News and Commentary

L.A. Times Columnist Faces Blowback After Posting Claims About ‘Trumpites Next Door’
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 14: Virginia Heffernan speaks at WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Day 2 on October 14, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED25

Los Angeles Times writer Virginia Heffernan is facing both criticism and questions in response to her column published late last week headlined, “What can you do about the Trumpites next door?”

In a column published by The Times on Friday, Heffernan tells the story of how “staunch partisans of blue lives” plowed the driveway of her “pandemic getaway” after a recent snowstorm without being asked to do so.

Though Ms. Heffernan has posted images of her getaway online multiple times, The Times used a stock photo to accompany the story.

In her column, Heffernan struggles to accept what she described as an “act of aggressive niceness” at face value because it came from people who backed Donald Trump. “Trying to decide what it means to take a gift from someone, how much debt it does or doesn’t land you in, how favorably inclined you have to be to the giver & perhaps his worldview, is a legit inquiry,” Heffernan tweeted after publication.

Her comparison in the piece of her driveway-plowing neighbors to Nazi sympathizers who were unconcerned about atrocities affecting others during the Third Reich and modern-day terrorists who “offer protection and hospitality to win loyalty” has sparked widespread criticism against Heffernan, particularly from conservatives.

In a series of tweets posted on Wednesday, Heffernan brought attention to the ongoing blowback she has received. In one of the posts, Heffernan falsely suggested Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro generated a “meme” that inflamed opinion against her. For the record, Shapiro never circulated a meme; instead, he tweeted about how Heffernan’s column is “emblematic” of the Left’s intolerance.

While some have questioned the existence of her Trump-loving neighbors, a quick sift through Heffernan’s Twitter feed shows that she has been referencing the mysterious couple for months. She has created a social media narrative packed with alleged details about their personal lives that presumably would not have made it past the gatekeepers at the L.A. Times.

According to Heffernan’s Twitter posts, her main beef is with the wife of the good Samaritan she credits for plowing the snow. Heffernan describes the woman as a law enforcement officer.

“My neighbor is a white cop who flies Trump flags & describes herself as ‘tired of Black Lives Matter,’” Heffernan tweeted in late December. “She has guns, ATVs & CPS (Child Protective Services) issues with her teen daughter, whom she hit, but also has two cute toddlers & a cute dog. When I run into her on the street, she is very ‘nice.’”

The post was part of a longer thread Heffernan had written that began with, “Ideas for profiling a white-nationalist terrorist.”

“Words like ‘nice,’ ‘from a nice family’ & ‘quiet’ add nothing, as they’re proxy words for white,” she wrote at the time.

Heffernan, 51, has previously acknowledged that both she and her partner have anxiety about law enforcement.

She claims her Trump-supporting neighbors are “known for their arsenal” and says she’s heard them shooting target practice.

Heffernan has also said her next-door neighbor’s persona reinforces negative stereotypes often associated with law enforcement while expressing concern for the officer’s husband.

“It’s the plowman’s wife who’s the cop,” Heffernan recently tweeted. “She seems standard issue cop racist w/CPS issues, as she puts it, b/c she hit one of *his* kids & they lost custody. He’s said to be apolitical, but flew flags & banners. I worry he’s in an abusive situation but clearly I shd stay in my lane.”

Heffernan said she left New York City with her family last May as coronavirus was rapidly spreading across the region. She has not revealed her family’s current location, claiming she “went far to give” the Trump-supporting “pandemic neighbors” she wrote about “anonymity.”

Still, Heffernan’s one-sided account has left many readers suspicious and curious to hear from the unknown Trump enthusiasts.

FOX News host Greg Gutfeld recently discussed Heffernan’s column on “The Five,” where he pondered the veracity of her account:

Really, what writer takes that chance, to attack a next-door neighbor — knowing they’re vile Trump supporters? And knowing they could find out!

The L.A. Times should’ve sent someone to her pandemic getaway to see if the driveway was cleared — and to get the neighbor’s side of the story. So it’s not just some rant that exudes superiority over a fantasy enemy.  

The editors should give this snow plower a chance to respond, or admit they blew it — and let a tall tale get by them because they wanted it to be true.

So, in sum: a person who makes up this story is bad. But if the story is true, it kinda makes her worse. Either way, hand her the shovel and let her dig out of this — on her own.

Ms. Heffernan did not respond to an inquiry from The Daily Wire seeking more information.

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