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Fact check: Dishonest Trump video twists Democrats' quotes to make it sound like they endorsed riots

Updated 4:35 PM ET, Mon June 29, 2020

Washington (CNN) - An egregiously deceptive campaign video posted on Facebook and Twitter by President Donald Trump on Saturday takes quotes from prominent Democrats out of context to wrongly make it seem as if they had encouraged or defended violence.

The video, which had more than 53,000 retweets as of Monday afternoon, juxtaposes clips of people rioting and looting with unrelated quotes from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- effectively changing the meaning of each Democrat's remark.

The Pelosi quote

After showing a clip of a burning vehicle that had been vandalized with the anti-police insult "pig," the video shows Pelosi saying, "I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings all over the country. Maybe there will be."

Facts First: Pelosi uttered these words two years ago on the subject of Trump's policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border.

Pelosi noted in June 2018 that the National Association of Evangelicals had testified to Congress that the US refugee resettlement system was the "crown jewel of American humanitarianism."

She said of the Trump administration: "And in order to do away with that crown jewel, they're doing away with children being with their moms. I just don't even know why there aren't uprisings all over the country. And maybe there will be, when people realize that this is a policy that they defend."

Pelosi's office asked both Twitter and Facebook to take the video down, spokesman Drew Hammill told CNN on Monday. Both Twitter and Facebook told CNN that the video does not violate their policies.

The video's out-of-context use of the Pelosi quote was noted Saturday by the Washington Post's Greg Sargent.

The Ocasio-Cortez quote

The video shows clips of people setting an American flag on fire and toppling a statue, then a clip of Ocasio-Cortez saying, "That is what the word 'radical' really means. ... I've never been offended. And I embrace that term."

Facts First: Ocasio-Cortez was not talking about violence, flag-burning or statue-toppling when she made these comments on June 5. Rather, she was arguing, in an online video conversation about policing, that "systemic" problems with the police need to be addressed with "systemic" solutions rather than piecemeal reforms like slightly reducing budgets or banning particular tactics like chokeholds.

"That is what the word radical really means, by the way -- it means 'the root,' getting to the root of problems," she said. "And that word has just kind of been co-opted as though you're just kind some of -- I don't even know, some Looney Tune out here. But what it really means is that If you are radical, it means that you get to the root of problems. Which is why I've never been offended, and I embrace that term."

The Biden quote

The video shows a Black Lives Matter activist, Hawk Newsome, saying on Fox News, "If this country doesn't give us what we want, then we will burn down this system and replace it."

The video then says, in writing, "Joe Biden also wants a 'new system.'" And it shows a clip of Biden saying, "We have an incredible opportunity to not just dig out of this crisis but to fundamentally transform the country."

The video then cuts to a clip of a fire in the middle of a street, then a clip of someone smashing a window.

Facts First: Biden made these comments about transforming the country three weeks before the death of George Floyd -- and he was speaking about how politicians could use the response to the coronavirus pandemic to try to create a fairer society.

He said during an online town hall event hosted in May by the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) on the subject of protecting essential workers: "You know, I've put out a detailed plan about what I think we should be doing right now to support our frontline workers and address the disparities we're seeing with Covid-19 impacts all across the country. And I truly think that if we do this right, we have an incredible opportunity to not just dig out of this crisis, but to fundamentally transform the country so that it's more fair, more just, more equitable for everybody, everyone, including for workers in meatpacking industries."


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