He Becomes Twitter Sensation With Very First Post

Former Obama staffer Gary Lee recounts a moment
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 15, 2018 7:36 AM CST
Updated Jan 20, 2018 5:14 PM CST
He Becomes Twitter Sensation With Very First Post
The Twitter logo appears at the post where it trades on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

(Newser) – Gary Lee had zero tweets to his name as of Jan. 12. That changed in a big way on Jan. 13, when he posted this series of tweets about his Korean heritage and suddenly became Twitter famous, reports Yahoo News. Lee once worked as a staffer in the Obama White House, and in one of the tweets, he explains that he visited the Oval Office on his last day in 2011, and Obama greeted him by saying "hello" in Korean. Official photographer Pete Souza captured Lee's delighted reaction, and Lee then recounts how fellow White House staffer (and actor) Kal Penn teared up when Lee told him about the exchange. "Think about what you just said," he recalls Penn saying. "How incredible that is. On your last day of work at the White House, after your years of service, the first African-American president greeted you in your parents’ native language. I started crying too."

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Lee, who was leaving the White House to go study in South Korea, says his parents "could never have fathomed" such an encounter. Both worked multiple jobs and "made incalculable sacrifices" for their son, and he wraps up by declaring "what a beautiful, incredible nation of immigrants we are." His tweets were set off by a report that President Trump pressed a Korean-American woman, a New York native, about where she was from during an intelligence briefing. "That struck a chord with me," Lee writes. Whatever the impetus, Lee's initial Twitter post has been liked more than 150,000 times, and the Washington Post rounds up some of the reaction, which generally boils down to a sentiment expressed in this tweet: "Omg I dont even know you and I love you Gary Lee." (This teacher's viral tweet revealed how deep first-graders are.)

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