While speaking to supporters in Charlotte, N.C., after being renominated as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate, President Trump spoke about the Democrats’ attempt to steal the 2020 election.
“What it means is they are trying to steal the election from the Republicans, that’s what it means,” he told supporters. “Just like they did it last time with spying, and we caught them. And that included President Obama.”
“Spygate!” yelled one supporter in the crowd.
“Sleepy Joe!” another supporter said a few seconds later, which prompted a reaction from Trump. “Let’s be nice,” he said. “This could only happen in North Carolina.”
Trump supporter clearly yells “Spygate”
Media runs with false claim he yelled “Monkey!”pic.twitter.com/vBGRALuXIf
— Matt Margolis 🇺🇸 (@mattmargolis) August 24, 2020
But, anti-Trumpers quickly spread the rumor on social media that the supporter had yelled out “monkey” in reference to Obama, not “spygate.” The Lincoln Project immediately joined in on the disinformation campaign on Twitter.
The crowd member yelled "Spygate"
The election disinformation group Lincoln Project spread a false race hoax today pic.twitter.com/9CeZn33HzN
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) August 24, 2020
The Lincoln Project has since deleted their tweet, after it must have become clear to them that no one said “monkey” as was claimed. Even Aaron Rupar, the rabid anti-Trump reporter at Vox, admits that it was “spygate.”
I don't think this is right. I went back and re-listened. The man yells "spygate!" and then someone in the crowd says, "Sleepy Joe!" That latter remark is the one Trump joked about. https://t.co/mzVr92MBo8
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 24, 2020
Philip Bump of the Washington Post also acknowledged that the man said “spygate.”
He said "spygate" — and the laughing was about someone else saying "Sleepy Joe." https://t.co/m65KPQKNea
— Philip Bump (@pbump) August 24, 2020
Talking Points Memo originally reported that Trump had responded to a man yelling “monkey” but later revised their story, adding the following disclaimer:
Correction: This post initially reported that an audience member had shouted the word “monkey” during Trump’s comments on former President Obama. We have updated this post to note that it appears the audience-member said “SpyGate.” We regret the error.
You can listen to the audio, and hear quite clearly that the man in the crowd shouted “spygate,” which Trump didn’t even react to, before another man in the crowd said “Sleepy Joe!” which, as noted above, even the anti-Trump Aaron Rupar concedes is what Trump reacted to.
While some were willing to acknowledge the facts, others were more determined to tarnish the start of the Republican National Convention with a bogus allegation and ran with the “monkey” allegation.
“Trump tells RNC audience to ‘be nice’ after man shouts Obama slur,” reported RawStory.
Jonathan Capehart, a Washington Post columnist and MSNBC contributor, retweeted The Lincoln Project’s now-deleted tweet, comparing it to the debunked claim that Trump called white supremacists “very fine people.” Other outlets have referenced the incident while not correcting the record. NBC News referenced the incident by saying, “When Trump mentioned former President Barack Obama’s name, an attendee shouted something that sounded to some like the word ‘monkey’ and to others like ‘spygate.'”
1010 WINS, a New York-based radio station, reported that “Donald Trump urged an attendee at the Republican National Convention on Monday to ‘be nice’ after the man shouted ‘monkey’ in response to the president mentioning Barack Obama during his remarks.”
Despite the correction, at the time of this writing, “monkey” is trending on Twitter with thousands of tweets repeating the claim that the supporter shouted that word and not “spygate.”
Polls show the race between Trump and Biden tightening last week, both in national and battleground polls. The GOP convention this week could help even up the race, or help Trump pull ahead. It’s obvious that many on the left are afraid of this and are desperately trying to cast a dark cloud over the convention with a phony controversy.
Ann Coulter’s reaction to the faux controversy was probably the best of them all:
1. Only liberals heard "monkey" and 2. Only liberals hear the word "monkey" and think BLACK PEOPLE! https://t.co/93O1fTwU7f
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 24, 2020
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis