‘A metaphor for how Americans feel’: Bird poops on Biden’s shoulder inside Iowa barn as president touts ‘Made in America’ pledge to lower gas prices by 10 cents a gallon
- The incident took place at what Biden called a ‘giant barn’ at a fuel plant in Iowa
- He spoke for more than 20 minutes after the substance fell on his lapel Tuesday
- A White House comms director later said it was ‘corn,’ not bird poop
- The president was unveiling a plan to reduce gas prices by 10 cents a gallon
- It will happen by allowing the sale of E15 fuel, usually banned in the summer due to environmental concerns about smog
- It will only be sold at about 2,300 of the nation’s more than 100,000 gas stations
- Gas prices have reached an average of $4.10 a gallon and the Biden administration has blamed surging prices and inflation on ‘Putin’s Price Hike’
A bird appeared to relieve itself on President Biden’s lapel Tuesday while he unveiled plans to trim gas prices by about 10 cents a gallon as US inflation hits a 41-year high.
Biden spoke about putting ‘rural America at the center of our efforts to build a future that’s made in America’ when a white substance fell on his jacket – right above his American flag pin.
The incident took place inside what Biden jokingly referred to as a ‘giant barn’ at a POET bioprocessing center in Menlo, Iowa.
A White House official said it was ‘corn,’ but jokes about the possible bird droppings rolled in almost immediately across social media.
‘Even the birds know Biden is full of s***,’ one Twitter user wrote. Said another: ‘Move over Pence fly. It’s Biden shoulder bird poop,’ referring to when a fly famously lingered on former Vice President Mike Pence’s head during his debate with Kamala Harris.
At the speech, Biden unveiled a plan to extend the availability of E15, a gasoline that uses a 15 percent ethanol blend, from June 1 to September 15.
The fuel, which is slightly cheaper than the E10 blend sold year-round, is banned in the summer due to its volatility in the heat and during peak travel months. There is also some concern that E15 contributes to smog, but renewable fuel advocates dispute this claim.
A bird pooped on Biden as he unveiled a plan to cut gas prices by 10 cents a gallon at a fuel processing plant in Iowa on Tuesday. He continued speaking for more than 20 minutes
The new plan will allow for the sale of E15 fuel, typically banned in the summer, through September 15. Above, a gas pump sticker blaming Biden for the high gas prices
President Biden, 79, continued speaking for more than 22 minutes after the substance fell on his shoulder, landing on the lapel of his navy blue suit jacket.
Later in the afternoon, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield tweeted: ‘If you guys knew your way around a corn silo at all, you’d know it was corn.’
The speech took place at a POET bioprocessing plant in Iowa. POET LLC is a biofuel company headquartered in South Dakota that specializes in the creation of bioethanol.
Biden said the plant turns more than 40 million bushels of local corn into 130 million gallons of ethanol each year.
‘It’s kind of unfortunate that the bird that just s*** on Joe Biden missed his forehead by literal inches. That would have been absolutely historic. The gold standard of memes,’ one Twitter user joked.
Jokes about Tuesday’s unfortunate incident came in almost immediately on social media
More than 98 percent of US gasoline contains ethanol, typically E10, which is 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline. The ethanol oxygenates the fuel and reduces air pollution, according to the US Department of Energy.
On Tuesday, Biden announced that the sale of E15, which contains 15 percent ethanol – will be allowed through the summer in an attempt to help lower fuel expenses, which have reached an average of $4.10 per gallon in the US.
‘For working families—families eager to travel and visit their loved ones—that will add up to real savings,’ according to a fact sheet released on the move Tuesday morning.
Senior Biden administration officials said the action will save drivers an average of 10 cents per gallon based on current prices, but at just 2,300 gas stations out of the nation’s more than 100,000, the Associated Press reports.
The affected stations are mostly in the Midwest and the South, including Texas, according to industry groups.
Biden’s fuel announcement coincides with the release of March’s consumer price index report as the administration tries to get ahead of more dire inflation news.
The Labor Department released on Tuesday data from March showing inflation at a near 41-year high with 8.5 percent from last year – and a 1.2 percent increase from February’s 7.9 percent inflation increase.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during Monday’s briefing that the White House expected ‘headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin ‘s price hike.’
