In July 2021, a video started circulating on social media that supposedly captured U.S. President Joe Biden yelling “My butt’s been wiped” to a gaggle of reporters huddled near a noisy Marine One helicopter:
— Kate Hyde (@KateHydeNY) July 26, 2021
This is a genuine clip of Biden. However, it’s not clear what he’s saying in this video.
The “Laurel and Yanny” caption in the above-displayed tweet refers to a viral recording from 2018 of the word “Laurel” that some internet users heard as the word “Yanny.”
While that audio illusion was later explained to be the result of some people hearing the low frequencies of the audio while others heard the high frequencies (you can read more about Laurel and Yanny here), the explanation here doesn’t appear to be quite as complicated. It seems that people are just hearing what they want to hear.
If you encounter this video of Biden that is prefaced with a caption saying that the president just yelled “My butts been wiped,” you may be predisposed to hear “My butts been wiped” in this clip. But try listening to the clip again, this time considering that the president may have said “It must be right” or “It must be what?”
This video was originally posted by ABC News reporter Molly Nagle. The original clip features a reporter yelling a question about a pathway to citizenship for immigrants over the noise of the nearby helicopter. When Biden approaches, he says something indecipherable before adding: “There needs to be a pathway to citizenship whether it needs to be in immigration remains to be seen.”
Here’s the original clip:
“Does immigration need to be in reconciliation?A pathway for citizenship?” @POTUS was asked returning to the White House
“There needs to be a pathway to citizenship whether it needs to be in immigration remains to be seen,” he said (he appeared to mean reconciliation) pic.twitter.com/cDiNoG31h3
— Molly Nagle (@MollyNagle3) July 25, 2021
It appears that Biden was making a joke about how the reporters had to scream over the noise of the helicopter, but it’s not clear exactly what he said. To our ears, it seems like he said “It must be what,” but we can’t say that that’s definitively the case. We reached out to Nagle for her input, since Biden may have been clearer in person than in the audio recording, but have not yet heard back.
While it seems highly improbable that he said “My butt’s been wiped,” we can’t say for sure what he said in this clip, so we are marking this claim as unproven.