CNN anchor Don Lemon sparred with the national spokeswoman for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign Tuesday morning after she claimed the Republican candidate’s circulating an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz wasn’t an “attack.”
Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson argued Trump chose to go into “hostile territory” for an interview with an anti-Trump radio host in Wisconsin to fend off attacks on his wife, Melania, and said she hasn’t heard any attacks on Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) spouse.
“There is no such thing as an attack on Heidi Cruz, I have yet to hear the attack on Heidi Cruz,” Pierson said.
But Lemon pressed Pierson about Trump’s recent retweet of an unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz juxtaposed with one of his wife and asked how that could be construed as “not an attack.”
“No, no, that is not an attack. I don’t think that’s an attack. That is not an attack, no!” Katrina shouted over Lemon’s question.
“What do you call that then, and don’t say that’s supporting his wife because you don’t need Heidi Cruz in that picture to support his wife,” Lemon asked.
“Mr. Trump didn’t make the picture,” she responded. “He retweeted a tweet because he believes that his wife is beautiful just the way that she is. And since when did it become okay to attack a woman. What is the policy here? Is it okay to attack a woman, malign her character and impugn her dignity just because she’s beautiful?”
Lemon fired back that the same question could be asked about attacks on Heidi Cruz.
“Is it okay to malign Heidi Cruz, who is a beautiful woman, to attack her and put up a horrible picture?” the anchor asked.
“No one has maligned Heidi Cruz, no one has attacked Heidi Cruz,” Pierson answered. “Melania Trump has been attacked. Where has that headline been on CNN? I bet CNN viewers didn’t even know Melania had been attacked for months by pro-Ted Cruz people. That is the problem here.”
But Lemon wasn’t having it.
“We have been talking about that for months, Katrina. I think you’re being very disingenuous about this. Let’s get back –” he said before Pierson cut him off.
“It’s not disingenuous! Because the headlines for a week have been about attacking Heidi Cruz!” she said.
“Hold on, Katrina,” Lemon responded.
Pierson allowed, “You’ve been talking about it, but in the wrong context!”
The CNN anchor replied the network has interviewed Melania Trump and reports on “every single tweet, every single scandal, every single thing that happens not only with Melania Trump and with Heidi Cruz but with all the other candidates, so you’re being very disingenuous by saying we’re not covering it.”
“No, you are covering it, no, you’re covering it, it’s just in the wrong context,” Pierson tried to clarify.
“It’s in the context that you want us to cover it, that doesn’t mean it’s in the wrong context,” Lemon fired back.
“It’s a fact. I mean, these are facts, Don,” Pierson said.
“Facts are facts,” Lemon agreed.
The Trump spokeswoman went on to call Trump a “counter-puncher” who was only attacking Cruz after he struck first.
In closing the interview, Lemon commended Pierson for her “very good spin” on the controversy.
“I think it’s a very good spin that you’ve put on it, but not necessarily the truth,” he said.
Watch video of the exchange captured by TPM: