Joan Walsh on Trump Getting the Bird: ‘I Don’t See How Giving Someone the Finger Is Not Inclusion’

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National affairs correspondent for The Nation Joan Walsh said Thursday that a woman who flipped off President Donald Trump was being inclusive, from a certain point of view.

Appearing on MSNBC’s "The Beat," Walsh took issue with guest Carrie Sheffield’s criticism of the tactics of the so-called Trump resistance. Sheffield argued that the bicyclist Juli Briskman had the right to give Trump's passing motorcade the finger but noted that such action gives the resistance little right to criticism Trump’s rhetoric.

"The response I’ve seen from the resistance I’ve found very troubling because it's mirroring and doing the same thing [as Trump]," Sheffield said. "They say, ‘We have tolerance, inclusion.’ I don't see that happening."

"I don't see how giving someone the finger is not inclusion," Walsh replied, prompting a surprised facial expression from host Ari Melber. "She’s riding a bicycle, she sees him, she does it spontaneously, she’s on her own time—I think it's completely defensible and I think it’s crazy she got fired."

Briskman was not fired for the act but for posting about it on social media, specifically for violating the company’s "obscene content" prohibition. Walsh alleged a double standard on the company’s part because people who had posted about "libtards" were not fired.

"It's not like Elizabeth Warren gave the president the finger," Walsh later added. "A private citizen did it, riding her private bicycle. She didn't know anyone was photographing her."

Walsh’s defense that Briskman "didn’t know" people noticed her ignores the fact that Briskman promoted pictures of her making the gesture on social media, and she also has gone on television to tell her story. Being on a "private bicycle" also does not change the fact that Briskman was in public, where anyone can be photographed.

Walsh said the situation is different from Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) flipping Trump off, and she explained that she wouldn’t do it herself, even though she "saluted" Briskman.

"She got caught, it went viral, a lot of us really saluted her," Walsh said. "But, you know, I probably wouldn't do it. I certainly wouldn't do it publicly. I will trash [Trump] with words, but I probably wouldn't do that."

Paul Crookston

Paul Crookston   Email Paul | Full Bio | RSS
Paul Crookston is a media analyst with the Washington Free Beacon. He was previously a Collegiate Network fellow at National Review. A 2016 graduate of Gordon College in Wenham, Mass., he served as the managing editor of the Tartan campus newspaper. He is originally from Tampa, Fla., but he still roots for Dad’s Ohio teams. His Twitter handle is @P_Crookston. He can be reached at crookston@freebeacon.com.

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