WH calls faux interpreter at Mandela event a distraction and a 'shame'

 

McClatchy Washington Bureau

The White House says it didn't have security concerns with an apparently fake sign language interpreter -- now immortalized on Twitter as #fakeinterpreter -- who stood next to President Obama Tuesday in Johannesburg as he eulogized Nelson Mandela.

Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest referred reporters' questions about security to the Secret Service and questions about the interpreter to the South African government. But he said it was a "shame" that the service celebrating Mandela "has gotten distracted by this and a few other issues that are far less important than the legacy of Nelson Mandela."

When a reporter asked whether it would've been a problem had the presumably faux interpreter translated Obama's remarks "into another language incorrectly," Earnest noted it was a hard question to asnwer.

"Maybe he was translated incorrectly in some language in his speech and we don't know about it. That possibility does exist," Earnest said, "Secondly, it's not clear to me that this person translated the president at all. He apparently was not translating him into anything, but was enjoying the opportunity to be on the stage."

Earnest added, that Obama delivered what he called "some very powerful remarks about the personal impact that President Mandela had on his own life and his own commitment to public service."

"It would be a shame," he said, "if a distraction about an individual who's on stage, in any way detracted from the importance of that event and the importance of President Mandela's legacy."

 

Read more Politics Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  • Humane Society finances opponents of right-to-farm

    The Humane Society of the United States has contributed $375,000 to an effort to defeat a Missouri ballot measure creating a constitutional right to farm.

  •  
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, talks with reporters about the border crisis, veterans' health care, and future funding, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014. House Republicans and Senate Democrats are at an impasse on dealing with tens of thousands of young migrants showing up at the southern border, leaving any solution unclear with Congress' annual August recess looming.

    Central American leaders convening at White House

    President Barack Obama is summoning Central American leaders to the White House to discuss the influx of young immigrants from their countries to the U.S., hoping to show presidential action even as Congress remains deeply split over proposals to stem the crisis on the border.

  • White House: Obama offers Netherlands condolences

    President Barack Obama and Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte (RUH'-tuh) are in agreement that Russia is still working to destabilize Ukraine.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category