Right-Wing Media's Latest Conspiracy: CNN Wants Trump Assassinated

Right-Wing Media's Latest Conspiracy: CNN Wants Trump Assassinated

CNN Has Been Reporting On The 'Designated Survivor' For Years

››› ››› NINA MAST

Right-wing media outlets have concocted the conspiracy theory that a CNN report on the protocol of a “designated presidential survivor” -- in which one cabinet member does not attend the presidential inauguration in the event that a tragedy killed the president and others in the line of succession -- is evidence that CNN figures hope President-elect Donald Trump is assassinated on Inauguration Day in order to keep the Obama administration in power. CNN has reported on the designated survivor during both President Obama’s and President Bush’s presidencies.

CNN Aired A Segment On The American Tradition Of A “Designated Presidential Successor”

CNN: The Designated Survivor “Won’t Be A Trump Cabinet Secretary Since None Of Them Have Been Confirmed Yet.” On the January 18 edition of CNN’s The Situation Room, CNN correspondent Brian Todd reported on the line of succession if the president, vice president, and Congressional leaders were killed in an “inaugural disaster” and explained the protocol of one cabinet member, as the “designated presidential successor,” not attending the inauguration. Todd concluded that, “if an attack hit the incoming president, vice president, and congressional leaders just as the transfer of power is underway,” the incoming president, at least temporarily, “would be an Obama appointee,” because “none of [Trump’s cabinet nominees] have been confirmed yet”:

BRIAN TODD: According to the Constitution, if the president and vice president are killed or  incapacitated, next in line is the House Speaker, then the president pro tempore of the Senate. But what if something happened to them at the inauguration too? After that, it goes down the list of cabinet secretaries starting with secretary of state. On the day of the inauguration, as a precaution, a cabinet secretary called the designated presidential successor will not attend the inauguration, ready to step in if something happens. But it won't be a Trump cabinet secretary since none of them have been confirmed yet. It will be an Obama appointee. No word from the White House on who that will be on Friday. [CNN, The Situation Room, 1/18/17]

Right-Wing Media Exploited The Segment To Fabricate A Conspiracy Theory That CNN Wants Trump Assassinated

Rush Limbaugh: Some People At CNN “Might Be Harboring Hope That” Trump Is Assassinated. On the January 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show, a guest caller alleged that “CNN’s reporting” was “their way of encouraging all the fruitcakes out there to assassinate Trump without coming out and directly saying it.” Limbaugh responded to her theory by speculating that “some of them might be harboring hope that something happened”:

CALLER: I wanted to comment on CNN’s reporting yesterday, I believe it was, about president-elect being assassinated. I believe that was their way of manipulating and encouraging all the fruitcakes out there to assassinate Trump without coming out and directly saying it.

RUSH LIMBAUGH (HOST): You really do? You think --

CALLER: I really do.

LIMBAUGH: You think they were actually trying to inspire, encourage somebody out there to try to assassinate Trump without saying those words?

CALLER: Why else would they say that? There’s no other reason. I mean, what an ignorant thing to concoct.

LIMBAUGH: Well look, I understand, and they're continuing to push the story. I mean, this is from this morning at 3:28 -- I mean the story ran initially last night in prime time -- and here’s a 3:28 A.M. update: "designated survivor from Obama cabinet to sit out inauguration in case of tragedy."

[...]

I think it is the height of irresponsibility. What CNN’s going to hide behind -- what they’re going to say is, “No, no, no, it’s a legitimate story. It’s a legitimate story.”

[...]

But your question, why do it? Well, speculation, because I don't know anyone at CNN. Well, I do. Actually, I know one person at CNN, but I haven't talked to him in a long time. So I can't claim to know what goes on over there. But I don't think it’d be a stretch to conclude that, how to phrase this? Some of them might be harboring hope that something happened. Or, if that's a little too brutal for you, let me rephrase and say there are probably some people over there who wouldn't be all that upset, and in fact there are probably a lot of people over there who would think it’d be a great story. [Premiere Radio Networks, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 1/19/17]

Breitbart: “CNN: Assassinating Trump Could Keep Obama Administration in Power.” A January 18 Breitbart.com article reported that “CNN is dreaming up scenarios whereby the Obama administration can keep power if President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were blown up as they prepared to take to oath of office”:

As the nation prepares for the peaceful transfer of power on Inauguration Day, CNN is dreaming up scenarios whereby the Obama administration can keep power if President-elect Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence were blown up as they prepared to take to oath of office.

[...]

