‘You aren’t addressing what I’m asking you’: Trump campaign manager grilled over false debate claim

Kellyanne conway
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway on MSNBC. MSNBC

The panel on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” grilled Donald Trump’s campaign manager Monday over the candidate’s false assertion that presidential debate moderator Lester Holt is a Democrat, and would therefore be unable to fairly moderate.

Bloomberg Politics’ Mark Halperin repeatedly asked Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway to answer why the Republican presidential nominee attempted to undercut the NBC anchor’s credibility by claiming he was partisan.

“He said Lester Holt is a Democrat. Lester Holt is a Republican. How could he say such a thing that just black and white, was factually incorrect?” Halperin said.

Conway said that she believed Holt was “a great choice” and acknowledged that Trump was not aware of the NBC anchor’s political affiliation when he labelled Holt as a Democrat.

“I don’t know that he knew what Lester Holt’s voter registration was,” Conway said.

When Halperin continued to press, Conway brushed off Trump’s misstatement as “a terrible and irrelevant example,” instead arguing that some media outlets were parroting Hillary Clinton’s campaign talking points and pressuring moderators to do increased fact-checking during debates. In past interviews, Conway said debate moderators do not have a responsibility to be fact-checkers.

“What bothers us, Mark, is the very public, very coordinated attempt to game the refs,” Conway said.

MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski also jumped in, accusing Conway of filibustering instead of answering the question directly.

“We’re asking why he lied about Lester Holt,” Brzezinski said.

“He didn’t lie,” Conway responded. “Mika, a lie would mean he knew the man’s party registration.”

“As president, would he say things he knows are false without knowing they’re true?” Halperin replied.

Conway dodged the question, instead pivoting to a critique of several reporters embedded in the campaign and singling out two reporters whose tweets the campaign manager said were “92% negative” toward Trump. 

“What I would ask you to do is look at the Twitter feeds of ‘objective reporters,’ particular our embeds. These are not profiles in courage, this is not journalism,” Conway said.

“There are people who cover our campaign who actually just slander our candidate on Twitter. Ninety two per cent of one of them — I have them all in my desk, we’ve printed them all out. Ninety two per cent of two of our embeds tweets are negative.”

Watch the exchange below, via MSNBC:

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