According to a new report in The New York Times, three tenants of public housing in New York City indicate that they were essentially manipulated into appearing in a video that was broadcast during the Republican National Convention (RNC) this week. The video features discussions with the tenants about the poor living conditions at public housing in New York City, which the Republican Party wanted to use as political leverage against the city’s Democratic leader, Mayor Bill de Blasio. Lynne Patton, who’s been associated with the Trump family so closely that she helped plan Eric Trump’s wedding, currently leads the New York office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and was largely responsible for the video.
NYC tenants say they were tricked into appearing in an RNC video.
"I am not a Trump supporter," one of the tenants said, adding that she was furious that her interview with a government official was used for the convention.https://t.co/ijFqokg43E
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) August 29, 2020
Patton conducted the hours of interviews with a total of four tenants, footage of which was edited down into the two minute montage that emerged during the GOP convention. Apparently, at the conclusion of the interviews, participants were informed that the footage was for the Republican Party, but according to three of the subjects, they were not immediately informed that the footage would air at the convention.
One of the tenants who appears in the video, a woman named Claudia Perez, told the Times that she “was furious about being tricked into appearing in a video shown at the R.N.C.,” as the outlet summarizes. She added:
‘I am not a Trump supporter. I am not a supporter of his racist policies on immigration. I am a first-generation Honduran. It was my people he was sending back.’
Perez and the other tenants in the video “raised concerns about conditions in the housing authority’s buildings, praised Mr. Trump’s record on public housing and attacked Mr. de Blasio’s,” as the Times explains. Perez noted that she “stood by her criticism of the authority,” as the Times puts it, but that didn’t mean that she was onboard with her sentiments being shared at the GOP convention anyway.
Besides Perez, the video includes tenants named Carmen Quiñones and Manny Martinez, the latter of whom was recruited for the conversation “with little notice,” the Times explains, but Martinez insisted that his comments were “not an endorsement of Trump.” Quiñones indicated that it dawned on her after the interviews began that the conversations were meant for the GOP’s political purposes. The fourth tenant, a woman named Judy Smith, “said she was a Trump backer and knew the purpose of the video,” according to the Times. In the video itself, Smith made unfounded allegations that undocumented immigrants had been given preferential treatment in the allotment of public housing space in New York City, a claim which there’s no evidence for.
Patton, for her part, had a bizarre response to questioning when asked about the issue by the Times. She seemed to pull claims out of thin air about how the video subjects were supposedly on the Trump side after all — as the Times summarizes, Patton claimed to have “spoken with all four tenants on Friday,” who claimed that they were “upset” with the manner in which the Times was supposedly “twisting their words.” In reality, Quiñones said that she’d spoken to Patton and made clear that she was fine with the publication’s characterization of the situation, and Perez and Martinez said they hadn’t spoken with Patton on Friday at all.