Fact Check: Posts Appear to Show Trump Stop Speaking for 35 Seconds During NRA Speech. Here's What Happened

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Getty Images


Former U.S. President Donald Trump paused mid-speech for around 35 seconds while speaking at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting on May 18, 2024.


Rating: True
Rating: True


There is no confirmed reason for the long pause. Some posts on X claimed Trump "froze" due to his mental decline, while others claimed his teleprompter stopped working. Trump himself said a 30- to 60-second period of silence was "standard" in his speeches where he used music.


On May 18, 2024, former U.S. President Donald Trump spoke at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. Numerous clips went viral showing him appearing to pause for an extended period of time in the speech.

We received many queries from readers asking us to confirm video footage in which Trump appeared to "freeze" during his speech.

The posts on X shared a moment where Trump said, "… nation in the history of the world" and then paused as music began in the background. After about 30 seconds, Trump spoke again, "But now we are a nation in decline." During the pause, Trump looked to one side, frowned and shook his head a little.

The caption from one post stated: "WTF??? Trump just FROZE for a solid 30 seconds. This guy is clearly unfit to serve. He has mentally declined rapidly, and it's very clear. He needs to drop out of the race ASAP!"


The rapid response X account for the Biden-Harris campaign, @BidenHQ, shared the same moment with the caption, "Trump starts playing QAnon music during his bizarre slur-filled NRA speech."


The footage is indeed real. While speaking, Trump did abruptly pause and stand in silence as dramatic music played. After about 35 seconds, he began speaking again. We thus rate this claim as "True."

We confirmed the pause by looking at footage of the moment on C-SPAN. At the 1:29:50 mark, Trump says, "Together they help make America into the single greatest nation in the history of the world," when he stops and the recorded sounds of a piano begin. He then stands in silence for an extended period of time before saying, "But now we are a nation in decline. We are a failing nation. We are a nation that has the highest inflation in 58 years." As he resumes speaking, the dramatic music crescendos, with a violin accompanying the piano.

The reason for the pause is unknown. Some accounts on X claimed Trump was simply doing a "dramatic pause" before a "somber" part of his speech, while others said this was evidence of his mental decline. One post claimed Trump's teleprompter stopped scrolling and he had to wait for it to resume.

Trump addressed the rumors on Truth Social, accusing U.S. President Joe Biden's campaign of spreading the rumor that he "froze" and saying such a pause was "standard" in his speeches:

My Speech in Dallas this weekend at the NRA's "Endorsement of President Donald J. Trump," was attended by a Record Crowd of very enthusiastic Patriots. The Biden Campaign, however, put out a Fake Story that I "froze" for 30 seconds, going into the "Musical Interlude" section, when in actuality, the 30 to 60 second period of silence is standard in every one of my Speeches where we use the Music. Check out any of my Speeches! The reason they came up with this Disinformation is that Biden freezes all the time, can't put two sentences together, and can rarely find his way off the stage without help. Donald Trump doesn't freeze! It is a MADE UP Biden Campaign story, put out in a dying Newspaper that I never heard of, and every Reporter knows it, including the large group that was there….

On May 20, 2024, @BidenHQ responded to Trump's post: "Trump melts down over this clip we posted showing himself freezing on stage, claiming it's a "Fake Story". (He did, in fact, freeze on stage)."

Biden is 81 and Trump is 77, and throughout the 2024 presidential campaign they both have been subject to numerous rumors around their mental acuity due to their ages.


"Campaign 2024: Fmr. Pres. Trump Speaks at NRA Leadership Forum in Dallas." C-SPAN.Org. https://www.c-span.org/video/?535734-1/fmr-pres-trump-speaks-nra-leadership-forum-dallas. Accessed 20 May 2024.

Fortinsky, Sarah. "Trump: Biden Campaign Put out 'Fake Story' That He 'Froze' during NRA Speech." The Hill, 20 May 2024, https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/4674486-trump-nra-speech-biden-campaign-fake-story/. Accessed 20 May 2024.

Kasprak, Alex. "Did Biden Really Forget When His Son, Beau, Died?" Snopes, 14 Mar. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//news/2024/03/14/biden-forget-when-son-died/. Accessed 20 May 2024.

Liles, Jordan. "Trump Mistakenly Said 'Obama' When He Meant 'Biden' During Richmond Speech?" Snopes, 5 Mar. 2024, https://www.snopes.com//news/2024/03/04/trump-biden-obama-richmond/. Accessed 20 May 2024.