The bicyclist who was fired after being photographed flipping off President Donald Trump's motorcade last month recounted the gesture that has made her a liberal hero on Wednesday, telling MSNBC it was a "spur-of-the-moment decision."
Juli Briskman was photographed on Oct. 28 extending her middle finger toward Trump's motorcade as it departed the Trump National Golf Course in Sterling, Va. She flipped off the whole fleet, and then she repeated the gesture when she caught up with the cars again, according to the New York Times.
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The pictures went viral, and she posted them to her social media accounts. She was then fired from her job as a marketing analyst at Akima LLC because of its rules against posting "obscene content."
"It was a spur-of-the-moment decision," she said. "Lots of things were going through my mind about how disappointed I am with this administration. I didn't really have any other way to express my opinion to Mr. Trump, and so the finger was what I had at the time."
Briskman said she was treated differently than other Akima employees who had posted "lewd" political remarks on their social media accounts. MSNBC host Katy Tur pointed out multiple times that the network had reached out to Akima for comment, but had received none from the company.
Briskman said she did not regret her actions.
"I don't think that he respects the office, so I don't respect the office," she said. "Luckily, I don't live in a country where I must respect him or there are severe consequences for me."
"We do have free speech. You're right," Tur said.
Briskman added that she's not sure what she'll do next, and she didn't think she wanted her old job back since the company did not share her "values."
"I really just wanted to go for a bike ride," she said.
She recounted that, following the photo going viral, she received more than 1,000 Facebook friend requests and her Twitter account went from 24 people to more than 15,000.
Tur asked Briskman if she felt "vindicated" by the results of Virginia's gubernatorial election, where Democrat Ralph Northam soundly defeated Republican Ed Gillespie in what analysts are calling a rebuke of Trump.
"I do," she said. "I received a text on my way down here, a friend of mine said ‘I think all of Virginia was riding the bikes with you to the polls yesterday,' and I'm very proud of my state."