Protester holds up a sign advocating the release of WikiLeaks whistle blower Chelsea Manning along the Gay Pride parade route in San Francisco (Getty/Josh Edelson)

Behold the worst reactions to Chelsea Manning’s commutation

From transphobia to Russophobia, the worst criticisms defied partisanship and veered into utter ignorance


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Brendan Gauthier
January 18, 2017 2:36pm (UTC)

President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted all but the last four months of whistleblower Chelsea Manning's 35-year prison sentence. Manning, a former Army intelligence officer, has already served six years for releasing to WikiLeaks classified documents revealing U.S. war crimes in Iraq. She was one of 209 inmates who received a presidential commutation this week.

Twitter reactions were largely partisan: the left of the political spectrum saw overturning Manning's excessive sentence as a victory for government transparency and accountability; the right saw Manning as a Benedict Arnold figure.

"This is just outrageous," wrote House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican, in a statement on Tuesday. "Chelsea Manning's treachery put American lives at risk and exposed some of our nation's most sensitive secrets. President Obama now leaves in place a dangerous precedent that those who compromise our national security won't be held accountable for their crimes."

The worst of the worst, however, managed to either weave transphobia — Chelsea was born Bradley Manning — into their assessment of the president's decision  or create a false equivalency between what Manning did and Russian espionage:


Brendan Gauthier

Brendan Gauthier is a freelance writer.

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