(WASHINGTON) — Republicans are trying to capitalize off a recent video featuring a South Carolina AFL-CIO leader bashing a piñata bearing the face of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Haley sent out a donation request via Twitter, calling on people to stand with her against what she calls “bullying” from union leaders.
“Stand with me and help fight back now against the bullying of Liberal unions. Donate here,” Haley tweeted along with a link to a fundraising page featuring the video.
And the Republican Governors Association released a one minute video called “Does President Obama Condone This?” linking Obama to the incident. The video features a clip of President Obama from March when he condemned the controversial comments Rush Limbaugh made about Sandra Fluke, a Georgetown law student and contraception activist, inter-spliced with footage of the piñata smashing incident.
“I thought about Malia and Sasha and one of the things I want them to do as they get older is to engage in issues they care about…and I don’t want them attacked,” the clip shows President Obama saying, followed by video of Donna Dewitt, the outgoing S.C. AFL-CIO president, wailing away at the piñata as someone shouts, “Wait till her face comes around and whack her.”
“Or called horrible names because they’re being good citizens,” the clip of Obama continues. “Being a part of a democracy involves argument and disagreements and debate and we want you to be engaged and there’s a way to do it that doesn’t involve you being demeaned and insulted.”
The video ends with the phrase “Does President Obama condone this kind of behavior from union bosses?” emblazoned across the screen as Dewitt continues to pound the Haley piñata.
Dewitt told ABC News Tuesday that there was “no ill intent” behind the incident.
“We’ve been the brunt of her comments now for two years and that’s what the whole thing was. She’s been whacking at us over the last two years,” Dewitt, who has been president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO for the past 16 years and will retire at the end of June, continued. “Anyone that knows me knows there was no ill intent at all. Our folks don’t go to speeches with guns and things like that. We have very loving people in our unions who will take up money for people or a vet. We just heard these comments by the governor for over the two years. They were using a memoir of the last two years I’ve lived under her leadership.”
“Kids use piñatas all the time,” she added.
The piñata bashing incident occurred on Saturday during a state AFL-CIO staff retreat in Columbia, S.C. The video was posted on Sunday but circulated widely on Tuesday.
An AFL-CIO official denounced the actions in the video Tuesday.
“By now many of you have seen the video of the outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO. While it was meant as fun, there is absolutely no place for that kind of joke in a conversation that is extremely serious about how to rebuild our middle class and our country. There’s plenty to talk about in Gov. Haley’s awful record. We do not believe that’s an appropriate joke — working people deserve a better conversation,” Alison Omens, director of media outreach at AFL-CIO, said in an e-mail.
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