The claim: A video shows Nancy Pelosi saying she doesn’t want Joe Biden to talk
Critics of President Joe Biden are sharing a manipulated video that purports to show House Speaker Nancy Pelosi caught on a hot mic saying she doesn’t want Biden to answer questions from the press.
The viral clip, shared to Instagram on Sept. 26, shows Biden sitting on a chair as he addresses Pelosi, D-Calif., on a virtual screen. Biden says, “I am happy to take questions if that’s what I am supposed to do. Nance, whatever you want me to do.”
Pelosi purportedly responds saying, “Am I on? No, we don’t want him (Biden) to talk.” Text below the clip reads, “This is the President of the United States of America.”
The video accumulated more than 1,000 views within a day. The same video was shared to TikTok on Aug. 29 and gained more than 34,000 likes. Similar versions of the claim have been shared to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
But the video is altered. It was originally shared by a comedian as satire, and the authentic video does not show Pelosi saying she doesn’t want Biden to speak.
USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the video for comment.
Video is altered, originally shared as satire
The original footage was taken from the House Democratic Caucus Issues virtual conference on March 3. In it, Biden says he’s happy to take questions, however, Pelosi never said she didn’t want him to talk.
The fake Pelosi audio was added by voice artist and comedian Michael Kaminski, who shared the altered video to YouTube on March 6 as satire. His stage name, Michael Clive, is visible on the bottom right corner of the videos shared to social media, but the satirical disclaimer is not.
“That is me, imitating Nancy Pelosi, but that Twitter version has been altered,” Kaminski told USA TODAY via email. “The original is labeled ‘satire’ and in the YouTube description.”
The video is an example of “stolen satire,” in which something published and labeled as satire is captured via screenshot and reposted in a way that makes it appear to be legitimate news. As a result, viewers of the second-generation post are misled, as was the case here.
The video’s YouTube caption says, “This is Conservative Satire and Production, not for the timid or Free speech haters.”
The comedian has previously shared other altered satirical videos of Pelosi, former President Donald Trump, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Dr. Anthony Fauci and others.
In the original livestream, shared to YouTube by the White House on March 3, Biden asks Pelosi if she wants him to take questions, but Pelosi does not respond.
Social media users have previously used footage from the same virtual event to falsely claim the White House cut Biden’s feed because they didn’t want him answering questions. However, the event was closed to the press after initial comments, and Biden took questions from House Democrats, according to the Associated Press.
USA TODAY reached out to Pelosi’s office for additional comment.
Our rating: Altered
Based on our research, we rate ALTERED a video purporting to show Pelosi saying she doesn’t want Biden to speak. The video was first shared in March by a comedian, who added the fake audio of Pelosi as satire. Authentic footage from the livestream does not show Pelosi saying this.
Our fact-check sources:
- The White House, March 3, Remarks by President Biden at the House Democratic Caucus Virtual Issues Conference
- Parody Central, accessed Sept. 27, Michael Kaminski
- Trump Still Speaks, March 6, Biden Cut OFF-The Version you DIDN’T SEE! Pelosi: ‘No we don’t want him to talk’.
- Associated Press, Aug. 31, Video of Pelosi supposedly caught on hot mic was manipulated
- Trump Still Speaks, accessed Sept. 27, YouTube videos
- The White House via YouTube, March 3, President Biden Participates in a Virtual Event with the House Democratic Caucus
- Associated Press, March 4, Biden did answer questions from House Democrats at virtual event
- Michael Kaminski, Sept. 27, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app, or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.