When asked on CNN’s “Station of the Union” on Sunday about Donald Trump campaign surrogates who promoted false claims that an “assassination attempt” was made on the Republican nominee at a rally in Reno Saturday night, campaign manager Kellyanne Conway attacked CNN’s coverage of the presidential race.
After the Saturday night incident, in which someone shouted “Gun!” and the Secret Service rushed Trump from the stage, Trump’s social media manager, Dan Scavino, and Donald Trump Jr. both retweeted a claim that someone had tried to assassinate Trump. However, the Secret Service did not find a weapon.
“Should they be spreading this misinformation?” CNN anchor Jake Tapper asked Conway after saying he was glad Trump was okay.
“Well, I’m glad you’re happy that everybody is okay. That’s really the main focus here. It’s scary. I mean, all of the coverage is usually about our protesters wreaking havoc and making people feel afraid,” Conway replied before praising the Secret Service. “But it does remind you that in these closing days, especially as the polls tighten, many of us are getting more death threats, getting more angry messages on social media and elsewhere. And it’s a pretty fraught environment there. I think that’s the real focus here.”
Conway then claimed that a protester involved in the incident was “a Democratic plant or operative trying to disrupt our rally.” The protester, Austyn Crites, is a Clinton supporter but a Republican. He said he was beaten up by rally attendees during the incident that prompted Trump to be rushed off of the stage.
Conway then defended Donald Trump Jr. and Scavino.
“I think that people saw a nimble, resilient Donald Trump who would be nimble and resilient as president as well, take back to the stage, Dan Scavino telling people, we’re not going to be stopped, nobody can interrupt this movement,” she said. “But, if you’re Don Jr. and you’re on a live TV set while you’re watching this unfold it’s pretty rattling to think of what may have happened to your father. So I’ll excuse him that.”
Tapper noted that the protester was a Republican, and displayed the tweet promoted by members of the campaign. The tweet said, “Hillary ran away from rain today. Trump is back on stage minutes after assassination attempt.” Tapper again pressed Conway on why members of the campaign were spreading the false narrative that there was an assassination attempt.
In response, Conway launched an attack on CNN’s coverage of the presidential election.
“First of all, that’s really remarkable, I have to say, that that’s what the story line is here. Thank you for reminding everybody that the rain chased her away. There weren’t a lot of people there at her rally to begin with,” Conway said. “And, you know, Jake, I want to say, is CNN going to retract all the story lines, all the headlines, all the breathless predictions of the last two weeks that have turned out not to be true? The race is over. The path is closed. It’s going to be a blowout. You guys retract that and I’ll give a call to Dan Scavino about the retweet.”
“I never reported anything along those lines,” Tapper said in response.
“CNN certainly has,” Conway hit back. “I love CNN, but you have to be honest here. The lower third, what’s always on the chyrons, the panelists, the so-called experts constantly saying she can’t lose. The race over. The path is narrowed.”
Tapper again said that he has not seen such reporting.
Watch a clip from the interview via CNN: