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‘Buy a man eat fish’ quote attributed to Biden is fake

February 9, 2021 GMT

CLAIM: President Joe Biden said, “Buy a man eat fish, he day, teach fish man, to a lifetime,” mixing up a popular proverb.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. An internet search and a review of Biden’s recent public statements reveal no evidence to support this claim. This viral post appears to make fun of Biden, who grew up with a stutter and has been known to make verbal missteps, jumbling his words at times.

THE FACTS: The famous expression is meant to remind people of the value of education. It goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”


A jumbled-up version of the quote attributed to President Joe Biden without sourcing was circulating widely on Twitter and Facebook on Tuesday.

However, a Google search, a social media search and a review of the president’s public remarks found no instance in which Biden actually said this quote.

The quote was also falsely attributed to poet Rupi Kaur in at least one instance, and repeatedly shared on social media with no attribution, suggesting it originated as a meme, not as a real Biden quote.

Biden has spoken publicly about fighting a stutter since childhood. He has also been known to make verbal missteps beyond any stutter, which the Trump campaign seized on in viral videos and memes last year.

However, the AP has also debunked several false claims of Biden jumbling his words or missing cues, many of which stemmed from videos that were altered to make Biden appear incompetent.


This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform. 

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: