On Sunday, Trump retweeted this video of a Black man assaulting a White woman on the New York City subway with share text that blamed Black Lives Matter and antifa. However, the video was from October 2019 and had nothing to do with either group. New York police said the man in the video was charged in connection to the incident. According to local news reports, he had a long history of arrests related to New York City public transportation.
Trump retweeted the group TDN_NOTICIAS, a Spanish-language account that appears to have an anti-Biden, pro-Trump slant. The video was originally posted by the account “I’m with Groyper.” According to the Anti-Defamation League, “groypers” are associated with the alt-right and supporters of white supremacists. CNN contacted the user and said he “identified himself as an advocate of White people creating their own ‘nations’ for supposed ‘protection’ from racial minorities.”
After Trump tweeted the video, Twitter suspended the “I’m with Groyper” account for spam and platform manipulation and the video eventually disappeared from Trump’s tweet. More than 35,000 people tweeted or liked Trump’s tweet. By Monday morning, the video appeared to have had more than 650,000 views.
TDN_NOTICIAS celebrated Trump’s retweet with a tweet that included an image of the video.
Moreover, this was not the first time Trump shared this exact video in connection to the protests that have erupted across the country this summer. He shared a tweet in June that included the video and said “The invention of the cell phone now records gratuitous violence everywhere. Where are the protests for this?” Trump added, “So terrible!” (This video did not come from the same account as “I’m with Groyper.”)
In June, Trump also promoted other videos on Twitter showing Black men attacking White people. A Southern Poverty Law Center 2018 study found that sharing false information about Black-on-White crime statistics is a trademark of white-supremacist thinking and websites. And Trump critics have noted that his tweets in the context of the recent protests imply crimes by Black men are equivalent to the systematic police violence against people of color.
A White House official, who asked not to be identified, said: “The President simply retweeted a video, which is not an endorsement of the content or the account. President Trump will always condemn violence in all forms, especially the recent uptick in violence we’ve seen in Democrat-run cities across the country.”
The Pinocchio Test
Trump’s retweet from Sunday is a clear example of misrepresentation. As outlined in The Fact Checker’s guide to manipulated video, “presenting unaltered video in an inaccurate manner misrepresents the footage and misleads the viewer. Using incorrect dates or locations are examples of subverting context.”
Trump’s Twitter bio does not state “Retweets are not endorsements.” He is responsible for the content he retweets to his more than 85 million followers. Retweeting racially charged misinformation from the account of a self-declared white nationalist does not reflect well on his allegiances during the nation’s reckoning on race.
Trump earns Four Pinocchios for spreading widely such a misleading tweet.
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