An Ontario man is calling out a member of the Trump family for using an image of his young son as part of a political attack on those opposing the American president.
Jeremy Rupke says Donald Trump’s son Eric showed “disrespect” and lack of forethought when he included an image of four-year-old Mason Rupke in a recent social media broadside against Democrats.
Left-leaning politicians have stepped up criticism of the U.S. president in recent days after he told four congresswomen of colour to “go back where they came from,” prompting Eric Trump to liken his father’s rivals to peewee hockey players.
To illustrate a tweet on the subject, Eric Trump used a screenshot taken from a video of Mason playing hockey in his hometown of Barrie, Ont.
Jeremy Rupke fired back, criticizing the president’s son for using Mason’s image to push a political message.
He says that while he doesn’t believe he has the right to insist the image be removed, he found the use of it “distasteful” and needlessly invasive.
“Clearly that is somebody’s child,” Rupke said in a telephone interview. “Maybe he wanted to get more views on his tweet and added pictures so it stands out more, but he could find a stock picture from a distance so it’s not personally involving anybody … Clearly someone in his position could afford to go through the right channels to get content.”
Rupke, who coaches hockey, said he had no idea of his son’s newfound notoriety until Wednesday afternoon when a friend reached out to him on social media.
He said he had no history of discussing politics with this particular friend and was puzzled to see that he was being referred to a post by the president’s son. All became clear, however, when he saw Mason’s face peering back at him from below the tweet sent Wednesday morning.
“Watching the Democrats reminds me of pee-wee hockey — funny, makes zero sense & they can’t get out of their own way,” Eric Trump tweeted before narrowing his focus to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the congresswomen included in his father’s recent headline-grabbing remarks.
“AOC is the gift that keeps on giving — skating circles on the far left and unknowingly taking down her own teammates. Please keep it up. You are guaranteeing 2020.”
Rupke said that once he got over the shock of seeing his son’s image alongside the tweet, he felt obligated to call out what he felt was poor online etiquette.
“Hey @EricTrump maybe don’t use a picture of my kid for your political propaganda,” he tweeted back.
Rupke also pointed out that children playing hockey in Mason’s age bracket are not classified as peewee, a designation the Ontario Minor Hockey Association reserves for players aged 11 and 12.
Rupke said he has not received and is not expecting a response from the president’s son. Eric Trump did not respond to request for comment.
Mason briefly became a viral video sensation when his father recorded him skating at a hockey practice earlier this year.
The video posted online showed Mason working to master skating and providing off-the-cuff commentary to accompany his efforts. His remarks were rarely focused on hockey, but instead touched on a desire for a nap and craving for a meal at McDonald’s.
Rupke included the clip of his son amid the rest of his video content, which largely focuses on hockey-playing tips and techniques.
He said he’s developed a particular distaste for the U.S. president’s brand of politics and added that the younger Trump appeared to be playing from the same book.
“(As a hockey coach) I’m always teaching respect, care compassion, looking after other people and just being an over-all good person,” Rupke said. “I think that (Donald) Trump doesn’t really reflect a lot of the values I try to teach.”
Rupke drew plenty of support on Twitter, with many critiquing the use of Mason’s image.
“If you knew anything about hockey you would realize that this kid is way to (sic) young to be a Pee Wee,” one user tweeted at the president’s son. ‘So what you are reporting is Fake News!”
“He didn’t even pick a kid made in America,” quipped another.
Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press
Three confirmed dead in fiery Alberta crash with semi trucks, passenger vehicles
CEREAL, Alta. — A Saskatchewan man says a well-timed pit stop may have helped him avoid getting caught in a fiery 10-vehicle crash in southeastern Alberta that killed three people.
Dore Germo and his wife left Kelowna, B.C., on Monday after a holiday visiting friends and, after a night in Calgary, were on their way home to Warman, Sask., on Tuesday.
They stopped for gas and a break in Hanna, Alta., about 80 kilometres from where seven passenger vehicles and three semi trucks collided on Highway 9.
The couple could see smoke as they continued east, but they thought it was just a grass fire.
Then they saw flashing lights and heard sirens and a police officer was running down the middle of the road yelling, “Get out!”
Germo says they were directed to a rural side road to get around the crash, and from there they could make out a tanker truck and burned vehicles amid the smoke.
“It was quite a sickening kind of empty feeling once you realized that — yes — those are people just going about their day and travelling somewhere,” Germo said in an interview Wednesday.
“It kind of looked like a bomb had gone off because there were these burnt out vehicles and it was very eerie.”
He said he’s praying for those involved.
“The first thing you think of is those poor families.”
RCMP confirmed Wednesday that three people were found dead at the scene of the crash between the small communities of Chinook and Cereal, about 300 kilometres east of Calgary. Ten people were injured, two critically.
One of the semi trucks that was carrying fuel ignited, causing several vehicles to catch fire, and another truck was carrying butane.
A stretch of Highway 9 was expected to remain closed until about mid-day, while crews clear the collision area and recover dangerous goods in one of the trucks.
The RCMP’s victim services unit is providing support to people involved in the crash.
“The investigation into this collision remains a lengthy process given the nature of the crash scene,” RCMP said in Wednesday’s release. “It is anticipated that it will take several weeks for the collision analyst to complete the investigation.”
— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
The Canadian Press
Military faces calls to train soldiers to identify neo-Nazis, hate-group members
OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is facing calls to train its recruiters and other service members to identify and screen out members of hate groups.
The military is also being accused of failing to take the issue seriously by adopting what several experts say is a wait-and-see approach rather than actively weeding out such individuals.
The criticism follows an internal military report and several high-profile incidents linking some service members to right-wing extremists and hate groups.
That includes an investigation this week into a reservist in Manitoba who is suspected of being a recruiter for a neo-Nazi group.
The Defence Department says the military already uses interviews and background checks to screen recruits for hateful beliefs and behaviour and takes very seriously any reported incidents by current personnel.
But several experts tell The Canadian Press that is not good enough, and that the military must launch a campaign similar to efforts to stamp out sexual misconduct to truly root out extremist beliefs and behaviour.
The Canadian Press
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