CNN Surprisingly Labels Hillary's 'Dubious' Trump Claim 'Wrong'

CNN's New Day on Monday actually spotlighted Hillary Clinton's false claim on Saturday that ISIS is "going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists." Chris Cuomo asserted that "it's very hard to translate it any other way...we can't find the videos." When liberal pundit Errol Louis speculated that Clinton's campaign would "migrate towards some kind of clarification," Cuomo replied, "How could you clarify it? How is it anything but wrong?" Alisyn Camerota also wondered, "Did she [Clinton] give him [Trump], unwittingly, an opening?" [video below]

Camerota introduced the topic about Mrs. Clinton by playing a clip from NPR's latest interview with President Obama, where the Democrat claimed that "there is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear — some of it justified, but just misdirected. And I think somebody like Mr. Trump's taken advantage of that." The anchor asked Louis, "Isn't the President partially at fault? I mean, the President sets the tone for the country." The CNN political commentator replied, in part, that Obama "has never done well with the segment of voters that really respond to Trump — lower educated, lower-income white males....this shows that he really hasn't done that much better with them....He doesn't talk to them or, sort of, resonate with them — and he's got policies that, frankly, haven't worked."

Cuomo pushed back against his guest's contention: "I find it hard to believe that that's all Trump is drawing right now. I mean, I'm sure all, episodically, we're hearing from more and more people who are expressing their disaffection...I don't think it's just this one group that he's dealing with." He continued with his "it's very hard to translate it any other way" statement, as part of a question to The Daily Caller's Matt Lewis (who appeared with Louis during the segment): "When Hillary Clinton says that he is in ISIS videos being used as a recruiting tool — and we've all listened to it a thousand times — it's very hard to translate it any other way — and we can't find the videos. What does that mean?"

Lewis invoked Clinton's discredited use of an online video about Muhammad in the wake of the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya in his answer: "It was really awkward — the second time that Hillary Clinton has invoked a dubious video to make an argument about inspiring terrorism. It seems to be an interesting and odd trend. And she didn't have to go that far."

Camerota then played the clip of the former secretary of state's claim about Trump, along with the billionaire's retort, and asked her "opening" question to Louis. The commentator responded that "all candidates should be held to the same standard. So she said something that's clearly not true." This set up his exchange with Cuomo over the improbability of "clarifying" Mrs. Clinton's statement.

The transcript of the relevant portion of the Errol Louis/Matt Lewis segment from the December 21, 2015 edition of CNN's New Day:

ALISYN CAMEROTA It's not just the candidates who are talking about Donald Trump. President Obama is talking about him, as well. NPR just released an interview that they did with the President — in which the President explains why he thinks Donald Trump is resonating. Listen to this.

[CNN Graphic: "Presidential Candidates Lash Out At Trump"]

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (from NPR interview): There is going to be potential anger, frustration, fear — some of it justified, but just misdirected. And I think somebody like Mr. Trump's taken advantage of that. I mean, that's what he's exploiting during the course of his campaign.

CAMEROTA: That's interesting — right? Errol, to hear the President talk about it — because isn't the President partially at fault? I mean, the President sets the tone for the country. If this country is angry and scared—

ERROL LOUIS, POLITICAL ANCHOR, TIME WARNER CABLE NEWS: You know, it's interesting. What I hear in that statement — it hearkens back to the 2008 campaign, when President — then-candidate Obama — got into a lot of trouble by talking about people bitterly clinging to their guns and so forth. He has never done well with the segment of voters that really respond to Trump — lower educated, lower-income white males. He has struggled with them — Obama has from — from the very first race. And this shows that he really hasn't done that much better with them — that they — they don't relate to him. They don't understand where he's coming from. He doesn't talk to them or, sort of, resonate with them — and he's got policies that, frankly, haven't worked. So, he's — he's got, you know — sort of, a substantive side to this, and a symbolic side to this. Trump is really exploiting both.

CHRIS CUOMO: I mean, look, we're going to have to wait to see the votes. I have it — I find it hard to believe that that's all Trump is drawing right now. I mean, I'm sure all, episodically, we're hearing from more and more people who are expressing their disaffection — I mean, not to the extent that Trump is putting it out there. But I don't think it's just this one group that he's dealing with. And I think what just happened on Saturday night at the Democratic debate is going to help Trump a lot and help feed impressions of the DNC.

Matt, when Hillary Clinton says that he is in ISIS videos being used as a recruiting tool — and we've all listened to it a thousand times — it's very hard to translate it any other way — and we can't find the videos. What does that mean?

[CNN Graphic: "Clinton: Trump 'Is Becoming ISIS's Best Recruiter'"]

MATT LEWIS, SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR, THE DAILY CALLER: It was really awkward (laughs) — the second time that Hillary Clinton has invoked a dubious video to make an argument about inspiring terrorism. It seems to be an interesting and odd trend. And she didn't have to go that far. I mean, she could have just said Donald Trump is — you know, jeopardizing our relationship with Muslim allies; that we need the Kurds to support us; and if he's painting with this broad brush, that's irresponsible. So, Hillary was trying to be the responsible, competent person, versus the crazy Republicans with Donald Trump leading; and then, she goes too far and botches it.

I will say this, though: I think that what Hillary is trying to do — very clearly, I think Democrats have a strategy — is whether it's Donald Trump or someone else at the top of the ticket who gets the nomination, they're trying to 'Trump-ify' the Republican Party. And I think — let's say if Ted Cruz were to be the nominee; if he were to end up — you know, supplanting Donald Trump, they would tie Ted Cruz to Donald Trump. And that's, sort of, I think, their big message going into the general election.

[CNN Graphic: "Clinton Criticized For Trump ISIS Recruitment Claim"]

CAMEROTA: In case people missed the debate on Saturday night — and I know that's hard to believe; that anybody would be doing anything else on a Saturday night before Christmas — but let's just quickly play the Hillary moment again; and then, we also have Trump's response to it; so listen to this.

HILLARY CLINTON, (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from Democratic presidential debate on ABC): He is becoming ISIS's best recruiter. They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists. (audience applauds)

DONALD TRUMP, (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (from NBC's "Meet the Press"): Nobody has been able to back that up. It's nonsense. It's just another Hillary lie. She lies like crazy about everything — whether it's trips where she was being gunned down in a helicopter — or an airplane. She's a liar, and everybody knows that.

CAMEROTA: Errol, did she give him, unwittingly, an opening?

[CNN Graphic: "Trump: Clinton 'Lies Like Crazy'"]

LOUIS: (laughs) Well, I — it is very amusing — the notion that you have Donald Trump fact checking you—

CUOMO: Captain 'thousands and thousands.'

LOUIS: Yeah — well, exactly. (Cuomo laughs) So, I mean, on the other hand, I think all candidates should be held to the same standard. So she said something that's clearly not true. The words are out of her mouth. Her campaign doesn't want to really walk it back. So, they're, sort of, trying to migrate towards some kind of clarification. It doesn't really serve anybody very well—

CUOMO: How could you clarify it? How is it anything but wrong?

LOUIS: Her — her campaign staff is trying to figure that out. They're probably having a meeting on that topic as we speak. (Louis and Cuomo laugh) And she's caught in the same trap as he is. I mean, we — we're in the business of assuming that people want the truth; they want facts; they want accuracy. I think that's, by and large, true for voters — not — not in every instance, but — you know, she's — she's got to — she's got to acknowledge that she was wrong, you know — or she's got to come up with a video — same standard that we would apply to Trump. Where's the video?

CAMEROTA: There you go. That is the question this campaign: where's the video? Errol, Matt, thank you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan was a news analyst at Media Research Center