He failed to get much attention during his brief run in the Democratic presidential primary, but Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell (CA) is now making some noise on the internet. A moment during his interview with MSNBC’s “Hardball With Chris Matthews” Monday has gone viral for what appears to be Swalwell pausing briefly to loudly rip one on air. After the clip exploded online, Swalwell was asked about it by BuzzFeed and denied it adamantly. Now “Hardball” has even felt compelled to address “Fartgate,” issuing a statement to “conspiracy theorists” explaining what they say really happened.
As The Daily Wire reported, during an interview with “Hardball” Monday, Swalwell appeared to have an embarrassing moment while answering a question about the Democrats’ favorite topic, Ukraine:
“The president used taxpayer dollars to help the Ukrainians cheat–,” Swalwell said as he paused for a brief moment and then appeared to fart, which was loud. “–an election…”
Here’s video of the moment that went viral:
Eric Swalwell appears to drop a massive fart during live on television
Turn the sound on, this is real pic.twitter.com/DyElNSwYog
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) November 19, 2019
Even far-left Media Matters circulated a clip of the moment. #Fartgate had caused enough of a stir online that BuzzFeed reporter Addy Baird felt compelled to ask Swalwell about it, though apologetically.
After sending a clip by Media Matters to the failed presidential candidate, Baird had the following exchange with Swalwell:
Baird: I’m really sorry about this but I have to ask if this was you or someone in the studio.
Swalwell: It was not me!!!!! Ha. And I didn’t hear it when I was speaking.
Baird: You look like you heard it and are stifling a laugh.
Swalwell: I def did not hear it.
Swalwell’s denial wasn’t enough to blow away #Fartgate, so “Hardball” went to bat for their embattled guest — and managed to work in some promotional material at the same time.
“Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists — it was the #hardball mug scraping across the desk,” the show tweeted. “Get yours today and let’s get back to the news!”
— Hardball (@hardball) November 19, 2019
In response, Swalwell channeled his inner-President Trump after Special Counsel Robert Mueller finally submitted his report dealing the death blow to the Russia collusion conspiracy theory, declaring “TOTAL EXONERATION”:
TOTAL EXONERATION! https://t.co/JAuTsnCjAC
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) November 19, 2019
As The Daily Wire highlighted, Swalwell’s critics have had fun with his unfortunate moment in the spotlight.
“He who denied it supplied it. Everyone knows this,” tweeted Federalist co-founder Sean Davis in response to Swalwell’s denial.
“My sources affirm that Swalwell smelt it. It stands to reason, therefore, that Swalwell dealt it. #IMPEACH,” wrote Ricochet Editor-in-Chief Jon Gabriel.
The show’s explanation inspired the perfect “conspiracy theorist” response from Federal Senior Editor Mollie Hemingway. “First you gas your viewers, then you gaslight them. No one believes this,” she tweeted.
He who denied it supplied it. Everyone knows this. https://t.co/u4TanKLvPh
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 19, 2019
— jon gabriel (@exjon) November 19, 2019
First you gas your viewers, then you gaslight them. No one believes this. https://t.co/T2amY79hZO
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) November 19, 2019