Conway Accuses CNN Of ‘Playing Politics’ Before Touting Trump’s Agenda

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During an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo Wednesday night, top White House aide Kelly Anne Conway bashed the network for trying to politicize suffering victims, refused to talk about how climate change may have caused Hurricane Harvey and then proceeded to brag about the President’s plans for tax reform, job creation and protecting the U.S. border.

Conway dodged questions about what President Donald Trump will do to get Republicans in line to vote for a disaster relief package for victims of Harvey— and keep them from politicizing the funding discussion like some did with Hurricane Sandy. She then proceeded to call out Cuomo and CNN for “playing politics” with the tragedy, despite the network’s continuous coverage of the storm since it approached land last week.

“I answered that already. I think you’re playing politics now with something like a tragedy and Harvey. I’ve answered your questions. The money will be there. We hope that Republicans and Democrats will come together not politicize this,” she said. “I think instead of having the same conversation five different ways over the course of the first three or four minutes of this interview, you could be putting up 1-800 numbers or websites or giving people information about pet rescues or diapers or meals.”

Changing topics, Cuomo asked Conway about climate change, which many climatologists say had an impact on the strength of Harvey. In response, she accused the host of trying to be an “amateur climatologist” who was trying to keep the interview from being about what the White House is doing to help victims of the massive flooding.

“Chris, we’re trying to help the people whose lives are literally underway and you want to have a conversation about climate change. I mean that is— I’m not going to engage in that right now because I work for a President and a vice president and a country that is very focused on helping the millions of affected Texans and god forbid Louisianans,” she said.

“Imagine if we could find ways to reduce the number of the storms. Imagine if we could find out why a 100-year storm happens to happen every other year,” Cuomo shot back.

She then accused him of putting “words in my mouth” and proceeded to list everything the Trump administration has done to aide those in need.

Conway abruptly changed the topic to tax reform.

“Right now, I know that many Houstonians and those living in and around that city are either uninsured or underinsured. They’re facing a lack of housing,” she said. “So we’re going to look at the human factor for quite a while now. If you want to talk about issues also in the news, we could talk about, oh, the President’s play at historic tax reform today in Missouri, Route 66, the heart of American manufacturing and America’s gateway to the west at one point, where he has promised to simplify the tax code that we spend billions of hours and dollars trying to comply with it every year.”

She then jumped into a tangent about how Trump’s tax reform plan will help middle class Americans despite reports that his proposal will provide big tax cuts to the wealthy. 

When asked about a federal judge’s decision to temporarily block the implementation of a tough order against sanctuary cities in Texas while the state handles recovery and relief efforts, she blamed Congress for Trump’s lack of clarity on what he wants to do about DACA immigrants and said “it’s high time” the U.S. protect it’s borders.

“The President has expressed sympathy for many of the so-called Dreamers, they refer to themselves as Dreamers. … He’s also made very clear that he wants an immigration system that respects the law and that is fair, fair to everyone involved,” she said. “We have spent billions of dollars over the years helping other nations protect their own borders. And many Americans agree with him that it’s high time we respect our own.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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