So while most of the country is looking to enjoy the day’s events and waiting expectantly to hear what our new president will have to say for his first address as our leader, CNN is wondering what will happen if he is assassinated.

Perhaps CNN is still stuck in anger, the second stage of grief. [Breitbart.com, 1/18/17]

Townhall: CNN’s Segment On The Designated Survivor “Was Unseemly (No, It Was Actually Absurd.” A January 19 Townhall article explained the context of CNN’s report on the designated survivor before speculating that “the Left and their allies” with “nothing left to do but accept defeat, they’re now pondering what if he dies tomorrow.” The article concluded that “this segment was unseemly (no, it was actually absurd), though I’m sure anti-Trump protesters loved it”:

The Secret Service said there’s no specific threat facing Trump’s inauguration. Were there ever segments done about what if Obama dies during his 2009 and 2013 inaugurations from the news media?

So, with reality upon the Left and their allies in America’s newsrooms, they know they can’t stop Trump. They know he won, though they might not like to admit it. With nothing left to do but accept defeat, they’re now pondering what if he dies tomorrow, citing that such a horrific scenario has formed the basis the ABC series Designated Survivor starring Kiefer Sutherland.

Nevertheless, this segment was unseemly (no, it was actually absurd), though I’m sure anti-Trump protesters loved it. Also, it's time to play that game again: what if Fox News (or any new outlet for that matter) did a segment like this during the Obama presidency? [Townhall, 1/19/17]

Daily Caller: CNN Is Openly Fantasizing “About The Incoming Administration Being Killed En Masse” Because They Are “In Mourning” That Trump Won. A January 19 Daily Caller embedded CNN’s segment on the designator survivor with the preface: “Hey, look, CNN isn’t saying they want Trump to be assassinated. They’ve just been doing a lot of thinking about what would happen if he was.” The article also said, “These guys are in mourning, and they’re desperate for any glimmer of hope that they can cling to the power they crave above all else. ...So why not openly fantasize about the incoming administration being killed en masse? It’s all they’ve got left. [The Daily Caller, 1/19/17]

InfoWars: CNN’s “Report Teases The Potential For An Attack.” A January 19 article by InfoWars Paul Joseph Watson claimed CNN’s “report teases the potential for an attack on the inauguration by asserting it would create ‘chaos’ and ‘high theater’”:

The report teases the potential for an attack on the inauguration by asserting it would create “chaos” and “high theater,” before airing clips from ABC’s Designated Survivor show in which Kiefer Sutherland plays an obscure cabinet secretary who is “unexpectedly thrust into the presidency after an attack at the capitol during a State of the Union address.”

Given the huge number of death threats leveled at Trump – including one family friend of Hillary Clinton who was arrested after he threatened to assassinate Trump at the inauguration – is CNN irresponsible in drawing attention to this issue? [InfoWars, 1/19/17]

WND: “CNN'S Anti-Trump Reporting Takes Dark Turn.” A January 19 WorldNetDaily article quoting WND Vice President and Managing Editor David Kupelian explained that “amidst appalling calls for everything from disruption of the inauguration to violence, drone attacks and assassination,” “one has to question why CNN would put out a story like this.” The article also cited InfoWars author Paul Joseph Watson, who claimed “the report teases the potential for an attack on the inauguration”:

CNN, whose commentator Donna Brazile famously fed failed Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton questions before the 2016 presidential race debates, on Thursday took a dark turn on the eve of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, speculating about an assassination of Trump, incoming Vice President Mike Pence, and more.

[...]

WND Vice President and Managing Editor David Kupelian, whose book “The Snapping of the American Mind,” addresses those behaviors across America that truly are beyond rational, explained.

[...]

“Now, amidst appalling calls for everything from disruption of the inauguration to violence, drone attacks and assassination, here comes CNN’s inauguration-eve story informing the world that if somehow Trump and his closest successors were somehow eliminated during the inauguration, an Obama team member would become president.

“At a time when law enforcement is on ultra-high alert over unhinged, suggestible, glory-seeking copycat criminals and terrorists, one has to question why CNN would put out a story like this,” he said. [WorldNetDaily, 1/19/17]

CNN Has Aired “Designated Survivor” Segments In Past Administrations

2015:

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer and Jake Tapper Explained The “Designated Survivor” Protocol During Coverage of President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union Address. On the January 20, 2015, edition of a CNN live event, Blitzer explained that the “designated survivor” was “one member of the cabinet” who “will not be in attendance”at President Obama’s State Of The Union Address. Jake Tapper added that the designation is an “obscure, but I suppose necessary tradition” that the Secret Service takes “seriously”:

WOLF BLITZER (CO-HOST): You know, Jake, there is one member of the Obama cabinet who will not be in attendance. There's always one member of the cabinet for an emergency for whatever reason, the designated survivor as some call that individual. We now know who it is.

