Conway Calls Media Coverage Of President’s Tweets An ‘Obsession’ (VIDEO)

White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway listens to a question from a reporter during a press conference at the North Carolina Republican Party State Convention at the Wilmington Convention Center in Wilmington, N.C., Saturday, June 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Mike Spencer)
Mike Spencer/FR171472 AP

White House aide Kellyanne Conway argued Monday that the media and the American public should pay less attention to what President Donald Trump posts on Twitter, including his attack against London Mayor Sadiq Khan in the hours immediately following a terrorist attack in that city.

“Just a matter of taste and judgment and accuracy,” NBC’s Savannah Guthrie asked Conway in an interview on “Today” Monday morning. “Does the President owe the London mayor an apology for tweeting a political attack in the hours after this terrorist incident, and also misleadingly quoting him. Was that a mistake?”

Trump quoted Khan out of context — the London mayor was urging residents not to be alarmed at the increased police presence in the city, not the terrorist attack that had just occurred.

Conway said that Trump’s tweet “wasn’t a political attack,” and added later: “You want to make this about something other than what it’s about.”

“He’s the one who tweeted it,” Guthrie replied.

Conway accused Guthrie of focusing on the wrong stories.

“For every time you said ‘Russia,’ imagine if you said ‘ISIS,'” she said. “Every time you say ‘Twitter,’ imagine if you said ‘terrorists.’ Maybe we’d have a different type of vigilance.”

“In fairness,” Guthrie interjected, “he’s setting the agenda. He’s the President. He speaks. The reporters cover what he says.”

Guthrie acknowledged that Trump had called British Prime Minister Theresa May, but noted that, based on his Twitter account, Trump had been overwhelmingly focused on political matters.

In the hours after the attack, Trump used it to argue against restrictions on firearms and for his travel ban from several Muslim-majority countries. Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii cited Trump’s tweets when he temporarily blocked the President’s revised travel ban in March.

Conway said that the administration had reached out to British leadership to offer assistance and condolences.

“This obsession with covering everything he says on Twitter, and very little of what he does as President — ”

“That’s his preferred method of communication with the American people,” co-host Craig Melvin said.

“That’s not true,” Conway replied.

“Well he hasn’t given an interview in three weeks,” Melvin said. “So lately it has been his preferred method.”

After the interview, Trump kept attacking London’s mayor on Twitter.

Later on Monday, Conway responded to criticism of her comments:

Watch the exchange below via NBC:

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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