The latest story of dirty tricks by the Trump administration is making the rounds this weekend and it deals with one of the video segments featured during the final night of the Republican National Convention. Midway through a series of testimonials about Trump’s policies and their positive effects on the lives of real Americans, a segment aired featuring four tenants’ association leaders from New York City. They spoke passionately about the shortcomings of the administration of Gotham Mayor Bill de Blasio and appreciatively on the subject of efforts by the White House to improve the situation. It was a compelling segment on issues directly affecting primarily minority communities in the Big Apple.
There was just one problem. After the segment aired, three of the four participants claimed that they had been “tricked” into recording the videos by Lynne Patton, the head of HUD Region II which oversees New York and New Jersey. One of the participants said that she was “furious” over the depiction and the fact that nobody told her that the videos would be used during the RNC. (A fourth participant said she had been informed and was supportive of President Trump.) This “trickery” was picked up by the New York Times with the usual blaring about whether or not this was a violation of the Hatch Act.
“I am not a Trump supporter,” said one of the tenants, Claudia Perez. “I am not a supporter of his racist policies on immigration. I am a first-generation Honduran. It was my people he was sending back.”
The episode represents another stark example of how President Trump has deployed government resources to further his political ambitions. Ms. Patton is head of the New York office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and under the Hatch Act is barred from using her government position to engage in political activities…
The four tenants in the public housing video were all interviewed on Friday by The New York Times. Three said they opposed President Trump and were misled about the video. The fourth, reached late Friday night, said she was a Trump backer and knew the purpose of the video.
We have a “she said, she said” situation here, as Patton claims that everyone was informed that the video would be aired on Thursday, but three of the participants disagree. So on the surface, if we assume their story is true, you can understand how someone might feel a bit blindsided by suddenly seeing themselves being featured on national television in this fashion, particularly if they are lifelong Democrats.
But looking a bit deeper into the story, it’s tough to understand how any of them could say they were being unfairly characterized. Before continuing, let’s take a look at the segment. This clip is tagged to start at the beginning of this segment from a much longer video, but it’s only two minutes long. Check it out and then we’ll deal with what these four people actually said.
The four people being interviewed are Claudia Perez, Carmen Quiñones, Manny Martinez and Judy Smith. One thing to note is that all four of them were told after the interviews that the video was being recorded “for the Republican Party,” though they denied the convention was specifically mentioned. Still, that should have at least given them some clue. But what did they really say on camera when they clearly knew they were being recorded? (This was not some sort of secret, hidden camera scheme.)
Quiñones didn’t have much to say about Trump, but she unloaded on Mayor de Blasio, saying “this mayor has made our lives here, and I think in every housing development, very uncomfortable.”
Martinez specifically cites “the Trump administration” as being responsible for an influx of public housing funding “not seen since 1997.” He goes on to specifically praise Lynne Patton for the improvements they’ve seen.
Smith says she is “grateful for the spotlight the Trump administration is putting on New York City housing.” She goes on from there to say how it is “wrong” for Democrats to put illegal immigrants before Black Americans in gaining access to public housing.
Claudia Perez describes the way Bill de Blasio has dealt with public housing residents as “disgraceful.” She later says that she is “very appreciative of this administration” and that the Trump White House has “opened their ears and listened” to the needs of those in public housing, “bringing real solutions to a real problem.”
All of these people were told that the video was being recorded as a Republican project. They were being interviewed by a senior HUD official from the Trump administration. And all but one of them had plenty of praise for Donald Trump’s accomplishments in the public housing sector. Nobody had a gun to their heads. But now they are upset that the footage aired during the RNC?
The liberal media is trying to make hay out of this by claiming that these four people were somehow “tricked.” But listening to their own voices and seeing the expressions on their faces, it certainly seems like they’ve been impressed by the job Donald Trump has done. They just don’t want their friends to hear them saying it on national TV.