President Joe Biden appeared to doze off Monday during opening remarks at the COP26 climate change conference in Scotland.
The president closed his eyes for some 22 seconds before an aide roused him, though he was caught on camera in a moment that went viral on social media.
Biden, 78, appeared to fall asleep as Eddie Ndopu, a disability rights activist, warned that global warming threatened “our ability to grow food and even to survive.”
“I call on you to commit to concrete actions to stop the destruction of this magnificent planet. This conference is one of the most important meetings in history,” Ndopu continued.
Biden’s eyes remained closed.
“You have the chance to make decisions and reach agreements which will affect the lives of generations to come. You are in a position of extraordinary power. You can change forever the trajectory we are on. You can make a world that is once again full of hope, not fear.”
Major news outlets commented on Biden’s short nap.
“It appears that perhaps he was dozing,” veteran NBC News journalist Kelly O’Donnell said on MSNBC.
“These can be embarrassing situations,” she said. “You have the contrast of leaders including President Biden calling for the urgency of these issues, of addressing climate, and a moment like that in a session can be a political obstacle.”
A headline in New York magazine of Biden reads, “Biden Appears to Nod Off as Future of Planet Hangs in Balance.”
Former President Donald Trump constantly referred to Biden as “Sleepy Joe” on the campaign trail.
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