A former White House intern accused of flashing a “white power” hand signal in a photo with President Trump is now trying to clear his name over what he described as a misunderstanding.
Multiple news outlets reported Friday that Jack Breuer allegedly made the gesture while posing for a group photo with the president. Mr. Breuer is pictured holding up three outstretched fingers with his thumb and forefinger forming a circle, while his fellow interns and the president himself are giving a thumbs-up.
The hand gesture, commonly known as the “OK” symbol, has reportedly been adopted by white nationalists like Richard Spencer as denoting “White Power,” with the three fingers representing the “W” and the circle connected to the wrist forming a “P.” The Anti-Defamation League said in May that the hand sign “is not a hate symbol,” and that the racist interpretation originated as a hoax by alt-right circles on the website 4chan in an effort to expose the left’s “lunacy” in finding racism where it doesn’t exist.
Mr. Breuer told The Daily Caller on Friday that he was simply mimicking Mr. Trump’s signature “OK” hand sign and that he has no affiliation with white supremacist groups.
“In some of our intern pictures, I emulated the OK sign the President sometimes makes. That was foolish,” he said. “I should have listened more closely to the commander in chief and given the thumbs-up.
“I’m proud of my Jewish heritage and strongly reject the hateful views associated with racist white power organizations. I would never make common cause with them,” he added.
Mr. Breuer worked for Stephen Miller, the president’s senior adviser for policy, for four months starting in September, according to the Daily Mail, which first reported the story.
A fellow intern, who requested anonymity, told the outlet that “Jack’s a good kid” who was “probably doing it as a joke.”