CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A South Carolina representative created a controversy on social media after posting a photo in which she claimed Rep. Joe Cunningham did not properly stand with his hand over his heart during Saturday’s commissioning of the USS Charleston.
The comments on the post ranged from supporters and some defending the congressman showing contradicting pictures.
When asked, Rep. Lin Bennett said “she doesn’t understand why this post is such a big deal.”
On Sunday evening, Bennett posted a picture on her Facebook profile of Congressman Joe Cunningham at the U.S.S. Charleston Commissioning Ceremony that took place on Saturday.
The photo shows Cunningham clapping while the other three men beside him are saluting or placing their hand on their heart with the caption “What’s wrong with this picture?” above the photo.
She said she is referencing the time that the official colors were being presented. During that time, the National Anthem was being sung.
Several people on social media began to comment negatively about Cunningham while others were commenting other pictures that show Cunningham with his hand on his heart, saying that the National Anthem had ended, causing him to take his hand off his heart and clap for the performing band.
Bennett had supporters as well.
Former congressional candidate Katie Arrington commented saying, “Lin he has no clue..Bless his heart..no clue of the sacrifice and honor the Navy brings to this town and Nation.”
Several people claimed she is not being factual.
Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley’s son, Bratton Riley, defended Cunningham saying, “Very respectfully, this is a misleading photo. This moment in this photo was not during the National Anthem but rather at a moment when military servicemen and women were saluting while the rest of us, like Tim (Scott) and Joe, were clapping in honor of these amazing people who sacrifice for us every day.”
Even with over a hundred comments and shares on various social media platforms, Bennett says the post “isn’t a big deal, I just wanted to make sure his disrespect is known.”
“He was not following protocol," she said. "I have seen the other pictures of his hand over his heart during the Anthem. Yes, this was taken after it was over, but the protocol is that until the Colors are retired or put into stands, you salute or stand with your hand on your heart.”
Video of the incident shows that both Cunningham and Sen. Tim Scott briefly lowered their hands from their hearts to applaud the band at the conclusion of the national anthem, then raised their hands over their hearts again as the flags went by.
The posts were still public and posted as of Monday afternoon.