After the Department of Foreign Affairs revealed One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts had begged the Australian embassy for tickets to Donald Trump’s inauguration, One Nation senators declared they had never claimed to have been invited (despite several times boasting they had been invited on social media posts that have not been removed).

The news came in a tweet from Pauline Hanson on Monday, where she said she had been “gifted tickets to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony” of Donald Trump.

“What an honour!” she tweeted.

Sovereign Citizen and Trump fanboy Senator Malcolm Roberts tweeted gloatingly that he and Hanson “received an invitation but not the Prime Minister. OUCH”.

Hanson then posted on Facebook that she had “been invited” to the event.

When Hanson appeared on Paul Murray’s show on Sky News that night, she was coy about revealing who had invited her.

Murray: Who invited you?

Hanson: I’m told it has come from a congressman in the United States.

Neither Hanson nor Roberts will be attending, with Hanson citing electorate duties and Roberts grounded with an illness. In their place, they decided to send the Ringo Starr of One Nation, Brian Burston — at his own expense, Hanson claims. Burston told the ABC’s RN Breakfast on Tuesday morning that the invitation came from Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger via Darren Nelson, an economics adviser working for Roberts who used to work for Trump.

BuzzFeed asked Kinzinger about this and was told no such invitation had come from him, but that the Australian embassy in the US had asked him if any spare tickets were available. DFAT later told multiple outlets that the embassy had begun asking congressmen whether they had any spare tickets because of “multiple requests” from Roberts about whether there were tickets.

When it became known that Roberts had not, in fact, been invited to attend but had begged to go, Roberts cried “fake news” at any outlet reporting it, further devaluing an already overused phrase. Roberts, who one person on Twitter suggested was supposed to hold anti-semantic views, mounted an argument of semantics, claiming “received an invite” and “invited” were two different things, even though the empirical evidence confirms One Nation had initially claimed both.

Hanson, on her arrival to Western Australia, also cried “fake news” when asked about the invites. Words are hard, sometimes.

Peter Fray

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