Giuliani butt dial story inspires ridicule, envy on social media

"Butt dial me," one journalist said to Giuliani.
Rudy Giuliani speaks with reporters during on the South Lawn of the White House
Rudy Giuliani speaks with reporters during on the South Lawn of the White House on May 30, 2018.Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images pool

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By Dennis Romero

The role of Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, in Trump's effort to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden is serious business and could play a big role in the congressional impeachment inquiry against the president.

The outcome of the inquiry could impact the presidency for years.

But that hasn't stopped journalists, pundits and observers from having a little fun with Giuliani's latest predicament, his inadvertent voicemail messages left on an NBC News reporter's phone in which he's heard on one message speaking about needing several hundred thousand dollars.

This type of call is colloquially known as a butt dial.

On Twitter, a popular sentiment among journalists was envy, particularly because Giuliani is a central character in the biggest political story in the world, and because the normally chatty lawyer has been relatively quiet in the last 10 days. (The NBC News reporter received the butt dials on Sept. 28 and Oct. 16).

Daily Beast politics editor and MSNBC contributor Sam Stein said on Twitter, "Rudy, you can butt dial me if you’d like."

GQ Magazine correspondent Julia Ioffe echoed that request on Twitter. But she expanded it to others close to the president: "This is an official call for Trump affiliates to butt dial me."

Andy Lassner, executive producer of the Ellen Show, joked on Twitter that Giuliani wanted to hear from the public via direct messages on the social media platform.

"Ugh," Lassner said. "Sorry to bother you guys. I just heard from @RudyGiuliani again. He asked that I remind everyone that his DMs are open and he’d like to hear your thoughts on his butt dial incident."

The Twitter account Limericking was inspired by the communications mishaps to create this verse:

Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh imagined a scenario in which the calls could play a key role in the impeachment inquiry. (There's no evidence they contain any kind of damning evidence related to the investigation).

"200 years from now, they’ll read in the history books that a 'butt-dial' brought Trump & his personal lawyer down," he said. "And people will go, 'A what?'"

MSNBC news analyst Howard Fineman said on Twitter that the calls are nonetheless emblematic of the Trump presidency so far. "Think of the whole #Trump Era as a cosmic butt-dial from someone in a very dark place," he wrote.

The Twitter account Lawyer Thoughts argued that inadvertent phone calls captured on virtual audio tape aren't a sign of good attorney work. (The tweet contains unproven allegations). "Dear law students," it states, "try not to butt-dial NBC News."

David Mack, deputy director for breaking news at BuzzFeed News, is one of the voices on Twitter who noted that the terms butt dial and booty call contain very similar language: "just sitting here thinking that 'butt dial' and 'booty call' are both composed of words that are synonyms but they mean very different things," he wrote.

Another reaction among journalists was surprise and envy over the publication of the term "butt dial."

Washington Post senior political reporter Aaron Blake said on Twitter, "I did not know 'butt-dial' was an acceptable word to use in a headline."

Yahoo News Washington bureau chief Sharon Weinberger had "kudos" for the inclusion: