The truth about my photo of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas volunteering for Wreaths Across America
My viral photo needs clarification for the veterans and Gold Star families at Arlington National Cemetary
I tweeted the photo below of myself with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as we were volunteering to lay Christmas wreaths on the gravestones at Arlington National Cemetary on Saturday.
This led to a firestorm of stories in media outlets and on social media which made various false assumptions about how I got this photo. I don’t want the veterans or Gold Star families to believe the lies, so I’m giving you the full backstory.
But before I give you all the details about the context of my photo with Justice Thomas, I ask that you first watch this video — below — that I made about Wreaths Across America this weekend.
You can try to spot Justice Thomas (look behind me at the beginning and then later), but more importantly, you’ll see the real story of the depth of grief, respect and honor for our veterans and those who gave their lives for our nation. This is why we both volunteer. CLICK BELOW TO WATCH:
Did I “catch” Justice Thomas in secret?
No. We were in the same group that is organized every year by a veteran named Frank (eagle eyes already found the name tag on our coats and heard me call out to him in the video.)
Every December since 2014, I have volunteered in this group to place the wreaths in Section 60 of Arlington. Wreaths Across America organizes volunteers and donors in order to put 259,000 wreaths on the graves of veterans and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country.
The only people I’ve seen figure out who Justice Thomas really is during these events are the Gold Star family members he talks to honor and support them privately.
Know that his top-notch security detail was there and blended in well with the crowds.
Did he have a journalist post a photo of him for attention?
No. He doesn’t know I posted the photo. He doesn’t know that it went viral in news stories.
I have posted other photos of Justice Thomas with our group over the years, but no one recognized him. Here’s one from 2016. He’s fourth from left in the green coat. I’m fourth from the right in the white hat.
In 2017, I even tweeted his name, but no one picked up on it.
Did he “find a camera” for media coverage?
I’ve never seen him do a media interview or talk ON THE RECORD to the many reporters who are at Arlington for Wreaths Across America. If he wanted attention, he could go to the national TV outlets that are all over the cemetery. The “camera” is just my iPhone.
If you have a question I missed in this story, ask here:
Was Justice Thomas “spotted” and exposed?
Nope. His wife Ginni took the photo of me, and then I took a photo of them. I didn’t ask permission to post the photo, but he’s not paying attention to the media.
He’s fairly unrecognizable in a winter hat and coat but others have noticed him. See this woman’s lovely recollection of him in the past:
Did he do this for attention?
He does not know I posted his photo. I have other photos with him that I have kept private.
After all these years on the bench, he doesn’t care about his media coverage. He’s a principled man who tries to stay out of the spotlight. He doesn’t hang out at the Washington elite gatherings. This is a photo I took years ago of him talking with a Gold Star mother.
Did I post this photo to promote him?
I decided on a whim to post this photo of us on Twitter and didn’t expect it to go viral. I promote Wreaths Across America on social media every year to encourage others to volunteer and donate to buy all the greens. Feel free to go back to my accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and you’ll find annual posts about the charity.
I was more clear about his name this time, however, partly because it infuriates me that there are still protesters outside the Thomases’ home (and all the other conservative justices). I wanted people to see what an honorable, humble man he is. He also is really funny. And as you can see, he has a big, warm smile.
Thomas has devoted his life to service to the country and devotion to upholding the Constitution in the justice system. Ninety percent of the response to my photo has been positive.
But the ten percent is from the left that had demonized him since he was first nominated to the bench. I’m sure it had nothing to do with his being a black conservative. Nothing at all.
Did he and his wife plan an insurrection?
I’m putting my answer about Ginni Thomas behind the paywall so it doesn’t get taken out of context and spread around the internet.
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