Get PolitiFact in your inbox.
If Your Time is short
President Joe Biden gave a speech in Iowa at a bioprocessing plant to discuss a new ethanol strategy to lower gas prices.
A substance landed on his jacket mid-speech, leading many to think a bird had left its mark.
Video from the scene clearly shows what one newspaper called distillers grains flying around from the top of a large pile near where the president was speaking.
All presidents face some bad luck while in office as events they often can’t control affect their agendas. But one would have to have pretty bad luck — or pretty good luck, by some beliefs — to get pooped on by a bird indoors while giving a speech.
That’s what many on social media are falsely claiming happened during President Joe Biden’s visit to Menlo, Iowa, on April 12.
"A bird pooped on Joe Biden during his speech today. You can’t make this up," read the headline of a video posted on Facebook by conservative activist Ryan Fournier.
Actually, you can make this stuff up.
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Biden was at the indoor event at a bioprocessing plant to discuss an effort to lower gas prices by lifting a summertime ban on higher-ethanol gasoline blends.
While he was speaking, a substance fell and splattered on his suit jacket. Biden did not appear to notice and continued his remarks.
But it was not bird poop that landed on Biden, according to the Des Moines Register. The paper reported that while there were birds in what the president called the "giant barn" where the event was held, one of its photographers said the substance was distillers grains, which it described as a "a co-product of the ethanol production process."
The article shared a wider photograph of the scene showing a large pile of the grain near the stage. It also showed a closeup image of the president’s jacket, which clearly shows a yellow color, not the traditional white usually dropped on us by our avian friends.
Justin Sink, a White House reporter for Bloomberg, tweeted that the substance was bits of corn that were flying around the site.
Kate Bedingfield, the White House communications director, tweeted to the RNC that "If you guys knew your way around a corn silo at all, you'd know it was corn."
An article by the conservative website RedState backs the White House explanation.
It shared a video from another angle, posted to Twitter by the local news site Iowa Starting Line, in which you can see the grain flying around the room off the top of the giant pile. The article also shares a tweet by NBC News reporter Gary Grumbach, who was at the event and said, "Corn powder particles were dripping on all of us periodically throughout the event."
Fournier was not the only one spreading the false claim.
It became clear fairly soon after that the theory was a load of bird poop, but by that point the video had been widely shared.
A Facebook claim said that a bird did its business on Biden’s jacket while the president was delivering a speech in Iowa.
Something did stain the president’s suit during his speech, but it was distillers grains, according to reporters in the room and the White House. A video clearly shows particles flying around from a giant, nearby grain pile. We rate this claim False.
Kate Bedingfield, tweet, April 12, 2022
Justin Sink. tweet, April 12, 2022
Audubon, "What makes bird poop white," Nov. 27, 2017
Des Moines Register, "The internet says a bird pooped on Joe Biden in Iowa. Here's what really happened." April 13, 2022
Snopes, "Did a Bird Poop on Biden?" April 13, 2022
Red State, "White House Has Explanation for 'Bird Poop' on Biden: It Was Corn (Pop?)" April 12, 2022
Iowa Starting Line, tweet, April 12, 2022
Gary Grumbach, tweet, April 12, 2022
The New York Times, "Biden will allow summertime sales of higher-ethanol gas," April 12, 2022
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.