Misleading the public is the default setting for Team Trump, but things got nastier over the weekend when two Trump surrogates posted doctored videos to Twitter and other social media platforms. One video changed a man’s words; the other replaced a famous man of color with Joe Biden.
First, House Republican Whip Steve Scalise posted a video of ALS patient and healthcare activist Ady Barkan that seemed critical of Joe Biden. Despite vast criticism from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Biden himself, Scalise refused to back down that his video wasn’t doctored. The original tweet containing the video, which Twitter has marked “Manipulated Media” was still up as of Monday afternoon as #ScaliseResign was trending.
The Trump team has tried to push the image of Biden as “Sleepy Joe”, which hasn’t really worked for them since America saw a vibrant and energetic Biden all through the Democratic National Convention. But that didn’t stop Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino from tweeting another doctored video on Monday which seemed to show Joe Biden falling asleep during an interview. Unfortunately for Scavino, it was quickly revealed that not only wasn’t it footage of Joe Biden, it was an interview with a man of color: legendary entertainer Harry Belafonte.
What an uncanny resemblance.
Scavino was busted by the man who co-anchored the original interview with Belafonte, which had gone viral in 2011 where it seems the multi-award-winning singer had fallen asleep.
— John Dabkovich (@JohnDabkovich) August 31, 2020
Harry Belafonte has responded to this latest bit of Trump trickery, as quoted by Maggie Haberman of the New York Times: “They keep stooping lower and lower. A technical glitch in an interview I did 9 years ago now becomes another one of their lies, more of their fake news. .I beg every sane American-please vote them out. I knew many who gave their life for the right to vote. Never has it been so vital to exercise that right.”
While Scalise tweeted a sort-of retraction, the original video was still on his Twitter account at the time of this writing.
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
With the advancement of such technology, it’s a safe bet these won’t be the last doctored videos we see from Team Trump, as they seem incapable of playing fairly.