Under current law, gas stations are able to sell a 10 percent ethanol blend year round, but the 15 percent mix known as E15 gasoline is usually banned for sale from the start of June through September 15 due to it’s volatility in the heat and during peak travel months. There is also some concern that E15 contributes to smog, but renewable fuel advocates dispute this claim.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning to issue a national emergency waiver to allow for E15 use over the summer.
Later on Tuesday, White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield said it was ‘corn’
Biden’s fuel announcement coincided with the release of March’s consumer price index report that shows a 41-year high of 8.5%. It comes after February numbers showed inflation at 7.9%
The White House has blamed elevated inflation and gas prices on ‘Putin’s Price Hike.’ Pictured: A sticker of the U.S. president satirically placed at a gas station in protest of high gas prices
E15 gas can be 10 cents cheaper per gallon than conventional gas, according to a senior administration official on a background call on the announcement, but it’s unclear how much the change will affect drivers’ pocketbooks at a point where gallons are several dollars more expensive than a year ago.
The administration has largely messaged inflation and spiking gas prices as ‘Putin’s Price Hike’.
But a reporter pointed out at Monday’s White House briefing that rising inflation predated Putin’s war in Ukraine, which started February 24, 2022 with the initial invasion into the eastern part of the country.
What is E15? Why is it banned in the summer months? Is it really cheaper? The realities of Biden’s plan to reduce pain at the pumps with blended fuel
President Biden on Monday announced a plan to sell blended E15 fuel in the summer months to help reduce the hike in gas prices he has blamed on Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
He says it will save drivers 10 cents a gallon across more than 2,000 gas stations and will placate renewable food lobbyists and ethanol manufacturers in Iowa.
Industry groups say most of those stations are in the Midwest and the South, including Texas.
But the price differences can be misleading as E15 has a lower fuel economy and the price of corn – which makes up most of the blend – could rise because of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
What is E15?
Most drivers get E10 from the pumps, which is a blend that contains 90 percent gasoline and 10% ethanol. Ethanol is a clear alcohol that comes from a biomass made up mainly of cornstarch. Iowa is the top producer of corn in the U.S. Illinois is second.
E15 relies on a higher quantity of ethanol. Most say E15 is made up of 15 percent ethanol but the levels can be as low as 10.5 percent.
‘Homegrown Iowa biofuels provide a quick and clean solution for lowering prices at the pump and bolstering production would help us become energy independent once again,’ said Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley.
He was among nine Republican and seven Democratic senators from Midwestern states who sent Biden a letter last month urging him to allow year-round E15 sales.
Why is E15 banned during the summer?
Higher blends of ethanol in fuel makes gas more volatile in the heat and emissions are likely to form smog that can make breathing more difficult, according to Popular Science.
The Clean Air Act bans the sale of E15 from June to September 15 in some states as a result.
Renewable energy lobbyists have consistently said E15 is less volatile than E10 and is safe during the summer.
The Environmental Protection Agency will issue an emergency waiver to allow widespread sale under Biden’s plan.
Will E15 ease the pain at the pumps and make gas cheaper?
As of April 8, a gallon of E15 cost about 2.8% less than a gallon of E10, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights, as reported in the Des Moines Register.
However, a gallon of E15 doesn’t last as along as a gallon of E10, so a drive will be shorter.
The Department of Energy says the blend has about a third less energy.
There are also concerns ethanol prices may rise this year because of the hike in corn, with the Wall Street Journal saying levels have already risen by 30 percent this year.
It is also complicated by the situation in Ukraine, which is the fourth largest producer of corn in the world.
Last month’s job report showed the CPI jumped up to 7.9 percent in February, the biggest hike in 40 years.
Prices for US consumers are rising at the fastest rate in nearly 41 years, the latest data released Tuesday morning shows.
The Labor Department’s consumer price index shows an increase of 1.2 percent in March from the month before, for a total of 8.5 percent gain from a year ago. This represents the largest annual gain since December 1981.
Excluding volatile food and energy, prices rose 6.5 percent from a year ago.
