It was the fart heard ’round the world — but California Rep. Eric Swalwell insists he had nothing to do with it!
During Monday’s episode of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, Swalwell, 39, appeared on the political analysis show to discuss whether President Donald Trump had used taxpayer dollars to cheat in the election.
However, viewers were quickly distracted from the issue when an enormous farting noise was heard as Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, spoke to Matthews on-air from the Capitol.
“Chris, so far the evidence is uncontradicted that the president used taxpayer dollars to help him cheat…” he says as he takes a deep breath, which is when the alleged fart was heard, before going on to finish his sentence, “an election. And the complaint that I’ve heard from Republicans…”
As he spoke, the Democrat also appeared to be fighting back a smile from his alleged gas relief incident.
Because Swalwell was on camera when the fart noise was heard, many viewers instantly assumed that the politician was the person behind it.
“We flipped it back several times, you can see the laugh in his eyes,” wrote one user.
“It is real you can tell the pause he takes to push it out,” said someone else.
“Might be real, I mean he quit talking and looks almost like he’s about to laugh,” added another person.
Others argued that Hardball‘s host was to blame, while some guessed that it might have been someone on the production team.
“It was 100% Chris Matthews,” wrote one person.
“Could have been whoever was holding the microphone,” added another person.
Despite their many theories, Swalwell denied having anything to do with the noise — and even claimed that he didn’t hear it while on camera.
NEWS: SWALWELL denies it was him who farted on MSNBC: pic.twitter.com/IYmHwYfuGf— Addy Baird (@addysue) November 19, 2019
“It was not me!!!!!” he wrote in a text message to a Buzzfeed reporter. “Ha. And I didn’t hear it when I was speaking.”
When the reporter pointed out that he seemed to pause and hold back a laugh after the alleged fart, the democratic said, “I def did not hear it.”
But that doesn’t mean he couldn’t recognize a little humor in the situation.
“It’s funny tho,” he acknowledged to the reporter.
Swalwell did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
In the wake of the FartGate, Hardball also put out a tweet, pinning the blame of the noise on their personalized mugs.
“Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists – it was the #hardball mug scraping across the desk,” the tweet reads. “Get yours today and let’s get back to the news!”
Swalwell has been serving as the U.S. Representative for California’s 15th congressional district since 2013.
In addition to sitting on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Democrat also serves on the House Judiciary Committee and as co-chair of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, according to his website.