Washington Nationals pitcher and World Series MVP winner Stephen Strasburg tweeted for the first time in almost 18 months just to get one message clear—he did not purposely “snub” President Donald Trump amid the controversy on social media.
The controversy that broke Strasburg’s silence was one that accused him of snubbing the president on stage during a team celebration when President Trump reached out to him for a handshake at the White House on Monday, Nov. 4.
The controversial video that had been circulating on Twitter caught the World Series MVP winner’s attention was posted by Rudy Gersten.
Gersten, a Twitter user, posted a video captioned “Strasburg left Trump hanging” followed by a laughing emoji on Monday.
Strasburg shot back with a simple “#FakeNews” above a retweeted video of Gersten’s original three hours later.
Minutes after his “fake news” video, Gersten uploaded a short clip of the World Series MVP shaking President Trump’s hand, where the president is mostly out of frame in the shot.
Gersten then explained in frustration on Twitter that although he had said that “[Strasburg] left [Trump] hanging,” he meant it as a joke and “that it’s become a national story” was not what he had expected.
But USA Today didn’t buy Gersten’s excuse.
“The video in the viral tweet cut off shortly before Strasburg returned to shake hands with President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump … The video was deceptively trimmed,” the news outlet said in a fact-check report.
“What a load of [expletive]. This is what I’m dealing with folks. I edited nothing,” Gersten fumed in a tweet after been called out by a number of news outlets and a Twitter user for allegedly “editing” the video. “It was accidental but funny. I also tweeted them shaking hands and acknowledged immediately in the replies they shook. A total of 7 minutes between my tweets. [expletive].”
BizPacReview contributor Vivek Saxena too pointed out, “Fake news is still fake news, and what he originally shared was fake news.”
“Why is that such a bad thing?” Saxena wrote. “Because unintelligent, low-information people lack the intellectual capability to differentiate fake news from real news.”
The scene in question that caused the entire misunderstanding would have been innocent if the entire length was played instead of just a sneaky segment, a Twitter user said.
In the original video, Strasburg is seen turning away from the podium, proceeds to embrace Nationals manager Davey Martinez instead of the president—whom he had not noticed—with his hand stretched out waiting for a handshake.
A Twitter user noted that the segment that was not in the video is the culprit behind the entire controversy.
“That might look like a snub, but that story is undermined by a few seconds of video left out by many Twitter users, in which Strasburg shakes Trump’s hand,” one Twitter user pointed out. “Maybe next time leave the video rolling a little longer” followed by the hashtag “#fakenews.”