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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A social media post by the Young Republicans of Allegheny County was an obvious joke, says chairwoman Anissa Coury.
“It was just done in jest. It was something that was meant to be lighthearted, fun. We didn’t think it was malicious, and that was certainly not our intent,” Coury told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Posted was a picture of former Pittsburgh city councilman Dan Gilman, now Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff, with the words #WalkAway photo-shopped over the original words ‘I believe survivors.’
“#WalkAway” refers to Democrats who have left the Democratic Party.
“The WalkAway campaign is actually a movement that has gained a lot of momentum recently,” says Coury.
Coury says CNN recently claimed it was started by Russian Bots, all of which made the social media post clearly a joke.
But Gilman tweeted: “Nice to see people spreading Photoshopped crap. Even more disgusting — the Photoshopped image is of me supporting sexual assault survivors.”
Then, Peduto jumped in, tweeting, “This is unreal. How low can this go.”
This is unreal. How low can this go? Let’s get back to debating issues, not photoshopping lies. https://t.co/930KSWtarR
— bill peduto (@billpeduto) July 23, 2018
Coury says this over-reaction is fake.
Delano: “Did you have any feeling or thought that he might be offended by this?”
Coury” “No. I really didn’t believe there was anything to get offended about. I mean, I honestly think they are crocodile tears.”
To emphasize her point, the Young Republicans posted another Photoshopped picture, this one of Peduto preferring bottled water in a city with water issues.
Neither Gilman nor Peduto would appear on camera to discuss Coury’s latest claims.
In fact, they just say the tweets that they posted said it all.
Now Coury tells KDKA if Gilman had called her and asked her personally to take down that post, she would have done so.
But he didn’t, so she says it’s just politics.