On the Friday airing of Inside Politics, the panel discussed the separate videos that President Trump and his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani had tweeted in the last 24 hours. Host John King “didn’t have the words” to describe how Trump defended himself after Speaker Nancy Pelosi questioned the President’s mental state and suggested that he needed an intervention the day before in a press conference.
The video retweeted by Trump was only a mash-up of the slip-ups Pelosi had Thursday during her weekly press conference. The video retweeted by Giuliani was a slowed-down video of Pelosi speaking that made her seem as if she was slurring her words. CNN hosts and guests regularly called both of the videos “doctored” despite the fact that nothing was altered in the tweet Trump sent.
King complained that “there should be a line somewhere,” adding that because Pelosi was the Speaker of the House, “you have to have a responsibility if you're going to re-tweet…to have a clue as to whether or not it's accurate:"
I don't have the words for this. I've been here for 30 years. I used to joke in meetings that Washington is like the fifth grade. It's not a joke. It's not a joke. You know, from the President's perspective, they say, well, what about what the Speaker said and they are right. She questioned his mental health essentially. His stability, saying he needs an intervention. He comes back with his -- with not only his “a stable genius” line and goes after her and then, I'm sorry, there should be a line somewhere. She's the highest ranking woman in American politics and third in line of the presidency as Speaker of the House. You have to have a responsibility if you're going to re-tweet something involving the Speaker of the House to have a clue as to whether or not it's accurate.
Sara Murray, a CNN political correspondent, suggested that the Trump and Giuliani videos were sexist. Politico's Melanie Zanona echoed this sentiment later in the program:
Right, seems like we're at a new low in the relationship between the Pelosi and the President. She has always gotten under his skin, but we have seen this sort of turning point this week. He even debuted a nickname for her, calling her crazy Nancy Pelosi, although he walked it back a little bit, saying maybe I shouldn’t use that one. But I just think that it reflects the fact that he is intimidated and threatened by the Speaker. She is a strong female figure...She is working against him, and I don’t think he knows how to handle her.
Murray also claimed the video was "fake," whining, "When you put something up that's clearly fake, you don't label it as such, and people start to believe that that's the truth.”
It seems that whenever Democrats' own words are used against them by conservatives, the liberal media will be there to energetically defend them.
Here is the full transcript from Friday’s exchange on Inside Politics:
[12:04:16 – 12:10:47 6 min 31 sec]
JOHN KING: I don't have the words for this. I've been here for 30 years. I used to joke in meetings that Washington is like the fifth grade. It's not a joke. It's not a joke. You know, from the President's perspective, they say, well, what about what the Speaker said and they are right. She questioned his mental health essentially. His stability, saying he needs an intervention. He comes back with his -- with not only his “a stable genius” line and goes after her and then, I'm sorry, there should be a line somewhere. She's the highest ranking woman in American politics and third in line of the presidency as Speaker of the House. You have to have a responsibility if you're going to re-tweet something involving the Speaker of the House to have a clue as to whether or not it's accurate.
MICHAEL BENDER: That's what makes this such an important story right now. Let's just take Rudy Giuliani at his word here in that he didn't know. I mean this is a very well-informed person. He has – he has -- he certainly has the ability to know whether this has been doctored or not, but if he didn't, what does that say for the rest of America who is not paying as close attention to some of this back and forth of someone like Rudy Giuliani and, you know, and as we see more of these types of things happening in the next, you know, next 18 months during the presidential election, there is going to be – a -- you talked about his responsibility to know. There's going to be questions to the Trump campaign. All signs are that the Trump re-election campaign is doing everything that they can to be this professional, traditional operation that they were not in 2016. They can do that by -- by flagging these sorts of things and making -- and, you know, and coming out --
KING: But they can also do both. Forgive me for interrupting. They can do both. They can have a more professional operation. They can do as they are now. Their Facebook ad targeting very early. They can build their data base of golden dreams because they have such a good file on their voters, and do things quote, unquote professionally, and they can also have a candidate and a few of his surrogates like Mr. Giuliani who play a different way. Ask Ted Cruz, and Heidi Cruz, and Rafael Cruz and go back through the Kennedy assassination lore. This is what the President likes to do when you get under his skin.
TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA: And the campaign has been very clear. They have said, on the record, that they follow the lead of the President. They believe that the President's political instincts are what helped him win in 2016 against all odds and even if they have the best, you know, political analyst and the best people that can look at polling, they are going to follow the President no matter what he does, and if he decides, you know, decides to take on Joe Biden and call him nicknames and decides to tweet out, you know, weird videos about the Speaker, they are going to follow. They are going to follow his messaging no matter what, and that's what we're seeing. Normally we expect the President to sort of try to calm political tensions and not inflame them and not, sort of, allow the country to move towards this area where we don't even know if the video is real or not, but this is instead a president fully pushing forward on that.
