Scalise on altered Biden video: ‘It shouldn’t have been edited’
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) conceded on Monday that a video he tweeted containing a doctored clip of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaking to disability rights activist Ady Barkan “shouldn’t have been edited.”
The video, which accuses Democrats of fomenting violence in American cities, contains a clip of Barkan’s interview with Biden. “Do we agree that we can redirect some of the funding?” Barkan, who has ALS, asks Biden in the original clip, referring to shifting public safety funds from police to mental health and social services. “Yes,” Biden responds.
The clip Scalise tweeted spliced in the words “for police” from earlier in the interview at the end of the question in the same computerized voice Barkan uses to communicate.
“Look, it shouldn’t have been edited,” Scalise said on “Fox & Friends.” “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.”
Twitter flagged the clip as containing manipulated media, and it prompted swift backlash from Democrats and activists.
Barkan demanded Scalise remove the clip and apologize, and Scalise said late Sunday that he would remove the portion of the interview from the video.
“While Joe Biden clearly said ‘yes,’ twice, to the question of his support to redirect money away from police, we will honor the request of @AdyBarkan and remove the portion of his interview from our video,” the Louisiana congressman said.
While Joe Biden clearly said “yes,” twice, to the question of his support to redirect money away from police, we will honor the request of @AdyBarkan and remove the portion of his interview from our video.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) August 31, 2020
Liz Jaff, who co-founded Be A Hero PAC with Barkan, also issued a statement condemning the manipulation.
“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. He then lied about that deep fake while sharing the un-doctored footage and then blamed it on Democrats,” Jaff wrote.
On Monday morning, she called for Scalise to remove the video, apologize, “stop doctoring videos” and resign.
1. Take it down,
2. Own that you doctored the video.
3. Apologize to the disability community.
4. Stop doctoring videos.
5. Resign. https://t.co/qUKrXLJXGM
— Liz – We’re doing it (@lizjaff) August 31, 2020
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