After Donald Trump’s rally in Sarasota, Florida this weekend – a rally that GOP Governor Ron DeSantis reportedly pleaded with him not to hold so soon after the apartment building collapse in Miami – the president’s spokeswoman, Liz Harrington, tweeted out an article about the event from Alabama news site AL.com
However, had she read the article fully, Ms Harrington might have been deterred from sharing it by the following paragraph: “Without evidence, Trump continued to peddle lies about the 2020 presidential election, calling it a ‘totally rigged and dishonest election’. There has been no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have affected the outcome of the election.”
Her tweet immediately drew ridicule, with Twitter users pouncing on her decision to share something directly counter to the official Trump line that’s held since before the election even happened.
Ms Harrington, a former national spokeswoman for the Republican Party, was appointed Mr Trump’s spokeswoman in June, replacing Jason Miller – also an enthusiastic proponent of the “big lie” that Mr Trump in fact won the presidential election. She was hailed by Mr Trump as a “fighter” and “an important part of our receiving more votes than any incumbent president in US history”; speaking for herself, she said she was excited to “stand for the truth”.
She has a background in right-wing journalism, having been editor-in-chief at War Room – a right-wing website and podcast helmed by Steve Bannon, the former Trump adviser and longtime political agitator.
Ms Harrington’s first weeks as Mr Trump’s spokeswoman have seen her eagerly tap into some of the right’s current causes célèbres, in particular its complaint that the leadership of the armed services has become too open to critical ways of thinking about race and inequity.
After reports emerged that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley last summer “blew up” at Mr Trump when he pushed back at the then-president’s attitude to the protests at the murder of George Floyd, Ms Harrington hit back.
“Maybe a more timely and newsworthy thing for reporters to cover,” she wrote, “besides spreading lies about meetings in the White House a year ago, would be the fact that it now is evident Gen. Milley was *on the side* of the rioters burning down our cities all last summer.”
Mr Milley recently gave an incendiary monologue at a congressional hearing in which he explained why it was important that military servicemembers understand the roots of white rage and racist violence. Members of the pro-Trump right wing fixated on the incident, claiming that the Trump-appointed decorated veteran exemplified the “weakness” of the “politically correct” military.