They said they didn’t know the video would air at the RNC
Three New York City tenants who were featured in a video at the Republican National Convention said they had no idea the interview — led by Lynne Patton, the Trump-appointed head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development that includes NYC — would appear in a video during the RNC and said that they do not support President Trump.
Patton asked four residents to be interviewed about conditions in their buildings, all of which have been in poor standing, and three of the four said they were not aware this interview would be played at a national level, according to the New York Times.
The four volunteered after Patton asked the New York City Housing Authority, the nation’s largest, if she could interview residents and conducted the four-hour discussion, which was then turned into a two-minute clip that aired during Thursday night’s RNC to bash Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I am not a Trump supporter,” Claudia Perez, one of the tenants in the video, told the New York Times. “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 says she stands by her criticism of the New York mayor, but is “furious about being tricked into appearing in a video shown at the R.N.C.”
Carmen Quiñones and Manny Martinez who were also seen on the video also said they were misled about the video and do not support Trump. The fourth, Judy Smith, said she did support Trump and was happy to have the national spotlight at the convention.
NEW: Three NYC public housing tenants said they were tricked into appearing in a Republican National Convention video. Lynne Patton, a HUD official, interviewed them for the video, which they thought would be used to highlight issues in public housing. https://t.co/baZDhVX9BZ
— Matthew Haag (@matthewhaag) August 28, 2020
Under the Hatch Act, Patton is barred from using her government position (head of Region II of the Department of Housing and Urban Development) to engage in political activities (promote Trump’s re-election campaign), though she later told the Times that the video had been vetted and cleared for Hatch Act violations by the White House.
Tim Murtagh, a spokesman for the Trump campaign, said the video was legitimate and that all participants understood the purpose of the video. “All interview subjects were fully aware of the purpose of the interviews,” he said. “Lynne Patton was acting in her own personal capacity.”
Patton issued a public statement via Twitter saying all four residents knew what the intention of the video was going to be “Every resident of @NYCHA knows that I would never allow the @GOPconvention to air anything with which they felt uncomfortable & showed the draft video – in full – to the resident organizer PRIOR to its airing and was told by them that it was ‘amazing’ and ‘wholly accurate,'” she wrote.
The video talks about the disappointment each resident feels about public housing in New York City and though some are self-reported “lifelong Democrats,” they have seen an “influx of cash” during the Trump administration.