Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Keith Ellison were apparently smeared by a right-wing campaign that falsely claimed the two top Democrats failed to applaud the widow of a slain Navy SEAL at President Trump’s speech to Congress.
A single tweet claimed that “Sobbing widow of slain Navy Seal receives 2 minute standing ovation. Debbie Wasserman Schultz & Keith Ellison stay firmly seated, no claps.”
The tweet referred to the emotional moment when President Trump paid tribute to fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens and honored his widow Carryn, who was sitting in the gallery.
This was enough to ignite a firestorm of reactions, accusing the Democratic leaders of “disgraceful” conduct. The Daily Wire later accompanied the story with a photo showing Wasserman Schultz and Ellison sitting and listening, presumably while others stood and applauded.
But fact checking website Snopes examined video footage of Trump’s speech to Congress and reached the conclusion that this photo was taken a half hour earlier, when Trump was talking about inner cities, not about the fallen Navy SEAL.
Furthermore, Snopes found a White House video in which the two members of Congress are seen standing and clapping while Trump honors Carryn Owens.
Benny Johnson, the twitter user who started the discussion, also corrected himself later, tweeting that there were two ovations for Owens and “DWS & Ellison stood for her intro.”
It is not clear for how long Wasserman Schultz and Ellison stood and applauded, but what is clear is that it takes little proof to trigger a tsunami of online attacks. The Forward also initially misreported the facts based on these tweets.
The White House told a government watchdog agency that Kellyanne Conway, a senior aide to President Donald Trump, acted “inadvertently” when she publicly endorsed the clothing and jewelry line of Trump’s daughter, Ivanka.
Conway came under criticism for urging Americans to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” in comments that appeared to violate government ethics rules prohibiting the use of public office to endorse products or advance personal business gains.
White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino said Conway committed to follow the rules in the future. Passantino apparently did not suggest any disciplinary action.
“We concluded that Ms. Conway acted inadvertently and is highly unlikely to do so again,” Passantino said in the letter to Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub. “(She) did so without nefarious motive or intent to benefit personally,” the letter said.
Conway spoke about Ivanka Trump’s products after department store chain Nordstrom Inc said it was dropping the brand of the president’s older daughter.
A day before her appearance on television, Trump complained on Twitter that Nordstrom had treated his daughter unfairly by dropping her line.
Norman Eisen, a former ethics adviser to President Barack Obama, said he would have preferred a tougher response.
Rebecca Konstandt is a devoted athlete who usually finishes her workouts on a runner’s high — but not on Tuesday. Instead, her regular route ended with the discovery of swastikas spray painted across n a bridge in Essex County, New Jersey.
“This is beyond stupid kids,” she wrote on Facebook. “This is not acceptable.”
Konstandt, 43, has been living in Livingston for 15 years. About a year ago, there was a swastika painted on a rock near her kids’ soccer practice, she says. She remembers similar incidents happening in Fair Lawn where she grew up.
By Tuesday afternoon, the parks department had covered the swastikas with paint. Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura told NJ Advance Media that the police are working with Prosecutor’s Bias Crime Unit to investigate the incident. He also said Crimestoppers is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest.
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Jack Abramoff, the disgraced lobbyist sent to prison during the last Republican administration, is back in Washington, D.C. Under President Trump, he is pushing a bid to help Republic of Congo strongman Denis Sassou Nguesso build a coalition to defeat the terrorist group Boko Haram.
According to a report in Politico, Abramoff has been trying to secure a presidential meeting for the authoritarian ruler, reaching out in the process to influential California Representative Dana Rohrabacher. Also in the mix are “European friends” who have an interest in seeing West African nations fight Boko Haram.
Abramoff told Politico he believed they had financial interests in the Congo. He and Rohrabacher also confirmed that he helped arrange a conversation between Rohrabacher and Sessou Nguesso.
Abramoff defended his effort to aid the battle against radical Islam. Rohrabacher said there was nothing wrong in collaborating with Abramoff.
“Jack is a very idealistic person and I will say he’s a patriot,” the congressman told the news site.
Esther’s not the only queen this Purim. Beit Haverim, France’s association for queer and trans Jews, cut a video ahead of this Sunday featuring drag queens (along with other male and female dancers) breaking it down while explaining the holiday.
“Esther, the most beautiful of queens, has saved us from a certain death. Let’s sing, dance, and make some noise!… Make Haman flee, we’re saved from his crime, let’s be the queens of Purim!” go the lyrics (subtitled in English), which rhyme in French and are set to Britney Spears’ “Oops, I Did It Again.”
In the video, the dancers play students learning about Purim and Queen Esther, before abandoning their religious studies to bust out their moves and help one of their compatriots don the perfect drag outfit.
According to the credits, the video was based on an original idea from Beit Haverim’s leader Alain Beit. The Paris-based group is celebrating its 40th anniversary as a place for queer French Jews.
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