The now-former head of the Biden administration’s abortive disinformation board said in an interview Wednesday that she received death threats almost every day during her three weeks on the job.
Nina Jankowicz made the claim to MSNBC “All In” host Chris Hayes hours after she announced her resignation following the Department of Homeland Security’s decision to “pause” the Disinformation Governance Board.
“I have maybe had one or two days I didn’t report a violent threat,” she said. “Something like, ‘We’re coming for you and your family’, ‘You and your family should be sent to Russia to be killed’, [they] encouraged me to commit suicide.”
The board was criticized almost from the moment of its creation last month by conservatives, libertarians and even some liberals, who compared it to the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s novel “1984.”
The criticism grew after it was revealed that Jankowicz herself had pushed the since-debunked claim in 2016 that then-presidential candidate Donald Trump had a tie to a Russian bank. The so-called “disinformation expert” also repeatedly tried to spread doubt about The Post’s verified reporting on Hunter Biden’s notorious laptop, telling the Associated Press in October 2020 that it should be viewed as “a Trump campaign product.
More recently, Jankowicz shrugged off concerns about the teaching of critical race theory in schools — saying that “Republicans and other disinformers” had “seized on” the issue and were “weaponizing people’s emotion” — and suggested that “verified” Twitter users should be able to edit other users’ tweets if they believe they are misleading.
But Jankowicz’s most bizarre moment was a TikTok singing performance from February 2021 in which she altered the lyrics to the “Mary Poppins” song “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” to be about fake news.
“When Rudy Giuliani shared bad intel from Ukraine/Or when TikTok influencers say COVID can’t cause pain/They’re laundering disinfo and we really should take note/And not support their lies with our wallet, voice or vote,” she sang.
After news broke Wednesday that the Disinformation Governance Board had been paused and that Jankowicz had resigned from DHS, the White House sought to distance itself from the mess, with press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre telling reporters that “the board has never convened” and insisting that “neither Nina Jankowicz nor the board have anything to do with the censorship or with removing content from anywhere.”
“We did not have an involvement in this at all,” Jean-Pierre added when asked if West Wing officials had played any role in the pause.
In her resignation statement, Jankowicz said she would “leave DHS to return to my work in the public sphere” and blasted what she called “mischaracterizations of the Board [that] became a distraction from the Department’s vital work.”
“To say that I am just a partisan actor was wildly out of context, and then beyond that, it wasn’t just these mischaracterizations of my work, but it was death threats against my family,” she told MSNBC. ““That’s not something that is American, that is not how we should be acting when we have disagreements about policy in this country. I think we need to learn how to be adults in the room, and I don’t have time for that childishness.”