A video clip which conservatives claimed showed President Joe Biden speaking “total nonsense” has been well and truly debunked.
A number of right-wing outlets and social media accounts circulated the clip of Mr Biden talking to reporters, with the false claim he had said “My butt’s been wiped,” in response to a question about immigration.
Mr Biden was returning to the White House from his home in Delaware on Sunday, and spoke to journalists as he stepped off Marine One.
The noise of the presidential helicopter could be heard loudly on the video clip, and drowned out voices as a reporter asked “Does immigration need to be in reconciliation? Must it be in reconciliation?”
Biden, who had been unable to hear a reporter’s question, jokingly responded: “What must be what?”.
The reporter repeated her question, saying “Immigration, a pathway for citizenship?” referring to a pathway to citizenship for immigrants without legal status in the country.
Mr Biden responded: “There needs to be a pathway to citizenship, whether it can be in immigration remains to be seen.”
The president is likely to have meant whether it can be in ‘reconciliation’ – congressional Democrats are currently proposing a $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation measure that immigration advocates hope will include immigration provisions.
The clip was shared widely on social media with the hashtag #MyButtsBeenWiped, with many users falsely claiming it showed evidence that the president’s mental health is deteriorating.
Politically motivated attacks on the president’s health are nothing new – former US President Donald Trump tweeted that Mr Biden had “rapidly getting worse ‘dementia’” when Mr Biden was still the Democratic nominee in October last year. Others, including Republican U.S. representative Greg Murphy from North Carolina, picked up the theme and have repeated the claims since on a number of occasions.
There is no evidence to support those claims. Mr Biden’s last publicly-released check up was in 2019, when a doctor, now the White House physician, described him as “a healthy, vigorous, 77-year-old male, who is fit to successfully execute the duties of the Presidency.”