By Mahita Gajanan
September 5, 2018

A former White House staffer was accused by some on Twitter of making a white supremacist symbol during confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Tuesday — causing her husband to publicly defend her and point out that she is Jewish, Mexican-American and the descendant of Holocaust survivors.

The online furor about Zina Gelman Bash’s alleged hand symbol spread on Twitter Tuesday — despite attempts by supporters and journalists to point out her heritage.

Bash, who previously clerked for Kavanaugh, was spotted sitting behind the Supreme Court nominee during the Senate hearing Tuesday making what appeared to be an “OK” sign with her hand, which some say is associated with white power symbols. The Anti-Defamation League has said the “OK” hand gesture is not an actual symbol of white power.

The controversy led to Bash’s husband, U.S. Attorney John Bash, to take to Twitter to defend her. “Everyone tweeting this vicious conspiracy theory should be ashamed of themselves,” he wrote.

Bash, who previously worked as Special Assistant to President Donald Trump on regulatory reform, legal and immigration policy, now serves as senior counsel to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com.

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