South Carolina

Lawmaker’s ‘misleading’ national anthem photo of SC Democrat doesn’t tell full story

SC Democrat Rep. Joe Cunningham during national anthem at USS Charleston ceremony

A photo on social media suggested Rep. Joe Cunningham did not put his hand over his heart during the national anthem at the commissioning of the USS Charleston. Here's the video.
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A photo on social media suggested Rep. Joe Cunningham did not put his hand over his heart during the national anthem at the commissioning of the USS Charleston. Here's the video.

The United States Navy commissioned its newest combat ship, the USS Charleston, on Saturday, with South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and Rep. Joe Cunningham, the state’s new Democrat in the House, on hand for the ceremony.

Video from the military shows the pomp and ceremony befitting the commissioning of the Navy’s new ship in its namesake port of Charleston, South Carolina.

But a photo showed up on social media, shared by South Carolina state house Rep. Lin Bennett, that appears to show Cunningham during the national anthem without his hand on his heart. “What’s wrong with this picture?” Bennett asks.

Video shared by the Navy and the Department of Defense clearly shows Cunningham with his hand on his chest as the band plays The Star Spangled Banner.

Katie Arrington, a Republican who ran against Cunningham and lost last year, commented several times on the Facebook post. “Lin he has no clue..Bless his heart..no clue of the sacrifice and honor the Navy brings to this town and Nation,” Arrington said in one comment.

Bennett told WCSC, which first reported on the post, the photo “isn’t a big deal, I just wanted to make sure his disrespect is known.”

“He was not following protocol,” she said, according to the the TV station. “I have seen the other pictures of his hand over his heart during the Anthem. Yes, this was taken after it was over, but the protocol is that until the Colors are retired or put into stands, you salute or stand with your hand on your heart.”

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Lin Bennett/Facebook

The Charleston Post and Courier called the photo “misleading” after the Charleston Republican shared it on Facebook.

Tyler Jones, a spokesman for Cunningham, told the Post and Courier, “It’s sad but not surprising that our political opponents are resorting to fake news in order to criticize Congressman Cunningham’s successful tenure so far in Congress. These attacks are dishonest, childish and downright desperate.”

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US Navy/YouTube

Despite the criticism, Bennett’s post was still on Facebook Tuesday afternoon.

Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.
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