Did Democrats Refuse to Stand for a Navy SEAL's Widow?


An unrelated image of Keith Ellison and Debbie Wasserman Schultz was apparently used to claim Democrats refused to honor a Navy SEAL's widow during a presidential speech.


Democrats Bernie Sanders, Keith Ellison, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and Nancy Pelosi refused to stand and clap for Navy SEAL widow Carryn Owens during a presidential speech.




On 28 February 2017, President Donald Trump appeared before a joint session of Congress to deliver a speech similar to a State of the Union address, taking several minutes of that time to honor and thank Carryn Owens, the widow of U.S. Navy Special Operator Senior Chief William Owens. Owens died in a raid in Yemen, the first American combatant to die during the presidency of Donald Trump:

Among the reactions to President Trump’s speech, and that particular portion of it, were claims that prominent Democrats Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Keith Ellison, Bernie Sanders, and Nancy Pelosi “refused to stand” to honor Mrs. Owens. For example, a Blaze article headlined “Meet the Democrats who refused to stand and applaud the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL” asserted that:
[C]ameras captured top Democrat Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) staying firmly seated, seemingly emotionless, and refusing to clap for Owens.
A Daily Wire item headlined “AWFUL: Top Democrats Refuse to Stand, Clap for Navy SEAL Widow Honored by Trump” proclaimed that:
As [Owens’] widow wept and mouthed to heaven, “I love you, baby,” Trump led a round of applause that lasted two minutes.
And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) apparently sat there and didn’t cheer as the incredible moment progressed, along with Senator Bernie Sanders and others — see this video at approximately three minutes in, as the cameras pan the crowd. Look at the right hand side of this screenshot.
A 100PercentFedUp piece headlined “HORRIBLE! TOP DEMOCRATS Refuse to Stand for Gold Star Widow” maintained that:
President Trump honored the widow of fallen Navy SEAL Ryan Owens with a beautiful acknowledgment. Carryn Owens was given a standing ovation we won’t soon forget. The big problem with this amazing moment is that half of the room sat in defiance of President Trump BUT this wasn’t about the president! The Democrats are so blinded by their hatred for Trump that they sat emotionless refusing to honor the fallen. Wow! A low moment for these haters just gave Trump four more years …
But examination of multiple video and photographic sources (including the full video of President Trump’s speech, embedded below) documents that, while some Democrats may not have stood and applauded as much as their Republican counterparts did, the ones called out above did indeed all stand in acknowledgment of Mrs. Owens when she was introduced by President Trump:

The Daily Wire article included an embed of an NBC News video, specifically cut down to encompass only the segment of the President’s speech featuring the tribute to Mrs. Owens. The only politician mentioned in that article who was clearly visible in the embedded clip was Bernie Sanders, who could plainly be seen standing and clapping:
Video published on the White House’s web site shows (at about the 49:03 mark) that Wasserman Schultz and Ellison could also be seen clearly standing at the very lowest left-hand corner of the frame (the camera angle is from behind them and thus doesn’t show their hands to confirm whether they were applauding at that point):
A still image capturing a wider view was touted as supposedly showing Democrats (including Rep. Nancy Pelosi) remaining seated while Republicans cheer the Gold Star widow, but it appears to have been taken near the end of the sequence, when some of the audience members had sat down again after standing up and applauding (while others remained standing):
We could not find in either NBC News’ or Fox News’ video footage a scene of Wasserman Schultz and Ellison stubbornly remaining seated and unmoved, as depicted in the Daily Wire article’s header image. We did find a matching still for the picture used by the Daily Wire, but it came from a portion of the speech that had taken place more than half an hour before the tribute to Mrs. Owners (just after the nine-minute mark), while President Trump was speaking about inner cities:

Unless Ellison kept his hands tented throughout most or all of the event, it appears that an still frame taken from a completely unrelated portion of the President’s speech was deceptively used to bolster the claim that Ellison and Schultz “sat” when Owens was introduced.
The sequence of events, as best we can construct it from the full video, began with President Trump’s introducing the Gold Star widow by saying “We are blessed to be joined tonight by Carryn Owens, the widow of U.S. Navy special operator, Senior Chief William Ryan Owens,” at which point members from both sides of the aisle stood and applauded in acknowledgment of Mrs. Owens (with the video capturing Ellison, Wasserman Schultz, and Sanders all taking part).
The attendees then sat down while the President resumed his speech, and as Trump delivered an encomium to William Owens that ended with “Ryan’s legacy is etched into eternity,” attendees in the House chamber rose and applauded again as the camera view switched to cover Carryn Owens standing in the gallery. When the camera angle moved back to a wider view of the chamber, it showed that some Democrats began to sit down again while most Republicans remained standing and clapping. Wasserman Schultz, Ellison, and Sanders could be seen seated (while Pelosi was still standing) at that point, but because the camera had been focused on Mrs. Owens during the second round of applause, it’s difficult to tell from the visual evidence whether the three Democrats sat down earlier than others or did not rise a second time.
A more accurate description of events than the ones spread via outrage-provoking blog posts would state that some Democrats did not stand and applaud Mrs. Owens as long or as much as some Republicans did, a description contrary to what was implied by misleading headlines such as “Top Democrats Refuse to Stand, Clap for Navy SEAL Widow Honored by Trump.”
NOTE: A simple yet illuminating example of how the right wingers create fake news in order to damage the reputations of Democrats.  Pizzagate is exactly the same thing as was all the bullshit about Hillary Clinton.   


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