It’s no secret that Donald Trump has been trying to prepare for his loss in the first presidential debate by coming up with excuses ahead of time for why he is going to do so poorly. A few days ago he told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that the moderator, NBC’s Lester Holt, is a Democrat. It has since been revealed that Holt is a registered Republican.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe, political reporter Mark Halperin asked Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, why Trump lied about Holt’s party affiliation. The question was surprising, coming from Halperin, who usually has his lips in permanent pucker in case he runs into a Republican butt to kiss. But the fact that he asked it wasn’t nearly as surprising as Conway’s answer.
“I don’t know that he knew what Lester Holt’s voter registration was,” Conway tells Halperin.
Halperin presses Conway on the issue. “But without knowing it, he asserted he was a Democrat,” Halperin says.
At that point Conway tries to change the subject, saying that Holt will be a great moderator. Then she tries to explain away Trump’s statement about Holt by saying that the media is “populated with Democrats.” But Halperin, for once, isn’t giving up, observing that this is just part of a pattern of Trump making statements without verifying the truth. Conway deflects again, talking this time about how “appalled” Trump’s campaign was at the criticism directed at Matt Lauer after the Commander In Chief forum.
Conway and Halperin go back and forth, with Halperin continuing to press Conway for an answer which she is obviously very unwilling to give. Then she attacks the Clinton campaign, saying that Hillary’s people have been telling the media to fact-check Trump during the debate. Her complaint makes it sound like she expects him to lie. Otherwise why would a fact-check be of concern, no matter who called for it? Somewhat surprisingly, Joe Scarborough actually jumps in to defend her on this point.
But it’s what Conway says in response to Mika Brzezinski that produces the WTF? moment of the conversation. Scarborough says that Clinton’s campaign is saying she is going to lose the debate, and they are telling people what to do after the debate is over. Brzezinski jumps in. “I don’t know what that has to do with Mark’s question,” she comments. “We’re asking why he lied about Lester Holt.”
Conway’s answer sums up how Trump’s campaign seems to regard that silly little thing known as “the truth.” She says, “He didn’t lie.”
After Mika responds, “I think he did,” Conway offers her rationale for the statement.
“Mika, a lie would mean he knew the man’s party registration.”
Halperin looks stunned by Conway’s answer. “So as president would he say things that are false, without knowing the truth?” he asks. Of course, he doesn’t get a response to that. But the answer, from everything we have seen, is “yes.” In the world of Trump, anything is legitimate to say, as long as you claim you didn’t know the actual truth. This is how wars are started. Just ask George W. Bush.
Here’s the video, via Twitter:
— Morning Joe (@Morning_Joe) September 26, 2016
Featured image via screenshot