Ex-White House interpreter, Heather Mewshaw, says she was ‘canceled’ for supporting Trump
The White House sign-language interpreter who was outed as a supporter of former President Donald Trump said Sunday that she hadn’t been offered a return engagement since — and blasted critics who attacked her credibility and professionalism.
Heather Mewshaw, who began working as an independent contractor for the White House last year, said the Biden administration hasn’t contacted her in the wake of a Time magazine report that revealed she translated speeches for conservative social media groups.
“The goal of my activity — at the White House or with Hands of Liberty — is that it’s all about access,” Mewshaw told The Post.
“The thing is, I was canceled and humiliated publicly and it was unjust and unfair.”
Mewshaw, a 41-year-old married mother of four from Glen Burnie, Md., also said she’s been “harassed” and “intimidated” online for providing American Sign Language translation for the Hands of Liberty Facebook group and its defunct predecessor, Right Side ASL.
Those videos include one featuring former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani that’s titled “What Really Happened On January 6th?” — the day of the deadly storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters — and another, since removed, that featured controversial Dr. Stella Immanuel, who has promoted treating COVID-19 with hydroxychloroquine, which the FDA has banned for that purpose.
Mewshaw said she doesn’t necessarily agree with everything she translates, but does the volunteer work in response to requests from people who want to see speeches by Republican politicians and other conservative figures translated into ASL.
Her critics, Mewshaw said, “don’t want this content to be interpreted because they don’t believe in it.”
“Deaf people just want a chance to decide for themself what information is out there,” she said.
Mewshaw also claimed there’s a “double-standard” for conservative ASL interpreters and pointed to remarks last year by David Cowan, who translated speeches by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and other GOP state officials after attracting attention for signing a Beyonce song at the 2019 Atlanta Pride festival.
“To me, it doesn’t matter — Democrat or Republican, gay or straight. I’m there to provide a service and deliver a message to deaf people,” Cowan told Atlanta magazine.
Although she acknowledged being a Trump supporter, Mewshaw said she paid “about $20” to buy a red “Keep America Great” hat for a video titled “Thank You President Trump from the Right Side ASL Team!” that was posted the same day President Biden was inaugurated last month.
Mewshaw said she was upset by images posted online that falsely show her wearing the hat during White House press secretary Jen Psaki’s Jan. 25 briefing.
That marked the first and only time she was hired by the Biden administration after interpreting five briefings for the Trump administration between Nov. 19 and Dec. 15.
Other attacks on Mewshaw included a Change.org petition that’s garnered nearly 9,000 signatures and a since-deleted tweet by deaf model and actor Nyle DiMarco, who wrote, “Imagine what harm she could cause..,literally holding the message in her hands.”
University of North Carolina education professor Jon Henner, who’s said it “would be problematic” for Mewshaw to continue working for the White House, told The Post that “I personally wasn’t interested in cancelling her.”
“The past couple of weeks have shown a lot of discussion on the topic about if signed language interpreters can really ‘play for both teams’ so to speak, especially if they have strong feelings either way,” Henner wrote in an email Sunday.
“Regarding Mewshaw, it’s unfortunate that she did not predict the reaction that she would get from many people in the community given her previous interpreting choices.”
A White House spokesman declined to comment beyond referring to an earlier, prepared statement that said, “The President and this administration have made a commitment to having an ASL interpreter at every press briefing and are working to follow through on that commitment every single day.”
DiMarco’s website is suspended and an email seeking comment from the Nyle DiMarco Foundation wasn’t immediately returned.
From the New York Post
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