Hillary Clinton rebuked President Donald Trump and his “cronies” for spreading doctored footage of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in an effort to smear the congresswoman, calling it “sexist trash.”
The former Democratic presidential candidate delivered the condemnation in a speech Friday at a Harris County Democratic Party event in Houston.
“The president and his cronies have been running around spreading a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi,” she said, adding, “Now, it is sexist trash, but it is also a sign that Trump is running scared.”
“So if you believe in the rule of law and the responsibility we all have to hold our leaders accountable, then we cannot relent on this front either,” Clinton continued, warning that the president has launched the nation into “a very real constitutional crisis.”
On Wednesday, a deceptively edited video of Pelosi’s remarks at Washington’s Center for American Progress Ideas Festival began circulating online, making it appear as if the congresswoman was drunkenly stumbling through her speech.
On Friday, The Washington Post debunked the footage as a hit job, though its origins remain unclear. A version shared on a Facebook page called Politics WatchDog continued to remain available with 2.6 million views as of Saturday, and the social media platform has no plans to take it down.
Though the company has vowed to combat the sharing of fake news on its site, in a statement to The Guardian, a company spokesperson said it was trying to uphold free speech by leaving the edited clip up:
There’s a tension here: we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance. But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn’t mean it should get distribution. In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed.
On Twitter, the video was shared by the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who later deleted his post then tweeted out an unintelligible comment appearing to defend his decision to spread the footage.
Trump himself tweeted a separate video of Pelosi on Wednesday, titling it, “Pelosi stammers through news conference.” The Post determined the clip had been selectively edited, but it is still on the president’s page.