On Sept. 21, 2023, a video was circulated on social media, allegedly showing Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva getting “upset after Joe Biden forgets to shake his hands on stage.” The comment on X, formerly known as Twitter, continued, “What an embarrassment.”

Moreover, the Daily Mail published an article on the topic with the title “Biden appears to wander off UN stage without shaking President Lula’s hand at end of joint speech – leaving Brazilian leader visibly irritated – minutes after President walked through a flag to take the podium.”

On Sept. 20, 2023, the U.S. and Brazilian presidents announced The Partnership for Workers’ Rights at an event in New York City. The two countries’ initiative aims to protect workers’ rights and address workplace discrimination.

The video from the meeting published on The White House YouTube channel ends before the in-question scene. However, the six-second clip that was shared on social media is authentic, and can be seen between 15:10 and 15:16 in the recording below provided by C-SPAN.

During the moment in question, after the end of the speech of Gilbert Houngbo, director-general of International Labour Organization, Biden shook hands with Houngbo and Lula did seem to expect that Biden would also shake his hand. Nonetheless, we do not have enough information to be able to confirm that Biden forgot to do it or that Lula was upset as a result of that situation. 

It’s worth mentioning that Biden did shake hands with Lula at another point in the presentation, after the latter finished his speech (12:18 in the video below). 

We looked for any comment on that situation in the Brazilian media, but have not found any statement by the Brazilian president about Biden’s alleged gaffe. On the day of the meeting, Lula did tweet this photograph of himself and Biden shaking hands: 

We reached out to the White House for comment, we will update this article if and when we receive a response.


Biography of Gilbert F. Houngbo , 11th ILO Director-General. 4 Sept. 2023, http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/how-the-ilo-works/ilo-director-general/WCMS_856139/lang–en/index.htm.

House, The White. “Remarks by President Biden and President Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva of Brazil Before Bilateral Meeting | New York, NY.” The White House, 20 Sept. 2023, https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/speeches-remarks/2023/09/20/remarks-by-president-biden-and-president-luiz-inacio-lula-da-silva-of-brazil-before-bilateral-meeting-new-york-ny/.

President Biden and President Luiz Inácio Lula of Brazil Launch the Partnership for Workers’ Rights. www.youtube.com, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1Vsf6cngR0. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023.

Presidents Biden and Da Silva Remarks at Partnership for Workers’ Rights Launch | C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?530593-1/presidents-biden-da-silva-remarks-partnership-workers-rights-launch. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023.

Aleksandra Wrona

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