President Donald Trump made his first address to Congress Tuesday night and some people and websites were buzzing that Democratic politicians Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Keith Ellison were not standing during the moving moment when Gold Star widow Carryn Owens, the wife of deceased service member William “Ryan” Owens, was recognized. The story about Ellison and Wasserman Schultz spread like wildfire, but sources have been able to analyze the timing of the supposed moment causing the uproar, video, and photos available from the presidential address to debunk this rumor.
The story that ran rampant across conservative blogs and social media claimed that as President Donald Trump recognized Carryn Owens, the widow of United States Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens who was killed during the January 29 raid in Yemen, neither Representatives Debbie Wasserman Schultz or Keith Ellison were standing up as everybody else was. As Politifact notes, one specific screenshot was used by sites making this claim, but it turns out that the photo used was not from the moment recognizing the Gold Star widow.
The moment when President Trump recognized Owens has generated a great deal of buzz and everybody at the address was on their feet for about two minutes’ worth of applause and support. However, numerous conservative outlets and individuals were furious over the idea that Wasserman Schultz and Ellison were not standing during this time.
Did Democrats Refuse to Stand for a Navy SEAL’s Widow? https://t.co/1SKe7VUX3w
— snopes.com (@snopes) March 1, 2017
Snopes dug into this claim regarding Wasserman Schultz and Ellison not standing. Their digging indicates that the photo being used to justify this claim, a screenshot from the Fox News broadcast of the presidential address, actually came about half an hour prior to the recognition of Owens by President Trump.
In addition, the claims being made about the supposed incident can be debunked by video footage of the address posted on the White House website. Snopes notes that the version of the video on the White House site, which shows the group of representatives from behind, shows Wasserman Schultz and Ellison standing along with everybody else during that moment involving President Trump and the Gold Star widow. There were also some claims floating around that Senator Bernie Sanders sat during the same recognition, but there are screenshots and video footage that debunk that claim as well.
There has been plenty of criticism swirling around about the circumstances surrounding the death of United States Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, who became the first American combatant to die since President Donald Trump took office. Sources have claimed that the raid should not have been approved and Owens’ father Bill has said that he wants there to be an investigation into his son’s death, notes the Hill, as he questions the timing and circumstances surrounding the mission.
How have the representatives responded to the claims that they were not standing? Ellison has not addressed the talk directly, but he did retweet a post addressing how the claims were false. It does not appear that Wasserman Schultz has tweeted anything about the claims made against her. Both representatives have been very outspoken about the new administration and while they may have looked dour at various points of the presidential address, they were not sitting and looking that way as Gold Star widow Carryn Owens was being recognized.
Despite the video and photographic evidence emerging that debunks the claim that Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Keith Ellison were not standing during the standing ovation for United States Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens’ wife Carryn, a fair number of conservatives are still maintaining that the two representatives remained seated. Some of the websites making this claim have altered their stories slightly, but there is still a fair amount of inaccuracy floating around regarding this story.
[Featured Image by Sarah Rice/Getty Images]