The office of Republican Sen. David Perdue is pushing back against claims that the Georgia senator “snatched” the phone of a Democratic Socialist student while visiting the campus of Georgia Tech last weekend.
Perdue’s spokeswoman pointed to an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article published Monday which cites the student admitting that he asked the senator for a picture and also that the “footage was edited to stitch together two different videos,” although the student told the outlet he did not remove any of the encounter with Perdue.
Perdue’s team told The Daily Caller that Senator Perdue “frequently takes selfies with constituents” and that someone’s phone in the senator’s hand was “nothing out of the ordinary.” In fact, one such selfie was posted to his Facebook page. The senator also, according to the AJC piece, answered questions from other students from the same group before this encounter.
From the AJC account:
The latter, Matt Wolfsen – whose social media postings had previously landed him on Tech’s radar – said he and a friend had asked Perdue about climate change minutes before the Kemp confrontation. The senator had been answering their questions, Wolfsen said, until he noticed they were recording him. The Republican asked them to stop recording, which they did.
Soon after, the student who shot the video approached Perdue with two friends and asked the senator to pose with them for a photo, with the thought that he could ask his Kemp question and record the encounter. Perdue, he said, asked for his phone to take a selfie, which the student refused to hand over.
“And then I started recording,” the student said. That’s when Perdue “snatched my phone with the intent of stopping me from recording,” he added.
Except, Perdue’s office disputes the senator’s intent.
“Senator Perdue was asked to take a picture,” a Perdue spokeswoman told The Daily Caller in an email. “Senator Perdue enjoys taking selfies and has done so with countless constituents. He was under the impression that he was about take another selfie. When Senator Perdue realized that this student did not want a selfie, he returned the phone and moved on. Sadly, Democrats are spreading a lot of misinformation.”
Georgia College Republican chairwoman Kylie Harrod called the incident a “set-up.”
Sen. Perdue took dozens of selfies with @GACRs and Tech fans on Saturday. I know – I was there. It’s pretty clear that the liberal student hit record before handing Sen. Perdue his phone. This was a set-up – and a continuation of Abrams’ scheme to deliberately misinform voters. https://t.co/X88BQoBEPe
— Kylie Harrod (@KylieHarrod) October 15, 2018
“It’s [part of] the escalation in groups attempting to have these confrontations with elected officials and candidates,” the Perdue spokeswoman told The DC. “Most importantly, these groups are trying to capture it on video and spin it to fit their own narrative.”