LISA LERER: Look, they are doing part of this because they believe it works, right? This is what we saw with Hillary Clinton. Remember, there was a whole thing about her being very ill and her having a stroke and then on and on, and then she fainted at a 9/11 ceremony which, of course, was unrelated to any underlying medical condition, but it gave that argument serious traction. We saw it happen already with Joe Biden. There was a video making the rounds on conservative websites. It was the same kind of thing. Him slurring his words, a mash-up. Is he too old? So, I think there are people in the – Trump’s -- in the President's orbit and people in the conservative media orbit that serves to amplify the President's message that believe that this is an effective tactic and that's why it's not going to go away.
KING: Important in the context here too; it worked in the past. It tells you, again, that we're going to see in 2020, 2016 on steroids. We're not gonna see-- yes, they have a much more professional organization, but they are not reaching out to suburban women and not making a heavy effort. They will target some African-American and Latinos on economic argument, but there’s not going to be. This is a base campaign to drive out the same voters, to try to recreate the Trump message and to that point if you haven't been paying close attention. Here's one example of the doctored video and you're gonna see the real video with how it was tinkered with, messed with on the internet.
PELOSI: And then he had a press conference in the Rose Garden with all this sort – sort of visuals that obviously were planned long before
[“DOCTORED” VIDEO OF PELOSI PLAYS]
PELOSI: And then he had a press conference in the Rose Garden with all this sort – sort of visuals that obviously were planned long before.
KING: I assume that there are some people out there who find this funny or find it effective, but just the -- we're going down call it a staircase, call it a slippery slope. She's the Speaker of the House. She's the highest ranking woman in American political history. There's a way to win a campaign without doing that.
SARA MURRAY: Yeah. I mean, look, there are always going to be people who find that funny, and if you are a woman who is going to work in politics or anywhere near politics you have to get over that certain subset because those people are never going to change. I think the bigger concern that Lisa and Michael are talking about is people who don't know that it's not real. People who don’t know the difference and believe that these are accurate depictions of politicians, of people running for president, and I think that's the bigger concern. When you put something up that's clearly fake, you don't label it as such, and people start to believe that that's the truth. These are the misinformation campaigns that we saw were wreaking havoc on 2016. You know, they are going to come back in full force in 2020. It's one thing for a foreign government to be, you know, injecting themselves in our election, that's certainly going to happen again this time, but it's another thing to see it espoused by the President and by Rudy Giuliani.
KING: And I want to make this point. There are people on the left who do this to the President, too. For those out there who are saying “Oh it’s just people on the right slamming, you know, abusing Speaker Pelosi, it happens both ways. This one happened at end of a very dramatic day yesterday in which it was clear the Speaker is under the President's skin. She has a way of provoking him, and so how does it fit? Is there a broader strategy here? He's about to go off on this trip. If you're the President, you're about to go overseas which a lot of presidents in the middle of A: they can’t pass a disaster aid package, welcome to Washington dysfunction, and B: the whole conversation about continuing investigations, they would enjoy a three or four-day break. He’s going off. He’s going to have an Abe meeting with the Prime Minister. He’s going to see a sumo match. He’s going to meet with the new Emperor and Empress of Japan, and that’s a big deal for any American president. Bilateral meetings, a state banquet, he’s going to play some golf. He’s entitled to have some rest and then on Memorial Day he will most likely visit U.S. troops in the region. You would think he would go quiet and enjoy that trip, but he lights it up on Twitter again this morning because he sort of wants to leave some fumes behind as he leaves.
LATER IN THE PROGRAM:
[12:53:38 - 12:54:55 1 min 17 sec]
KING: Let's come back into the room, and again, we're heading into a holiday weekend capping what's been a remarkable week here in Washington. This public back and forth between the President and the Speaker. She questions his well-being, she says he needs an intervention. He says he is a very stable genius thank you very much, and re-tweets a doctored video of her. Saying he didn't know anything about that as he leaves for this trip to Japan. Again, I've been here a long time. I don't real -- I've covered presidents actually being impeached and I don't remember a week quite like this.
MELANIE ZANONA: Right, seems like we're at a new low in the relationship between the Pelosi and the President. She has always gotten under his skin, but we have seen this sort of turning point this week. He even debuted a nickname for her, calling her crazy Nancy Pelosi, although he walked it back a little bit, saying maybe I shouldn’t use that one. But I just think that it reflects the fact that he is intimidated and threatened by the Speaker. She is a strong female figure, and unlike some of the other females in his orbit, whether it’s Kellyanne Conway, or Sarah Sanders, or Hope Hicks, she is someone not working for him. She is working against him, and I don’t think he knows how to handle her.
KING: And so there’s that personal drama and then there’s the result of that personal drama which is that it's a town that's just dysfunctional at the movement. They couldn't get a disaster aid bill through the House today. There’s a question about whether they can get the next spending bill done. The President's U.S., Mexico, Canada trade agreement, he needs Nancy Pelosi’s help. She wanted to be with him on that. I think that’s in high doubt this week.