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Elizabeth Warren 2020: senator responds to cougar smear with perfect clapback

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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There’s a smear campaign against the presidential hopeful that alleges that she has repeatedly sought the services of a male escort. Today, Warren responded for the first time with an expertly deployed clapback.

Loath as we are to give airtime to conspiracy theorists, especially right wing ones, this story is too good for us not to share. Buckle up, folks. This one is a doozy.

Let’s set the scene for you. Far-right activist Jacob Wohl, whose own Wikipedia page describes him as a “fraudster” and “internet troll”, has made a name for himself by spreading rumours and conspiracy theories about key members of the Democratic party. His biggest claim to fame, such as it is, was when he said that Senator Kamala Harris isn’t an American citizen because her parents were not citizens when she was born. This is false – Harris was born in California, and therefore has automatic citizenship.

His latest target? Senator Elizabeth Warren. Wohl, alongside another right-wing troll Jack Burkman, held a press conference on 3 October to unveil their theory that the senator and presidential hopeful had been employing the services of Kelvin Whelly, an ex-Marine male escort, for the past year. Alongside the press conference, Wohl erected a billboard that read: Elizabeth Warren Cougar? (Warren is 70 and married, while Whelly is 25.) 

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The conspiracy theory was barely a few hours old before Warren responded with one of the most expertly curated clapbacks in the history of political mud-slinging.

“It’s always a good day to be reminded that I got where I am because a great education was available for $50 a semester at the University of Houston (go Cougars!),” she tweeted. “We need to cancel student debt and make college free for everyone who wants it.”

Either Wohl didn’t do his homework or he wilfully ignored the fact that Warren’s college mascot was a cougar, but this really is one of the funniest self-owns we’ve ever seen.

And the laughs keep coming: according to reporter Will Sommer, only about two dozen people turned up to Wohl’s press conference, many of them tourists who just “swung by to see the show”. Many of them even posed jokingly with the Elizabeth Warren Cougar? billboard.

Sommer reported that Wohl’s statements were often drowned out by “hecklers and a car stereo”. “Wohl and Burkman are trying to look really serious but their fake Warren accuser keeps cracking up as he reads his statement,” Sommer added. “They don’t look thrilled.”

Then, Whelly removed his shirt to showcase a scar on his back, which he alleged that Warren had inflicted upon him during sex. But on Whelly’s own Instagram page he had revealed that the scar came from when he “hit [his] back with a chain trying to take down a swing”. (In this same Instagram post, it was revealed that Whelly has a tattoo of the logo from the 2002 motion picture xXx starring Vin Diesel, so that’s something.)

Between this and Warren’s perfectly calibrated response, which managed to promote her presidential platform of universal free college education while also being a truly sick burn, it wasn’t a good day to be Jacob Wohl.

And Twitter users agreed. 

There’s only one thing left to say: Go Cougars! 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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