Who is Ken Klippenstein? Journo pranks Matt Gaetz into honoring JFK killer Lee Harvey Oswald on Memorial Day
Twitter user Ken Klippenstein pranked several prominent conservatives on Memorial Day, using an old photo of Lee Harvey Oswald, the murderer of John F Kennedy. Klippenstein tweeted a photo of Oswald in uniform and claimed he was his grandfather, leading to retweets from Matt Gaetz, Dinesh D'Souza and Matt Schlapp. The trio deleted those endorsements shortly after, but not before the internet took screenshots of the tweets, leading to massive trolling.
Gaetz has become one of the internet's most popular punching bags, as the pro-Trump Congressman is in the middle of a sex trafficking investigation. In late May, he was trolled after suggesting he could defeat Joe Biden in 2024 if Donald Trump didn't run. The latest prank on Memorial Day seemed to focus on the conservatives' supposed love for the military. As the endorsements began circulating, Gaetz and Schlapp, D'Souza, and even Candace Owens were massively trolled.
This isn't the first time Klippenstein has pulled a prank on Twitter. In the past, he trolled Rep Steve King and former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell in a similar fashion. Who is this person you ask? Well it turns out, Klippenstein is more than your average troller, he's also a journalist.
Who is Ken Klippenstein?
Klippenstein is currently The Intercept's 'national security reporter'. He's currently based in Washington, DC, but graduated from high school in Naperville, Illinois. Klippenstein then graduated with a BA from Wheaton College, before getting his first job in Wisconsin. Between 2010 and 2017, he worked as a reporter for RSN, and then joined The Daily Beast for a year. Then in 2017, he moved to The Young Turks, where he spent two and a half years.
In 2020, Klippenstein moved to DC, first as The Nation's DC correspondent, but then joined The Intercept in 2021. He's well known for the use of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in his reporting. In 2020, he used FOIAs to report that the White House was warned in 2017 about being unprepared for a pandemic. He also uncovered the fact that the FBI had no information about Antifa being involved in the George Floyd protests in 2020, despite then-attorney general Bill Barr's claims.
But if there's one thing he's most famous for, it's his ability to prank conservatives. In 2019, he trolled Iowa Rep Steve King after changing his Twitter name to 'Steve King is a white supremacist'. Klippenstein tweeted a photo of Col Nathan Jessup, a fictional character from the 1992 hit drama 'A Few Good Men'. "Sir, can I get a retweet for my uncle Col. Nathan Jessup, he’s the Marines and spending the 4th overseas keeping our nation safe," he tweeted on the fourth of July. King took the bait, and retweeted Klippenstein's tweet and said, "Colonel Jessup and all your Marines: God Bless you all. You have our back and millions of us have yours! God Bless America and all her warrior defending our Liberty! SK."
King deleted the tweet shortly after, but not before Klippenstein kickstarted a troll-fest, with several other users attempting to get endorsements for fictional military heroes. Klippenstein also trolled Elon Musk in 2020, and author Naomi Wolf in 2021. Now, he decided to troll several prominent conservatives simultaneously.
'Ken woke up and chose violence'
Here's what happened. Klippenstein tweeted a photo of Oswald, who was in fact, a Private in the United States Marine Corps. He tagged Gaetz, Schlapp and D'Souza in three separate tweets and said, "My grandpa's a big fan of yours and is a veteran, he would be thrilled if you could RT this photo of him for Memorial Day. Here he is as a young private first class." Gaetz retweeted that photo with an emoji of the American flag while Schlapp said, "It's an honor to retweet this photo of a veteran on a day we remember his fallen friends. God bless your grandfather." D'Souza simply retweeted without a comment.
That got Twitter talking. One person tweeted, "Ken Klippenstein is my spirit animal for trolling the GOP with a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald in the Marines." Another said, "It's both amazing and depressing how current politicians can be duped into retweeing a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald as a soldier."
It's both amazing and depressing how current politicians can be duped into retweeing a picture of Lee Harvey Oswald as a soldier.— Sledge has been Pfizered. You're welcome. (@mattsledge) June 1, 2021
"lol ken woke up today and chose violence," joked one user. Another said, "@kenklippenstein getting right wing nut jobs to retweet pics of Lee Harvey Oswald is the content in here for." One person jokingly said, "Matt Gaetz retweeting Lee Harvey Oswald for Ken Klippenstein is the only acceptable bi-partisanship." Another trolled Gaetz, "If Lee Harvey Oswald was a 17 year old girl, @mattgaetz would have paid more attention to the picture before retweeting it."
lol ken woke up today and chose violence https://t.co/UwSi1kJfKr— shauna (@goldengateblond) May 31, 2021
Matt Gaetz retweeting Lee Harvey Oswald for Ken Klippenstein is the only acceptable bi-partisanship.— Brett "Unions 2021" Banditelli (@banditelli) May 31, 2021
Owens also found herself dragged into the controversy after she told Klippenstein "you do not photoshop murderers into their uniform". Many users trolled her for her lack of knowledge, leading Owens to take down her tweets. Gaetz, D'Souza and Schlapp have all deleted their retweets as well, but their screenshots live on.