JAKE TAPPER (CO-HOST): That's right. This has been going on since the 1960s since the fears of nuclear war with Russia. Although they've only started to make the name of that designated survivor public since the 1980s so whoever had Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx on their designated survivor bingo, that's the designated survivor. If the absolute worst happens, Anthony Foxx would be president. A very obscure, but I suppose necessary tradition.

BLITZER: They take that very, very seriously. The Secret Service takes it seriously. The National Security Council, the designated survivor got those - all of those codes. It's all a pretty big deal right now. But let's take a look at these live pictures. Once again, on the bottom of the screen, the left part of the screen, you see the White House. That's the exit over there. We are waiting for the president and the first lady to leave the White House to drive up to Capitol Hill. But there's the shot already. The president in the Senate. That would be the vice president of the United States, Joe Biden and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner. They're already up there, they'll be sitting behind the president, Jake, throughout his probably one hour State of the Union address. [CNN, accessed via Nexis, 1/20/2015]

2014:

CNN’s Jake Tapper: “There Is This Bizarre Tradition” In The United States To Have “A Designated Survivor.” On the January 28, 2014, edition of CNN’s The Lead With Jake Tapper, Tapper explained that the United States has a “bizarre tradition” of appointing a “designated survivor” “just in case the worst happens and every single person on Capitol Hill were to be destroyed in one fell swoop,” [CNN, The Lead With Jake Tapper, accessed via Nexis, 1/28/2014]

2013:

CNN’s John Berman: “There’s A So-Called Designated Survivor” Who Does Not Attend The Inauguration “In Case Something Happens.” In a January 21, 2013, CNN report about President Obama’s second inauguration, CNN anchor John Berman remarked that “a few people will not be here. There’s a so-called designated survivor, a member of the cabinet who remains out in case something happens. [CNN, Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien, accessed via Nexis, 1/21/2013]

2011:

CNN’s Kiran Chetry: Ken Salazar Was “Not There Last Night” Because “He Was The White House’s Designated Survivor” In Case “Of Any Type Of Mass Catastrophe.” On the January 26, 2011, edition of CNN’s American Morning, then- host Kiran Chetry explained that Ken Salazar was “not there last night at the State of the Union Address” because he was the White House's "designated survivor,” further explaining that “one cabinet member is traditionally sent to an undisclosed location in the event of any type of mass catastrophe.” [CNN, American Morning, accessed via Nexis, 1/26/2011]

2006:

CNN’s Elaine Quijano: “After 9/11 Particularly,” The United States Government Decided They Needed To Really Continue” The Tradition Of “The Designated Survivor.” During the February 4, 2006, edition of CNN’s On The Story, CNN correspondent Ed Henry asked, “How does the White House go about deciding that somebody should stay behind in case of a catastrophe?” CNN’s Quijano explained that “they are called designated survivors” and “after 9/11, particularly, this was something that they decided they needed to really continue":

ED HENRY: Beyond the politics, the pageantry you mentioned a little bit there. On the Hill, I saw the VIPs coming through, Karl Rove and the Supreme Court as we heard. Samuel Alito, I was walking with him at one point and John Kerry walked by. It was quite a moment in the hallways to see John Kerry, the man who was trying to filibuster Judge Alito's nomination and they sort of passed and barely noticed each other. But you were working a little bit on the cabinet secretary, always stays behind. How does the White House go about deciding that somebody should stay behind in case of a catastrophe?

ELAINE QUIJANO: They are called designated survivors.

HENRY: That's really grim.

QUIJANO: It is. But after 9/11, particularly, this was something that they decided they needed to really continue. And they have members of Congress who do it now as well. But essentially, what someone explained to me is that if you are the designated survivor, you know that probably your paragraph is not going to make it into the state of the union address. You can probably forget about that. But they tend to go with sort of the lower level cabinet secretaries and it's an interesting experience when you talk to -- I had the opportunity to interview Dan Glickman, who was the Agriculture secretary in '97. He was the designated survivor. He was in New York, one second surrounded by Secret Service, the accoutrements of power, the guy with the football the briefcase that has all the codes to it. And the next second he couldn't catch a cab. There was like nobody around him. [CNN, On The Story, accessed via Nexis, 2/4/2006]

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