Travis Justin: “it is in the best interest of Draft Beto for me to part ways for now.”
A video of Bernie Sanders shirtless, drinking, and singing on his honeymoon in the Soviet Union in 1988 was a quick internet hit for about a day, two days ago.
The surest sign that Beto is running is that a leader of “Draft Beto 2020” just shared a video of Bernie Sanders on his honeymoon in the Soviet Union 1988:
“Recently discovered footage from 1988 reveals a shirtless Bernie Sanders with his wife, Jane, on their honeymoon in the USSR, drunkenly signing “This Land Is Your Land” with a group of presumed Soviets.”
So many tweets get deleted these days, I’ve gotten in the habit of screenshotting tweets and archiving them at archive.is or archive.org, and I did for the tweet in question.
The tweet got the author in some trouble, and he resigned from his role at Draft Beto.
The Washington Examiner reports:
A leader of a group pushing for a 2020 presidential run by Beto O’Rourke has quit after circulating a newly discovered video of a shirtless Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., singing “drunkenly” during a trip to the Soviet Union in 1988.
The biography and picture of Travis Justin, who was director of Veterans Outreach, was removed from the Draft Beto 2020 website after he tweeted the video, saying: “Recently discovered footage from 1988 reveals a shirtless Bernie Sanders with his wife, Jane, on their honeymoon in the USSR, drunkenly singing ‘This Land Is Your Land’ with a group of presumed Soviets.” The tweet was later deleted but a screenshot was captured.
Justin, a Navy veteran who had been listed as part of the Draft Beto 2020 team of leaders, told the Washington Examiner that he “made the decision and informed the group today” that he believed “it is in the best interest of Draft Beto for me to part ways for now.”
“At this time, I determined it best to temporarily separate myself from Draft Beto. I did not want to become a distraction or detriment to the tremendous work being done by the team,” Justin said. “Draft Beto has a strict policy against negativity towards other Democrats and sharing the video was perceived as negative by some.”
He insisted he did not intend to denigrate Sanders by posting the video, and the he wants to “elevate Democrats” and “lift the ideas of Democrats, including Sen. Sanders.” He said: “Draft Beto strongly supports candidates singing, whether it be in a punk rock band, karaoke, or shirtless if they choose.”
Don’t feel sorry for Justin, though.
His Twitter account generally is in loon territory, so he’ll be back:
UPDATE: Justin Travis emailed requesting clarification. The email reads, in part:
… I would like to provide clarification in order for the article to be more accurate.
As you know, I shared a video of Bernie Sanders, originally posted by another Twitter user, who discovered it from the Burlington community television archives. I shared that user’s video as an individual, not as a part of my association with Draft Beto. Draft Beto has a strict policy against negativity towards other Democrats and sharing the video was perceived as negative by some. I have since deleted the post as you noted. It brought unfair negative attention to Drato Beto considering it was not endorsed by the group or discussed with them prior to my sharing the posted video.
As I shared in my conversation with The Washington Examiner, it is Draft Beto’s intent and desire to elevate Democrats and for the 2020 primary field to have the most qualified and energetic candidates as possible, which is why I believe in Beto O’Rourke and other candidates who have already declared. I continue to encourage Beto to enter the race and in the meantime will also lift the ideas of other Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, while awaiting his decision.
I know you and I have vast differences in political ideology, but I also know you value accuracy in reporting as many national outlets reference your work on a consistent basis. That said, Draft Beto is a group comprised completely by unpaid volunteers. As Chief Strategist Boyd Brown stated in the Washington Examiner article, anyone can come and go as they please. The tweet did not “get the author in some trouble,” as you suggested. I took it upon myself to step away so as to not bring discredit upon the great things they are doing.
There may be a time in the future where I have the opportunity to return once again, but for now it was best for me to depart.
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