If Kellyanne Conway had any credibility left, it may have just evaporated.
After she invented the “Bowling Green Massacre” in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews last week, she argued that she “misspoke one word.” There were, in fact, two Iraqi refugees who lived in Bowling Green, Kentucky who tried to send weapons to Iraq, but they never attacked anyone on U.S. soil. “I should have said ‘plot’ or I should have just called them terrorists,” she explained to Fox News’ Howard Kurtz.
But Conway did not misspeak. In fact, Cosmopolitan.com revealed Monday that she used the exact same talking point in an interview given days previously. The magazine had not originally printed her quote referencing the “Bowling Green massacre,” but has shared it in the wake of her using it on MSNBC.
Here’s how Conway defended her argument that President Obama called for a “ban on Iraqi refugees” — which he didn’t actually do:
He did, it’s a fact. Why did he do that? He did that for exactly the same reasons. He did that because two Iraqi nationals came to this country, joined ISIS, traveled back to the Middle East to get trained and refine their terrorism skills and come back here and were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green massacre of taking innocent soldiers’ lives away.
This version of the story adds more context to the fake story, with Conway suggesting that soldiers actually died at the “Bowling Green massacre.” Conway also suggested that they returned to the Middle East for training, but there is no evidence that they ever did.
Pressed for follow-up comment by Cosmopolitan, Conway again insisted that she misspoke. “It was a plot to massacre and they were Bowling Green terrorists. That’s what I should have said. I clarified.” She could not support her claim that they had traveled back to be trained, but stood by it.
But the fact that she invented the same story on two different occasions makes it doubtful that she misspoke. Indeed, even after being widely ridiculed for the MSNBC interview, she still tried to tie whatever attacks may have happened in Iraq back to Bowling Green:
The real lessons from Bowling Green. Who will cover? Who will care? https://t.co/gX9RNoXVUa
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 3, 2017
This weekend, the White House offered all of the Sunday morning shows Vice President Mike Pence as a guest — except CNN’s State of the Union. CNN was only offered Conway, and they declined to have her on. According to the New York Times’ Jim Rutenberg, the refusal was in part because of the snub, but also because of “serious questions about her credibility.” Conway has previously defended the administration’s distortions of reality as “alternative facts.”
Refusing to give her airtime could be an important step to countering the Trump administration’s massive disinformation campaign to justify its Muslim ban and other actions.
UPDATE: Despite the fact it was the White House that said Friday it had offered Conway to CNN for Sunday morning, she claimed late Monday morning that it was untrue CNN had rejected her. She instead insisted she backed out for family reasons.
False. I could do no live Sunday shows this week BC of family. Plus, I was invited onto CNN today & tomorrow. CNN Brass on those emails https://t.co/LVOUWIytLK
— Kellyanne Conway (@KellyannePolls) February 6, 2017
CNN isn’t having it:
. @KellyannePolls was offered to SOTU on Sunday by the White House. We passed. Those are the facts.
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) February 6, 2017
UPDATE: The same day Conway gave the Cosmopolitan interview, she also referred to the “Bowling Green attack” in an interview with TMZ. “There were two Iraqis who came here, got radicalized, joined ISIS, and then were the masterminds behind the Bowling Green attack on our brave soldiers,” she explained.
That makes three times that Conway “misspoke” to invent a tragedy that never happened.