CNN anchor Jake Tapper confronted Donald Trump’s campaign manager over several campaign officials promoting the false and entirely baseless assertion that a protester at Saturday’s rally in Nevada was attempting to assassinate Donald Trump.
Secret Service agents briefly detained, and later released Austyn Crities after someone shouted “gun” at a Donald Trump rally in Nevada on Saturday, causing agents to rush the Republican presidential nominee off the stage. Crities — who was holding up a “Republicans Against Trump” sign at the rally — was released by Secret Service agents after he was questioned and no gun was found.
On Sunday, Tapper asked Kellyanne Conway why the Republican nominee’s son Donald Trump Jr., as well as the nominee’s social media manager Dan Scavino, were retweeting a message labelling the incident as an assassination attempt, despite the Secret Service’s statement which contradicted both Trump officials’ claims.
“They’re retweeting misinformation that this was an assassination attempt. It was not an assassination attempt, thankfully. Should they be spreading this misinformation?” Tapper asked.
Conway didn’t directly address Tapper’s question, claiming that campaign officials were receiving death threats, and pointing out that Crities, a self-described Republican, had campaigned actively for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“He had canvassed for Hillary Clinton and he had donated to her campaign. So this is a Democratic plant or operative trying to disrupt our rally,” Conway said.
She added: “If you’re Don Jr. and you’re on a live tv set while watching this unfold, it’s pretty rattling to think of what may have happened to your father, so I’ll excuse him that.”
Tapper acknowledged Crities presidential preference, but continued to press Conway.
“He was not trying to assassinate anyone,” Tapper replied.
“Again, we’re very happy that this was not an assassination attempt. But why is your campaign spreading that it was?”
Conway attempted to flip the question on Tapper, asking CNN to apologise for pundits who declared Trump’s campaign to be virtually over.
“You guys retract that, and I’ll give a call to Dan Scavino about the retweet,” Conway said.
For his part, Crities took to Facebook late Saturday to clarify his role in the incident, claiming that he was physically beaten up by Trump supporters before being detained by the Secret Service.
Watch part of the exchange below, via CNN:
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