Chris Cuomo of CNN tried to bully President Trump’s new press secretary into calling the president a liar on the air, and when she refused to do so, he told her the interview was over and she had no credibility with his audience.
Cuomo, whose network has been plagued by a rash of stories that turned out to be false, brought on Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary, to talk about the president’s remarks earlier in the day that Puerto Rico is “one of the most corrupt places on Earth,” as its government was preparing to deal with Hurricane Dorian.
“If he didn’t lie, if he didn’t take things out of context,” Cuomo says, launching into a diatribe. McEnany responds: “He didn’t lie.” Cuomo continues to talk over her.
“If he didn’t demonize people for being different, if he didn’t make it OK to be bigoted, then he wouldn’t get the same kind of criticism,” Cuomo says.
“He doesn’t lie,” McEnany responded. “The press lies.”
Cuomo rejoins. “He doesn’t look at Fox News and call it state TV, and people aren’t going to call you out for being unfair to a media organization.”
McEnany continued to say, “He doesn’t lie.” Cuomo interrupts again. “You don’t think this president lies?”
McEnany soldiers on. “Don’t take it from me. Take it from Jim Comey, who literally called out … “ Cuomo again shouts over her. “You don’t think this president lies to the American people?”
“Let me finish, Chris,” McEnany responded. “You don’t think this president has lied?” Cuomo asked, again talking over her. “Answer my question first.”
McEnany did. “No, I don’t think the president has lied.” Cuomo talked over her yet again. “You don’t think the president has lied to the American people?” As she says, again, she doesn’t think the president has lied, he again talks over her. “You don’t think he’s ever lied to the American people?” She says no again, and again, he talks over her.
Three times, she says through his continued questioning, “No, I don’t think the president has lied to the American people.”
“Kayleigh McEnany, your credibility will be shot with my audience if you don’t back off that statement,” Cuomo says.
Finally, she says, “I think CNN has lied to the American people. I think MSNBC has lied to the American people. I think the fake news has lied to the American people. Don’t take it from me …”
He again interrupts. “Has the president lied to the American people?” “Chris, Chris, let me respond,” she says. As she starts to speak again, he says, “Can’t answer it. Bad sign,” even though she had by that time answered the question at least five times.
He then lets her make her point about Comey, that he had testified before Congress that a story in the New York Times “was false and the main not true, and the Russia reporting was false. And for two years, you talked about Russia. Now you’ve moved on to recession. All you’ve …”
Cuomo then interrupts again. “Did Russia interfere in the election?” trying to force McEnany to accept another mainstream media narrative that has not been borne out by the facts.
He asks again before she can respond. Finally, she says, “There was no Russia collusion. Was there collusion, Chris?” He talks over her question to ask again “Did Russia interfere in the election?”
Finally, he gives in and answers the collusion question. Yes, he says, but it wasn’t illegal.
A few moments later, he says, “I’m going to ask you one more time, has this president ever lied to the American people?” She says, “No, I don’t believe the president has lied.”
He dodges the question. “The interview’s over, Kayleigh. If you cannot admit this president has lied to the American people, you will not have credibility with the audience.”