Pelosi, Biden slam Scalise for doctored video that altered activist’s words

Top Democrats sharply criticized a senior House Republican on Sunday after he shared a video that included a clip apparently doctored to insert words into an activist’s question to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden that were never actually said.

Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) to take down a video that Twitter flagged earlier Sunday as containing “manipulated media.”

The video contains a clip of an interview between Biden and activist Ady Barkan — who uses a computerized artificial voice due to his ALS — in which Barkan asks if Biden can “agree that we can redirect some of the funding” from law enforcement to mental health and social services, to which Biden agrees. 

Scalise’s altered clip uses a computerized voice similar to Barkan’s to falsely add the words “for police” to his question.

“This video is doctored — and a flagrant attempt to spread misinformation at the expense of a man who uses assistive technology. It should be removed. Now,” Biden wrote.

“.@SteveScalise tried to steal @AdyBarkan’s health care with more than 60 votes to repeal or undermine Americans’ health care. Now, he’s trying to steal Ady’s words by lying,” said Pelosi. “Congressman Scalise must take his doctored video down and apologize immediately.”

Barkan himself also responded to the No. 2 House Republican, calling on him to apologize to the disabled community.

“These are not my words. I have lost my ability to speak, but not my agency or my thoughts. You and your team have doctored my words for your own political gain. Please remove this video immediately. You owe the entire disability community an apology,” he tweeted.

The congressman fired back at his critics on Twitter, claiming that he had portrayed Biden’s stance on police reform accurately. Scalise’s office did not return a request for comment from The Hill.

“Twice in one interview Biden says ‘yes’ & ‘yes absolutely’ to questions about ‘redirecting’ police funding. Dems & their partners in the media want to blame ‘editing’ to pretend this isn’t exactly what he believes. Here’s the full clip. See for yourself,” Scalise tweeted.

On Monday he appeared to be less willing to defend the video’s manipulation, telling “Fox & Friends” that the video should not have been changes.

“Look, it shouldn’t have been edited,” Scalise said. “But at the same time, 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.”

Updated 8/31/2020 at 11:30 a.m.

Tags Ady Barkan Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi Steve Scalise
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