PolitiFact Fact-Checks Whether Democratic Senators Actually High-Fived

Chuck Schumer / Getty Images

Chuck Schumer / Getty Images


The Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking website PolitiFact ruled Tuesday that it is false to say that Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) gave a "high five" when they pressed their open palms together last week.

PolitiFact fact-checked a story from North Dakota's Say Anything blog with the headline: "Heitkamp High-Fives Schumer After Voting Against 20-Week Abortion Ban." The piece came after the Senate last Monday blocked a bill that would ban abortion after the mother reaches 20 weeks of pregnancy.

"Just after casting her ‘no' vote, Senator Heitkamp could be seen on the Senate floor high-fiving Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer," Say Anything reported, predicting that "Republicans are going to make some hay out of that visual."

Embedded in the piece was video of Heitkamp (allegedly) high-fiving Schumer.

But PolitiFact, run by editors and reporters from the Tampa Bay Times, ruled that Say Anything's post was "false," complete with a breakdown of how Heitkamp and Schumer's handplay was not actually a high five, per se.

"As they speak, Schumer approaches [Sen. Cory] Booker and Heitkamp, and Heitkamp catches his eye," PolitiFact wrote. "They each wave hello with their hands up, and Heitkamp reaches her hand out to meet Schumer's as he lands at their side. They clasp hands, exchange a few inaudible words, and let go as Booker pats Schumer's shoulder."

"Typical high fives involve slapping of two hands in celebration," the site explained, including a link to the Merriam-Webster dictionary's definition of the term. "This was a very gradual meeting of awkwardly waving hands."

In addition, PolitiFact ruled that the Say Anything blog's headline misleadingly "suggests the celebration of an anti-abortion victory," despite the body of the piece never claiming as much.

"The video shows an awkward hand waving-turned-holding between Schumer and Heitkamp on a Monday night," PolitiFact concluded. "Both senators said they did not mention the vote on the floor, and that they were simply greeting each other."

Twitter screenshot

Alex Griswold

Alex Griswold   Email Alex | Full Bio | RSS
Alex is a staff writer at the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2012. Before joining the Free Beacon, he was a writer for Mediaite and The Daily Caller. He is originally from Buffalo, New York, but regrettably now lives in Washington, D.C. He can be reached at griswold@freebeacon.com

Get the news that matters most to you, delivered straight to your inbox daily.

Register today!
  • Grow your email list exponentially
  • Dramatically increase your conversion rates
  • Engage more with your audience
  • Boost your current and future profits