CNN's Golodryga Pushes Conspiracy Theory Regarding Mick Mulvaney's Coughing

The panel on Monday’s edition of The Situation Room obsessed over a segment of President Trump’s interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, where President Trump “becomes really angry at his Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney.” President Trump expressed his frustration with Mulvaney, who was audibly coughing as President Trump sat down with Stephanopoulos in the Oval Office, asking him to “please leave the room” if he had to cough again.

One member of the panel, Bianna Golodryga, brought up a conspiracy theory suggesting that Mulvaney coughed on purpose so the President did not have to talk about his tax returns. President Trump and Stephanopoulos were discussing the President’s financial statement and whether or not he was going to release his tax returns when Mulvaney began to cough.

Perhaps with that in mind, CNN Contributor Bianna Golodryga raised her conspiracy theory relating to Mulvaney’s coughing: “One theory I read and I didn’t even think about it from this perspective but given the subject and the sensitivity surrounding his tax returns, somebody pointed out that maybe it was Mick Mulvaney trying to save the President.”

 

 

Apparently, the panel on The Situation Room had little to talk about Monday night; as the coughing incident came up again during the 6:00 p.m. hour. In addition to replaying what went down in the Oval Office, host Wolf Blitzer played a clip of an interview he did with Trump 20 years ago, where he expressed his displeasure for shaking hands. The panel used that tape as well as the ABC interview to scornfully paint President Trump as a germaphobe and a perfectionist.  

CNN chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin described the idea of the President kicking Mulvaney out of his office as “just wackadoodle stuff.” The fact that the coughing incident even made it into the finished product of the ABC interview might also qualify as “wackadoodle stuff.” After all, President Trump requested to Stephanopoulos “let’s do that over” after Mulvaney coughed.

Ordinarily, President Trump’s scolding of Mulvaney would not have made it past the cutting room floor.  However, the folks at ABC must have predicted that the liberal media would not be able to resist the opportunity to paint President Trump as cold.  This segment on The Situation Room proves that prediction correct.

A transcript of the relevant portion of Monday’s edition of The Situation Room is below. Click “expand” to read more.

The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer

06/17/19

05:31 PM

 

WOLF BLITZER: I want to play a clip from you from the ABC News interview with the President where he grows…becomes really angry at his White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, at some point, I might. But at some point, I hope they get it because it’s a, it’s a fantastic financial statement. It’s a fantastic financial statement. And…let’s do that over. He’s coughing in the middle of my answer.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, okay.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: I don’t like that, you know. I don’t like that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your Chief of Staff.

TRUMP: If you’re going to cough, please leave the room.

MICK MULVANEY: Maybe you should get a shot of…you know, I’ll come over here.

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You just can’t…

(CROSSTALK)

TRUMP: You just can’t…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Just a change of shot.

TRUMP: Okay?

MULVANEY: Sorry, Mr. Trump.

BLITZER: What’s your analysis?

CILLIZZA: Oh, okay. Well, a few things. One, remember, Donald Trump’s formative experience prior to becoming President of the United States, his immediate past experience was what? As a reality T.V. star and executive producer, right? So that’s what you see there, at least in part, which is he wants the audio to be clear. Even before he says let’s do it over again, he repeats “it’s going to be a wonderful financial statement” so that they have that without the Mick Mulvaney cough. That’s one…point one. Point two, let’s remember and I don’t think this was his driving impetuous. I think it was the producer in him. But Donald Trump, noted germaphobe, does not like to shake hands, does not like to be around sick people. Who does? I mean, I get it when people have colds, you know. But some of all of that goes into it. It’s just how he treats people. This is his Chief of Staff. I will say, Wolf Blitzer would not treat someone like that. I have coughed, I have sneezed before on set, right?

(LAUGHTER)

CILLIZZA: There is a sort of an understanding that some things...

BORGER: Have some water, right.

CILLIZZA: …are involuntary reactions.

CILLIZZA: I don’t think Mick Mulvaney was like here is the time when I can cough and draw attention to myself. He just…the, the last part there is so telling where he kind of does the…

BLITZER: Yeah.

CILLIZZA: As though he has been wronged…

BORGER: Angry.

CILLIZZA: …in some meaningful way by his Chief of Staff coughing.

BLITZER: It was very, Bianna, it was very, very awkward.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Well, look, speaking of leaking information, I’m surprised that portion of the interview wasn’t leaked, given that it was recorded last week. I didn’t watch it last night but I read through the transcript and this stood out at me. I didn’t understand what was going on with this cough. And the President, even moments later, brought it back up with George when George thanked him for the interview. And he said…you agree with me, right, on the cough? It’s really bad.

CILLIZZA: Yeah.

