In the alternate universe that includes one of the White House's favorite news sources, Breitbart News, The Statue of Liberty is now an “attack” on the alt-right.
Breitbart’s finance and economics editor John Carney caused a firestorm on Twitter Thursday when he shared an image of Vogue magazine’s new September Issue cover featuring actress Jennifer Lawrence standing in front of the Statue of Liberty.
“We're going to have to create a full #MAGA shadow cultural industry because the Opposition Media can't even do fashion without attacking us,” Carney wrote to his more than 60,000 followers. Notably, that tweet has been replied to more than 1,000 times yet only has a handful of likes or retweets.
Carney’s outrage stems from last week’s White House press briefing debate between Trump adviser Stephen Miller and CNN’s Jim Acosta. Pushing back against the administration’s new policy proposal that aims to cut even legal immigration in half, Acosta argued, “The Statue of Liberty says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.’ It doesn't say anything about speaking English or being able to be a computer programmer.”
Those comments set Miller off on an angry tirade in which he suggested that the Emma Lazarus poem on the statue was “added later” and therefore doesn’t really count. (The poem was written two years before Lady Liberty was erected in a contest to fund the statue.) He accused Acosta, whose family immigrated from Cuba, of having a “cosmopolitan bias,” adding, “That is one of the most outrageous, insulting, ignorant, and foolish things you’ve ever said.”
As the backlash to Carney’s tweet continued to roll in Thursday afternoon, he tweeted, “The reaction by leftists to my criticism of Vogue’s cover is all the proof you need about its political content.” And then, “If you want the Statue of Liberty to be a non-partisan symbol of America, don't make her central to your case against immigration reform.”
In a response to Carney, Vogue’s director of communications, Zara Rahim, quickly clarified that the September issue—made famous in the 2009 documentary The September Issue—is labored and obsessed over for months. The cover photo was shot in June, long before the Statue of Liberty somehow became an anti-Trump symbol.
“I'm sorry but I refuse to participate further in a dialogue that perverts the Statue of Liberty,” Rahim added in a subsequent tweet.
Meanwhile, Carney continued to push his case to anyone who would listen, including in this tweet in response to Joseph Lawler, a writer for the conservative Washington Examiner website, who simply wanted to know, “Where is the attack here…?”
Carney has since deleted that tweet.
As for Jennifer Lawrence, she declined, through a publicist, to comment on the record about Carney's response to her appearance on the cover. Her camp did not exactly seem surprised by the reaction, however, given how the actress has been treated by right-wing media in the past.
Lawrence has been speaking out against Trump since before he announced his presidential campaign.
“My view on the election is pretty cut-and-dried: If Donald Trump is president of the United States, it will be the end of the world,” she told Vogue, fittingly, in November 2015. “And he’s also the best thing to happen to the Democrats ever.”