New York City public housing tenants who were featured in a video for the Republican National Convention told The New York Times they didn't know their interview would be used to endorse President Donald Trump.
Claudia Perez, Carmen Quiñones, and Manny Martinez were three of four featured tenants in the video, which was an interview with Lynne Patton, head of the New York office of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
—Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2020
The fourth participant told The Times when reached for comment that she did support Trump and knew the purpose of the video.
Quiñones, however, told The Times that the interview was focused on airing frustrations with problems in the housing agency, and the tenants' edited comments offer harsh criticisms of Mayor Bill de Blasio. Despite their frustrations with the Democratic mayor, they told The Times they had no intention of supporting Trump.
"I am not a Trump supporter," Perez told The Times. "I am not a supporter of his racist policies on immigration. I am a first-generation Honduran. It was my people he was sending back."
Patton hit back at the story and Times reporter Matthew Haag on Twitter, where she said "each resident is on unused tape thanking @POTUS for the "RNC platform" to highlight inhumane conditions & improvements made under this Admin," she wrote.
The Times noted that as a government official, Patton is barred by the Hatch Act from using her position to participate in political campaigns.
She said in a subsequent tweet that said "every resident" of New York City Housing Authority "knows that I would never allow the @GOPconvention to air anything with which they felt uncomfortable & showed the draft video - in full - to the resident organizer PRIOR to its airing and was told by them that it was 'amazing' and 'wholly accurate.'"
—🇺🇸 Lynne Patton (@LynnePatton) August 28, 2020
The conflict over the clip is just the latest of Trump's contributions to this week's convention that raised eyebrows including a feature of immigrants who became US citizens in a naturalization process but weren't told the ceremony would be aired as part of the convention.
Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said on Twitter that the ceremony was "so obviously, blatantly, insultingly a Hatch Act violation that it's starting to seem like the Trump administration is going out of its way to find new ways to violate the law."