The Biden administration tried to get ahead of the dire inflation news by blaming Russian leader Vladimir Putin ‘s invasion of Ukraine.
The March numbers are the first time that figures fully capture the surge in gasoline prices that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
Moscow’s brutal attacks have triggered far-reaching Western sanctions against the Russian economy and have disrupted global food and energy markets. The escalation of energy prices has led to higher transportation costs for the shipment of goods and components across the economy, which, in turn, has contributed to higher prices for consumers.
Economists point out that since the economy emerged from the depths of the pandemic, consumers have been gradually broadening their spending beyond goods to include more services.
A result is that high inflation, which at first had reflected mainly a shortage of goods – from cars and furniture to electronics and sports equipment – has been gradually emerging in services, too, like travel, health care and entertainment.
Last month, Biden announced the U.S. would sell 180 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve at a rate of 1 million barrels per day starting in May, the biggest release from the stockpile since it was created in the 1970s.
The average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the US peaked on March 11 at $4.33.
Prices now sit around $4.10 – up 44 percent from a year ago – and researchers theorize that prices will moderate as the consumer purchase rate of products like cars and appliances slows and strained supply chains manage to catch up.
While E15 is only 10 cents cheaper on average and is less ‘energy dense,’ meaning drivers would need to buy more fuel, it should still help lower fuel expenses, senior administration officials told reporters on a call previewing the announcement.
To make the change, the EPA is preparing to issue a national emergency waiver closer to June, the officials on the call said. The EPA is also considering additional action to allow for the use of E15 year-round, the White House said.
But success is not guaranteed. The courts struck down a prior bid by Biden’s predecessor, Republican Donald Trump, in 2019 to extend a waiver that allowed year-round sales of E15.
The officials previewing Biden’s announcement said his administration would us a different ‘approach’ and ‘authority’ than Trump, but did not offer details.
They also said the EPA would work with states to ensure there would be no ‘significant’ negative impact on summer air quality due to the extended sale of E15, whose use in the hottest months is restricted due to smog-related concerns.
Tuesday’s announcement was a way to ease American’s worries after prices at the pump topped $7 a gallon in some parts of the country last month.
According to AAA, the average price of a gallon of gasoline on Tuesday – $4.10 – is up 43 percent from a year ago, though it has fallen off record highs in the past couple of weeks.
Inflation in the US has hit a 41-year high of 8.5 percent, as soaring gasoline and housing costs punish consumers and erase gains from higher wages.
The inflation data released on Tuesday is the first report to capture the full effect of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent gas prices skyrocketing 49 percent in March, compared to the same time a year ago.
Rising housing costs, which make up about a third of the consumer price index, are also fueling inflation as rents soar across the country.
The latest data showed the price of basic necessities rising sharply, with groceries up 10 percent from a year ago, rent rising 4.4 percent, clothing up 6.8 percent, and energy costs rising 32 percent.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during Monday’s briefing that the White House expected ‘headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin ‘s price hike.’
President Joe Biden ‘s administration tried to get ahead of the dire inflation news by blaming Russian leader Vladimir Putin ‘s invasion of Ukraine
Inflation has become a top political threat to Biden and congressional Democrats as the crucial November midterm elections draw closer. Small business owners now say in surveys that it’s their primary economic concern, too.
Though Biden insists that his policies aren’t to blame for soaring prices, Republican critics have been quick to point the finger at his administration and Democrats in Congress.
‘Prices are up, real wages are down, and families and small businesses are being left behind in Biden’s economy,’ said Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in a statement responding to the latest inflation reading.
‘Democrats’ reckless spending and failed policies have crushed Americans, and they don’t seem to care. Voters do care, and they will be sending a message in November,’ added McDaniel.
White House economic advisor Jesse Lee responded in a tweet saying that Republicans who blame Biden for inflation are ‘fully in lockstep’ with Putin.
The Labor Department said on Tuesday that the consumer price index increased 1.2 percent in March from the month before, for a 8.5 percent gain from a year ago.
It is the largest annual gain since December 1981. Excluding volatile food and energy, prices rose 6.5 percent in the 12 months ending in March.