The video was manipulated to show Biden saying he would defund the police
The second-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, Rep. Steve Scalise (R) tweeted a doctored video from progressive activist Ady Barkan, who has ALS.
The video showed a portion of Barkan’s videotaped interview with Joe Biden that aired during the Democratic National Convention. In the doctored video, it makes it appear that Biden says he would defund the police if elected. What he actually said “yes” to was redirecting some funding to services like mental health counseling. He asked Biden: “Do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Biden responded: “Yes, absolutely.” In the video, it showed him saying, “for police” after the word “funding.”
Barkan unleashed his anger on Scalise on social media, saying in part, “These are not my words. I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts.” Barkan uses voice assistance technology to communicate. In the manipulated clip, the words “for police” come from elsewhere in the video.
He went on to accuse Scalise of manipulating the video for “your own political gain,” adding: “You owe the entire disability community an apology.”
After backlash mounted, Scalise finally removed the tweet but not before attempting to defend his actions. “While Joe Biden clearly said ‘yes,’ twice, to the question of his support to redirect money away from police,” he said, “we will honor the request of @AdyBarkan and remove the portion of his interview from our video.”
President Donald Trump and his followers continue to falsely report that Biden supports defunding police, which he has denied on countless occasions. During a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, Trump even claimed Biden communicated his desire to defund the police in a position paper. Wallace gave the president and his aides time to find the exact paper and he was unable to do so.
Twitter tagged the video as “manipulated media” on Sunday before Scalise took it down. He could face the threat of censure from the House for violating its Code of Official Conduct for posting falsified information.
The House Minority Whip conceded during an interview with Fox and Friends today that the video “shouldn’t have been edited,” The Hill reported. “But at the same time,” he said, “the comments were always about — in fact, twice in that interview he asked Joe Biden if he was for redirecting money away from police. And in both times, Joe Biden said yes.” It’s probably a good time to scream into the abyss that redirecting some funds away from the police for services that can help the community isn’t the same thing as defunding the police.
Liz Jaff, who co-founded Be A Hero PAC with Barkan, also condemned Scalise’s actions. “Let’s be absolutely clear about this: Rep. Steve Scalise doctored the artificial voice of a man who can’t speak, was called out, did not remove the video and did not apologize for it,” Jaff wrote. “He then lied about that deep fake while sharing the un-doctored footage and then blamed it on Democrats.”
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