by the White House on Youtube here, move the timer to 39 minutes to see the gesture.


Secondly, the hand extension could always be a gesture at someone in the audience for a reaction, as is the case here. Thirdly, in another video, he turned his back to the camera when another gesture with his hand is seen clearly.

See the video here which shows the angle differently as if he is gesturing about someone. Move to 1 hour 17 minutes of this video and watch the second gesture. Hence, the claim was misrepresentation of a gesture caught by camera from one particular angle.

Claim: Biden seen handshaking in thin air.

Conclusion: He is not handshaking but gesturing at the audience.

Rating: Misrepresentation —

About Arun Nag

Arun is with Digiteye India since the beginning as the main source for re-writing stories and for re-checking the facts and images. He writes on general and political issues. He can be reached at or

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