As of Tuesday, July 17, 2018
During the Republican Party’s convention last weekend in Pocatello, Idaho State University students displayed signs of protest.
“This isn’t left or right, it’s life or death,” read one. “Ban assault weapons now.”
“The Second Amendment says we have a right to bear arms, not to bear artillery,” read another. “Gun control!”
Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-White Bird) posted a photograph of herself with an arm around one of the protesters to her political campaign Facebook page.
“Idaho State University students peacefully protesting our Republican convention,” Giddings stated in her Facebook post. “Do you think I should show these girls the empty 30 mm shell I have in the truck?”
Some of the first responses to her post mistook Giddings’ words for a threat against the protesters, and backlash ensued.
In a tweet shortly before 11 a.m. Pacific Time last Friday, June 29, a Buzzfeed correspondent took note of Giddings’ post. An hour later, Chelsea Clinton — daughter of President Bill Clinton and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton — retweeted a screenshot of Giddings’ post to her 2.1 million Twitter followers.
By Monday morning, July 2, Clinton’s tweet had drawn nearly 20,000 Twitter interactions and Giddings’ original post had been reshared more than 2,000 times on Facebook. Before 10 a.m. Monday, Giddings’ original post had also drawn more than 3,000 one-click responses (including 2,600 “Angry,” 200 “Wow” and 200 “Like” clicks) as well as 4,700 comments.
Some who commented on the original post declared they would support a write-in candidate in the general election this November, in which Giddings is running unopposed. In 2016, during which she won her District 7 seat by more than 8,000 votes, Giddings was opposed in the general election by Jessica Chilcott (D-Sandpoint). On July 2, Chilcott told the Free Press she was aware of Giddings’ post, but was not aware of efforts to organize a write-in campaign.
The Free Press sought additional information from Giddings via e-mail June 29, and Giddings informed the newspaper the following Monday morning she would tell “the real story behind her controversial post” July 3 on the “2AA YouTube Channel,” which is online:
The 2AA YouTube Channel is affiliated with the “2nd Amendment Activist” Facebook page, facebook.com/2ndAmendmentActivist, which self-describes as a Boise-based consulting agency run by Gregg Pruett of Pocatello.
Inside Holt Arena, the GOP convention proceeded with resolutions and platform changes, presentations on topics such as religious liberty and gun rights, and a speech by retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North. The Lewiston Tribune printed Associated Press reports on the convention June 29, June 30 and July 1.