CNN's Chris Cuomo Confronts Paul Manafort About Melania Trump Speech: "You Keep Lying About It"
Cuomo said the Trump operative is "refusing to acknowledge something that is true," in dismissing claims that a portion of Melania's speech sounded almost word-for-word like Michelle Obama's.
CNN anchor Chris Cuomo got into a heated debate with Donald Trump's campaign manager Paul Manafort on Wedneday's New Day.
Cuomo repeatedly tried to get Manafort to admit that a part of Melania Trump's speech plagiarized Michelle Obama's 2008 speech. "You keep ignoring it," said Cuomo. "I don't understand why."
Manafort kept trying to circle back to the fact that Trump received the official Republican nomination on Tuesday, despite so many people doubting he ever would. But Cuomo insisted that by not admitting that Melania's speech was plagiarized, he was making the scandal a bigger issue that distracts from the messages the Trump campaign would prefer to focus on.
"The reason that this matters, though, is that frankly you're distracting from that story line by refusing to acknowledge something that is true, and it plays into two issues," said Cuomo. "The first is, a big part of the case I'm hearing here at the convention for why Donald Trump needs to be president is that Hillary Clinton can't be trusted. That she doesn't level with the American people, which is another way of saying she lies."
He continued, "That is what this is going on right now with this issue that should be small about this speech. You don't like that you got caught with some of Michelle Obama's language in the speech."
Cuomo said that regardless of how the plagiarism happened, the Trump campaign refused to acknowledge it because "that's the way this campaign works."
"That plays into the second problem. Which is that when faced with something that you did wrong, you just deny it, no matter whether it is true or not," said Cuomo. He then rattled off a list of controversies surrounding Trump, including his mocking of a reporter with developmental disabilities, his insistence that the Star of David was a sheriff's star and his denial that he called press pretending to be a spokesperson.
"There is a pattern of denying the obvious," said Cuomo. "What happens when you're running the government of the United States and you don't want to deal with what happens then? That's the concern. That's why I don't understand you won't just own this little thing and move on."
Manafort responded that it was "all in the eye of the beholder" and the pattern he saw was "the media not being prepared to look at what's really going on in America" and to look at why the Trump campaign is working. When Cuomo insisted Manafort was talking about a different issue, the campaign manager said he was "looking at things that don't exist."
As Cuomo insisted he was merely focusing on the truth that the language came from Michelle Obama's speech, Manafort tried again. "The truth is the words, the truth is the feelings that were expressed by Melania Trump that night, which you don't want to focus on, was the message she was communicating. That's the truth."
When Cuomo said he "of course" wanted to focus on Melania's "compelling" speech, Manafort interrupted to tell him to "move on."
"But I can't move on," said Cuomo forcefully. "Because you keep lying about it, so I can't move on from it. Because I have to talk about what is true."