The rumors surrounding Keith Ellison not standing to honor Carryn Owens during Donald Trump’s address to Congress sparked a storm of outrage from both news and social media following the event.
Carryn Owens is the widow of Navy SEAL William “Ryan” Owens, who was killed in action during the Yemen raid shortly after Trump was sworn in. If Keith Ellison and Debbie Wasserman Schultz did not stand, it would have been an affront to the sacrifice of a military serviceman.
However, based on video evidence and a comparative analysis of the now-infamous photo purporting to prove the Ellison and Schultz did not stand, it appears the accusation the two were not part of the standing ovation is entirely false.
The video below starts at the 49-minute mark from the official White House recording. If you look in the bottom left corner, you can clearly see Keith Ellison and Schultz standing during the ovation for the Navy widow. Schultz is the woman with the curly blonde hair, and Keith is standing directly to her left.
The photo of Schultz and Keith Ellison sitting still, with neutral/disapproving expressions on their face (the one with Ellison’s hands templed), was headlined on one of the sites announcing its displeasure with the two Democrats, and also featured on a few others. That image was a still taken from a timer around the nine-minute mark (approximately) in a video by Fox and was not actually representative of their reaction during either standing ovation.
So what is behind the various stories from prominent conservative news sites claiming the pair of Democrats refused to stand during the ovation?
This is a clear-cut attempt at crafting a narrative by selectively picking and choosing what information, including video, images, and text to distribute to readers. It is so bold it borders on flat-out propaganda.
Keith Ellison and his fellow Democrat did stand, did clap, and did respond appropriately to the situation for their position. The biggest fault that could be attributed to them is that they did not stand again for the second, longer round of applause following the original introduction. Numerous Democrats, both standing and not, can clearly be seen clapping in the video during that second ovation.
Based on the camera angle from the video, it does not appear that Ellison was standing during that round. That too is part of a narrative, but one not targeted at the widow, but at Trump. Due to the political climate, Democrats like Keith cannot afford to be seen as excessively enthusiastic with anything Trump proposes due to their constituencies, regardless of what the president proposes.
Such action is common from both parties depending on the president in power.
Craig Smith, a speechwriter for Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, said, “Republicans often sat stone-faced during Obama’s State of the Union addresses. Democrats laughed derisively when Reagan promised to balance the budget,” reports Politifact.
The abuse various media outlets have heaped on Keith Ellison and other Democrats is unfortunate and unwarranted. It simply furthers the divide between the two major political groups and their supporters, ever widening the rift for successful bipartisanship legislation and action to take place.
Could more Democrats have stood during the longer ovation? Certainly, but proper decorum did not dictate they must stand again. Most still clapped, though some were on/off during the latter ovation. The fact that despite the political climate many still did stand, and virtually if not all representatives in the chamber stood for the first, is a testament to the support the military and their families have from both parties. They were not reluctant to show respect.
So what are your thoughts on the rumors surrounding Keith Ellison and Debbie Schultz not standing during the ovation? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]