This video of Puerto Rican Republican committeewoman Zoraida Fonalledas approaching the podium at Tuesday's convention proceedings and seemingly being heckled by a bunch of xenophobes in cowboy hats has been making the rounds on the internet today and earning buckets of condemnation from sanctimonious liberals all too happy to conclude that the GOP, as ever, is the party of racists and bigots.
Not knowing what preceded the pandemonium, it's an upsetting clip. But Univision News of all places, provides valuable context:
Fonalledas took the podium just as a controversy was breaking out on the floor. Allies of libertarian Republican presidential candidate were furious at Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for calling a vote to unseat delegates committed to Paul.
Right as Fonalledas began to speak (in accented English), some started chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
“The gentelady from Puerto Rico has her report … Please give her the respect,” Priebus said after the chanting died down.
Harper’s covered the incident in a post titled “A Troubling Incident on the Convention Floor”:
A sea of twentysomething bowties and cowboy hats morphing into frat bros apparently shrieking over (or at) a Latina. RNC chairman Reince Priebus quickly stepped up and asked for order and respect for the speaker, suggesting that, yeah, what we had just seen might well have been an ugly outburst of nativism.
The story quickly caught fire in Latino and mainstream outlets alike.
That interpretation would fit nicely into the narrative of the Republicans problems appealing to Latinos. But there’s just one problem: that’s not what happened.
Allies of Paul were chanting “seat them now” and “boo,” preventing business from proceeding before Fonalledas took the podium. So Romney delegates decided to drown out the Paul supporters with their own chants of “U-S-A! U-S-A!”
Ask yourself: why would delegates who conceivably supported the actions of Priebus and the RNC — of which Fonalledas is a member — try to drown out their own allies with a “U-S-A!” chant? I saw the chaos develop myself here in Tampa and I didn’t think for a second that delegates were going nativist on the Puerto Rican official...
The thing is, with 90 second YouTube videos like these that go viral overnight, no smug liberal is going to take the time to research what was really going on here. And watched on its own, this is a damning, and damaging, clip.