- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 27, 2018

That video of Parkland student Emma Gonzalez ripping up the Constitution turned out to be fake, but she still managed to rile critics with her decision to wear a Cuban flag on her sleeve during her speech at the March for Our Lives.

Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, came under fire after his campaign posted a meme Sunday on Facebook showing the 18-year-old Gonzalez with the flag patch on her jacket sleeve at the Saturday gun-control rally in Washington, D.C.

Accused in a comment of “quite literally attacking a child in hopes of protecting guns,” his team responded, “Nah, just pointing out the irony of someone wearing a communist flag while advocating for gun control.”

Critics have pointed out that the communist nation has long banned private gun ownership.

In a fact-check, Snopes verified that she did wear a Cuban flag patch as she addressed the crowd at the Saturday gun-control rally in D.C., but described the criticism as “another seeming attempt to discredit mass school shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez.”

Her defenders pointed out that her father immigrated from Cuba and said she was showing pride in her ancestry.

CNN’s Jim Acosta said she was “honoring her Cuban heritage,” while the Miami New Times compared her to Cuban immigrants who waved the flag after dictator Fidel Castro died in 2016.

“Moreover, the underlying notion that Gonzalez’s flag-patch represented support for the Castro regime is insane,” the Miami New Times said in a Monday post. “Yet other conservative commentators have tried to link Gonzalez to Cuban communism outright.”

Among those was Newsmax’s John Cardillo, who said she wore the flag “in support of an oppressive communist regime.”

The Conservative Tribune’s Benjamin Arie said she wore the flag on her right shoulder, “exactly where the American flag normally is worn.”

“There’s a deep and sickening irony to replacing the U.S. flag with the symbol of a communist, tyrannical country that has been ruled by dictatorship for 60 years … while essentially telling Americans to give up their gun rights,” he said.

Ms. Gonzalez remained silent and cried for six minutes and 20 seconds on stage to honor the 17 students and faculty killed in the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

A Teen Vogue video showing her ripping up a copy of a target went viral after it was doctored and the target replaced with an image the Constitution. Politifact gave the edited video a rating of “pants on fire.”

Cuban-American author Andres Rivero praised her speech, in which she remained silent and cried for six minutes and 20 seconds to honor those killed in the Feb. 14 school shooting, but said he hoped she would also “cry for the thousands of Cubans killed by Fidel Castro.”

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