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Husband Defends Lawyer Accused of Making ‘White Power’ Gesture at Kavanaugh Hearing


Alleged Racist White Power Symbol

An image spread like an electron inferno Tuesday afternoon of a woman seated behind Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh making a gesture some interpreted as a symbol of white supremacy.

The woman, Zina Bash, a Washington, D.C. attorney who has worked as a Kavanaugh law clerk, prepped him for the hearings and been photographed frequently with him, was seen making what appeared to be an “OK” gesture. That symbol has been said by several people to be a sign of white supremacy (or, at least, something highly questionable). But Bash’s husband said Tuesday it was absolutely nothing of the sort.

Bash is the wife of U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas John Bash and he stepped in to defend her:

“The attacks today on my wife are repulsive. Everyone tweeting this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed of themselves. We weren’t even familiar with the hateful symbol being attributed to her for the random way she rested her hand during a long hearing. Zina is Mexican on her mother’s side and Jewish on her father’s side. She was born in Mexico. Her grandparents were Holocaust survivors. We of course have nothing to do with hate groups, which aim to terrorize and demean other people — never have and never would. Some of the Twitter comments have even referred to our baby daughter. I know that there are good folks on both sides of the political divide. I hope that people will clearly condemn this idiotic and sickening accusation.”

Here’s how the accusatory tweets unfolded throughout the afternoon.

Images such as this old one of known white supremacist Richard Spencer making the same symbol have added to the several-years-long debate of whether the symbol is, indeed, one of white supremacy:

In an article from last year, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) disagreed with the legitimacy of the symbol as one of white supremacy, stating back then that suggestions from social media users that the symbol carries racist meaning were just the “latest hoax from members of notorious website 4chan.” Mark Pitcavage, a current ADL researcher had this to say on Twitter: “Out of all the things you should be legitimately concerned about regarding the Senate confirmation hearings in Washington, DC, today for Judge Kavanaugh . . . handshakes and handsigns ought not be among them. Actual serious constitutional issues are at stake.”

Pitcavage further explained the meaning of the symbol: “It began as a 4chan troll effort . . . but it has evolved into a symbol used by the alt right (and, occasionally, other white supremacists), the alt lite, and also various MAGA-type Trump supporters. Most still use it to troll (to ‘own the libs’).”

Others defended Bash or said that the whole thing was getting blown out of proportion. Author J.D. Vance said, “Zina is a friend of mine, and I’ve never heard her utter a racist remark. She was born in Mexico and is raising a beautiful family in her adopted home. Try not to let your lunacy shade into slander of good people.”

Update: The Seth Abramson tweets that were originally embedded above were deleted from his account. This is what they said:

They were replaced with this:

That, too, was deleted. Abramson has more than 530,000 Twitter followers.

Editor’s note: this story was updated after publication with additional information about Zina Bash.

[Image via screen capture from MSNBC]

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.