White House intern says he wasn't making 'white power' gesture, proud of Jewish heritage

A recent White House intern issued a statement Friday denying reports that he used a white nationalist gesture in an intern class photo with President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification MORE, telling The Daily Caller that he intended to mimic Trump's frequent use of the "OK" hand gesture.

A photo of White House interns with the president depicts intern Jack Breuer in the upper right making an "OK" symbol with his hand, a gesture that has been used by white nationalist groups due to its tendency to look like the letters "w" and "p" sandwiched together, an acronym for "white power."

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Breuer, who interned at the White House this fall, issued a statement to The Daily Caller and created a Twitter account early Friday morning, on which he released a statement stating his Jewish heritage and claiming no association with white supremacist groups.

"In some of our intern pictures, I emulated the OK sign the President sometimes makes. That was foolish. I should have listened more closely to the Commander-in-Chief and given the thumbs up," Breuer said in his statement.

"I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and strongly reject the hateful views associated with racist white power organizations. I would never make common cause with them," he added.

The image was first picked up by the U.K.-based Daily Mail, which quoted a fellow intern who took offense to Breuer making the gesture under a portrait of George Washington.

"It is a distinct symbol known in alt-right circles and what makes it worse is that he is doing it in the East Room just below the portrait of George Washington," the intern told the Daily Mail.

Another intern told the Mail that Breuer is "a good kid and is probably doing it as a joke." 

White nationalists and far-right activists, such as Richard Spencer, have been seeing making the gesture, most notably at a rally in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this year that led to the death of a counterprotester.

Trump and his administration have come under fire for not sufficiently condemning white nationalism and racism, especially after Charlottesville. In remarks after the violence, Trump said that there were "very fine people" on both sides of the issue at the rally. The rally was to protest the city's planned removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.