UPDATE: This story has been updated to make clear that Young Conservatives did not intend to imply a connection to white supremacism; and to reflect the comment at bottom provided by Young Conservatives CEO Josh Riddle. We regret any implication to the contrary.
Sarah Palin on Friday dropped what many perceived to be a neo-Nazi reference while promoting a right-wing blog post praising President Trump.
“Trump Gives Speech to the People of Poland, Says 14 Words That Leave Americans Stunned,” the caption read on both Palin's Facebook and Twitter accounts. The text of the tweet is the caption to a Young Conservatives article applauding Trump’s Poland speech, entitled, “While Overseas Trump Hails Populist Poland, Declares West Must ‘Defend Civilization’ and ‘Faith.’”
The phrase “Fourteen Words,” or the number 14 itself, is often used by neo-Nazis as a shorthand reference to the white-supremacist slogan: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
The Young Conservatives post, published on Thursday, did not specifically cite any 14-word sentences from Trump’s remarks—in fact, the crux of the article is a 24-word quote: “We must work together to confront forces that threaten over time to undermine our values and erase the bonds of culture, faith, and tradition”—leading many to speculate that Palin’s account was openly dog-whistling racists.
The only 14-word sentences in the article are located in the middle of block quotes or begins a string of questions. For example: “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost?” and “Our freedom and our civilization depend on these bonds of history, culture, and memory” and “We must stand united against these shared enemies to rip them of their territory.” None of those three were highlighted in any way that would explain the Palin caption.
Palin did not immediately return requests for comment on the matter—and her Facebook disclaimer notes that only posts signed “-SP” are personally hers—but the answer for the social-media captions actually lies in the Young Conservative website’s backend.
While the headline and the article’s URL make no mention of “14 words,” one astute Twitter user pointed out that the manually selected Facebook caption—which automatically comes up when a user clicks the “Share” button on YoungCon’s website—contains the number.
And those familiar with Sarah Palin’s social-media habits know that her Facebook musings automatically post to her Twitter, hence the perceived neo-Nazi caption being shared on multiple platforms.
Among Huston’s greatest hits: blaming the 2014 UC Santa Barbara mass shooting on “corrupt college culture,” and identifying the wrong Loretta Lynch while attempting to attack President Obama’s attorney general selection.
Following publication of this article, Young Conservatives CEO Josh Riddle sent the following statement to The Daily Beast:
“This is the 14-word quote the social media post is referencing: ‘Let us all fight like the Poles. For family, freedom, for country, for God.’
“About 2 minutes of research would have revealed how there is a long history of our site (and countless others) using word counts in social media headlines. To jump to the conclusion in your article is slanderous, dishonest, lazy, and very unprofessional and harmful to our business.”