On Sunday morning’s broadcast of CNN’s Reliable Sources, White House advisor Kellyanne Conway continued to wage war on the media—and CNN specifically—by arguing the network shouldn’t be so critical toward the president because Donald Trump simply doesn’t know any better.
Conway took umbrage with the media’s insistence on covering such “non-stories” as the president of the United States continually lying to the American public. After host Brian Stelter argued that his network was committed to covering the many scandals emanating from the White House, an incredulous Conway pushed back, demanding to know what “scandals” Stelter was referring to.
“The scandals are about the president’s lies,” replied Stelter. “About voter fraud; about wire-tapping; his repeated lies about those issues. That’s the scandal.”
Despite overwhelming evidence that the White House is indeed lying in both of those cases—there is zero evidence to support Donald Trump’s claim that 3 million people voted illegally, or that his office was wire-tapped—the administration continues to promise “investigations” into both matters. But Conway’s response on Sunday was a new approach to how the administration handles allegations of lying.
“[Donald Trump] doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it,” she said.
As Stelter quickly pointed out, just because a person doesn’t know they are lying doesn’t mean what they said isn’t a lie. The argument closely resembles the administration’s latest tactic of excusing impropriety by suggesting that the parties involved are simply incompetent.
When Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian officials was revealed in news reports, allies in the conservative media covered for the younger Trump by suggesting he was staggeringly incompetent rather than engaged in active collusion with Russia. And Republicans in Congress offered a similar excuse for the president himself after he fired former FBI Director James Comey in an apparent attempt to stymie the agency’s investigation into him and his campaign’s ties to Russia.