Former Republican Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska ignited controversy on social media by using a phrase often attributed to Neo-Nazis while praising a speech by President Donald Trump. Further reporting indicated that Palin's use of the phrase was likely not intentional -- the language appeared in an article she shared from a conservative outlet.
On July 7, Palin shared a Young Conservatives article on social media that offered praise for a July 6 speech Trump made in Warsaw, Poland.
During that speech, in which the president spoke on Western values, he declared "We must work together to confront forces that threaten over time to undermine our values and erase the bonds of culture, faith, and tradition."
Palin's tweet stated "Trump Gives Speech to the People of Poland, Says 14 Words That Leave Americans Stunned."
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The former Alaskan governor's use of the phrase "14 words" set off a firestorm across social media, with critics pointing out that the phrase is a popular slogan among Neo-Nazis and white supremacists. The so-called 14 words are "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children."
Social media users blasted Palin for the tweet, noting that the Young Conservatives article did not contain a Trump line that amounted to 14 words, Real Progressive Front reports.
"So we're not even hiding it at this point, are we?" wrote on Twitter user. "There is no 14-word sentence or phrase in the linked transcript."
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"I see Sarah Palin accidentally used the airhorn instead of the dog-whistle," wrote another Twitter user.
"This was either poorly worded or just stupid," wrote another social media user. "Or both."
Some social media users offered a backhanded defense of the former Alaskan governor.
"I don't think the Palin '14 Words' tweet is racist, mainly because I doubt she's smart enough to use coded messaging," concluded a Twitter user.
Palin's use of the phrase "14 words" was possibly not her deliberate choice, but rather a byproduct of sharing the article. When an article is shared on social media, the original website generates a title for the user's Facebook or Twitter message. It was the Young Conservatives code for the article that contained the phrase rather than it's actual article headline.
In all likelihood, Palin shared the piece, which was written by Breitbart contributor Warner Todd Huston, and it generated the title on her social media.
Young Conservatives CEO Josh Riddle blasted any suggestion that the piece's coding had hidden a Neo-Nazi phrase.
"This is the 14-word quote the social media post is referencing: 'Let us all fight like the Poles,'" Riddle told the Daily Beast. "'For family, freedom, for country, for God.'"
Riddle added "About 2 minutes of research would have revealed how there is a long history of our site (and countless others) using word counts in social media headlines. To jump to the conclusion... is slanderous, dishonest, lazy, and very unprofessional and harmful to our business."