CNN's Brian Stelter: “When Confronted By Factual Inaccuracies” The Trump Campaign “Denies Reality”

Stelter: When Asked About Melania Trump’s Plagiarized Speech, Campaign Went “To That Basic Stance Of It's Just Not The Reality”

From the July 19 edition of CNN's New Day

Video file

CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): Now, did Melania Trump's speech echo, copy, Michelle Obama?The answer is yes. Paul Manafort says the answer is no. Common language is used in politics all the time. This is about when a strong woman goes against Hillary Clinton. That's his defense. Does it work? 

DAVID GREGORY: Oh, I don't think so. I think it's just too cute by half. Obviously Melania, who took credit for writing this speech, obviously got help from staff that either deliberately did this or, I don't know how there’s  another way.They obviously looked at some common things that you want to say about family and lessons in life, but they had some recent first lady speeches to draw on. And Michelle Obama's from 2008 came up. Again, I don't know that this is the kind of thing that has a lasting impact, but it speaks to a campaign that's moved very quickly, that's been organized really behind the eight ball. Mistakes like this can happen. And then you have a situation when they really wanted everyone to be focused on the themes that Melania spoke about about her husband, rounding out her husband Donald Trump. Instead we're talking about this misstep by the campaign, compounded by the fact that Paul Manafort then takes it to the level that this is Hillary Clinton taking on someone who is challenging her? I mean, this was in the wilds of the internet as far as I could tell. Maybe the allegation is that they tipped off this guy who was like a fashion reporter or something who started unearthing this. Look, anything is possible. All I’m say is they don't want this conversation this morning, and I don't think they're putting it to bed very easily. 

ALISYN CAMEROTA (CO-HOST): Okay so here is exactly what Paul Manafort said. Let's listen.


PAUL MANAFORT: There's no cribbing of Michelle Obama's speech.  I mean these were common words and values, that she cares about her family, that things like that. I mean, she was speaking in front of 35 million people last night. She knew that. To think that she would be cribbing Michelle Obama's words is crazy. I mean, it's so -- this is once again an example of when a woman threatens Hillary Clinton, how she seeks out to demean her and take her down. It's not going to work. 


CAMEROTA: So Brian, I mean he said it's crazy that anybody would think that this speech was plagiarized. Is this-- does this also speak to what the campaign does when caught in something that has been misrepresented or something that doesn't jive, or some hypocrisy? They say no, nothing to see here. 

BRIAN STELTER: I was sitting across from the bar here while Chris was talking with Manafort. And that's what struck me as important about his comments. There's a criticism of the Trump campaign that goes like this:When confronted by factual inaccuracies or confronted by mistakes or misstatements, the campaign goes back on its heels, on the defensive, and denies reality. We've seen that from time to time, and this feels like one of those moments. Now, maybe conservative media bubbles will support the Trump campaign, will try to paper over this story, but I think that video that you all have shown that’s all over Twitter and Facebook tells the story really effectively, showing Michelle Obama and Melania Trump side by side. People, you know, you can't deny that kind of video. And so I'm a little bit surprised that Manafort would go to that basic stance of it's just not the reality. 


CNN's Cuomo Presses Trump's Campaign Chairman On Melania Trump's “Cribbed” Speech

MSNBC Panel On Melania Trump’s Plagiarized Speech: “This Turns This Night Into A Catastrophe”

Fox's Kilmeade Excuses Melania Trump's Speech Plagiarizing Michelle Obama's Because “It Actually Applies To Her Life”