Juli Briskman famously flipped the bird when Donald Trump’s motorcade passed her while she was cycling near her home in Virginia.
The moment was caught on camera and went viral. Briskman used it on her social media accounts, and was later fired from the government contractor she was employed by for posting the “obscene” image.
Overnight, Briskman became an elected representative, winning a seat on the Loudoun Country Board of Supervisors and beating an incumbent Republican in the process, just as the Democrats also gained full control of the Virginia legislature at the state level.
Briskman gave Trump’s motorcade the finger as it was exiting the Trump National Gold Course back in 2017. She later said it’s not “a gesture she did not employ often” but that faced with the dark bullet-proof glass, she had a pretty good idea who was inside.
She was more specifically at the time angered about Trump’s response to the devastating Hurricane in Puerto Rico as well as his plans to end the DUCA immigration policy.
In 2018, Briskman announced she was channelling her frustration into action, and running for office. She ran on a platform that prioritised education, environmental issues and women’s rights, telling AAP her campaign proved that she could be more than “just the person that rode my bike one day and flipped off the president,”
Looking forward to representing my friends & neighbors in #Algonkian District who backed me up today! So proud that we were able to #FlipLoudpun #FlipVA #LOCO219 Thank you Loudoun! https://t.co/vRcDUih1AP
— Juli Briskman (@julibriskman) November 6, 2019
But she did turn the “flip the bird” moment into a memorable campaign slogan, #FlipLoudpun.
Briskman sued her former employer for unfair dismissal but says that getting fired did open a number of doors. A single mother of two teenage children, she quickly got a new job and was later asked to run for local office in Virginia on the Democratic ticket. She said at the time that she felt a responsibility to say yes because she had been “handed a megaphone” through the widely shared image.
“I can’t run against Trump, but I can run for this seat and make a difference right here,” she told AFP.
Briskman’s district now includes the Trump National Golf Course. As she told the Washington Post, “Isn’t that sweet justice?”
— Juli Briskman (@julibriskman) November 5, 2019