GOLODRYGA: But he’s been known to humiliate his team in the past as well. Look at what he said about Chris Christie. Look at what he said about Rex Tillerson. So this isn’t that novel in that sense. But, you know, one theory I read…and I didn’t even think about it from this perspective but given the subject and the sensitivity surrounding his tax returns, somebody pointed out that maybe it was Mick Mulvaney trying to save the President and not trying to create a sound bite that could be used later on for ABC. But of course, that wasn’t what the President thought of and quickly, quickly got frustrated with him as we saw.

(…)

06:20:26 PM

BLITZER: All right, let’s move on to that coughing incident, David Swerdlick. I want to play a clip from the George Stephanopoulos ABC News interview with the President when he was answering a question. All of a sudden, the White House Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, started coughing. That irritated the President. I’m going to play that clip. But then I’m going to play something the President told me about coughing some 20 years ago. He was a private citizen then.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)

PRESIDENT TRUMP: No, at some point, I might. But at some point, I hope they get it because it’s a, it’s a fantastic financial statement. It’s a fantastic financial statement. And…let’s do that over. He’s coughing in the middle of my answer.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yeah, okay.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: I don’t like that, you know. I don’t like that.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Your Chief of Staff.

TRUMP: If you’re going to cough, please leave the room.

MICK MULVANEY: Maybe you should get a shot of…you know, I’ll come over here.

TRUMP: You just can’t…

TRUMP: You just can’t…

STEPHANOPOULOS: Just a change of shot.

TRUMP: Okay?

MULVANEY: Sorry, Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: I certainly haven’t changed. I mean, look, the concept of…the other day, a man comes up. He’s walking out and he sneezes. He grabs his nose. He sneezes. And he says, “Mr. Trump, how are you?” Now I’m supposed to shake his hand and be happy with him? The guy’s got a terrible cold…

BLITZER: If you’re a politician on a rope…

TRUMP: …he sneezes.

BLITZER: …line, you have got no choice.

TRUMP: I guess if you’re a politician. So, maybe, therefore. Who knows? Look, I do the shaking hands. I think it’s a terrible custom. I think it’s a very, very terrible custom. A lot of people are agreeing with me. I have more letters on that one subject than anything, where they’re saying you’re right about shaking hands. Who needs to do it? But I do it. I do it sometimes begrudgingly. I mean, I have had many cases you’re eating dinner, and you see some nice gentleman come out of the bathroom, and he comes over to you and he grabs: “Oh, Mr. Trump, I want to...”

TRUMP: Now, the good news is, you don’t eat that roll. You just keep it away.

TRUMP: But the fact is, it’s…it’s almost barbaric in a certain way, and especially nowadays. I don’t think it’s good, but I do it.

BLITZER: How revealing you think all of that is?

DAVID SWERDLICK: I think it’s revealing on a couple of levels, Wolf. First, I thought that was a great interview that you did with then private citizen Donald Trump. Look, I think that for him to say it’s barbaric is like, look, President Trump, all you had to do to avoid having to shake hands and be around people all the time was not run for President. This comes with the territory. But in terms of that specific interview with George Stephanopoulos, he’s in there. It’s hitting on two things that really he can’t stand. One, it’s interrupting his TV presentation. He’s all about image. And, number two, as a germaphobe, you can imagine he’s in there. He doesn’t…he doesn’t want to be distracted by something. That’s really just…as in that interview you just played, just really gets under his skin.

BLITZER: You know, Jackie, you have done some…

JEFFREY TOOBIN: I couldn’t even, I couldn’t even concentrate on the interview because I thought your glasses were so outstanding in that interview…

BLITZER: Those are my old glasses…

TOOBIN: …the round, the round ones.

BLITZER: …my old glasses.

TOOBIN: You look like John Lennon in some of the late Beatles era. I love that.

BLITZER: All right, thank you.

TOOBIN: I’m sorry.

BLITZER: Thank you.

BLITZER: You know, Jackie, let’s move beyond the glasses.

JACKIE ALEMANY: I concur.

BLITZER: You have done some…your own reporting on this going back to a, what, a former Trump campaign staffer?

ALEMANY: Yeah. Well, it’s funny. I think the President has sort of this set of unwritten rules for, you know, ranging from to never cough to John Bolton’s mustache, right, these things, these little pet peeves that really irk the President. But a former campaign staffers told me last night that during his on-boarding process, he was told to never cough or sneeze while in the presence of Trump. He thinks it’s a sign of weakness and a lack of control. Nobody ever recovers. And it seems like just another rule to this list. And, you know, as you pointed out, the President is a showman at heart. He, you know, spent many years as the star of The Apprentice, and is quite a perfectionist when it comes to what he wants to look like through the media. You know, I have heard from people who have done interviews with Trump that he’s complained about lighting, he’s complained about makeup, he’s complained about angles. And then, on top of that, being a germaphobe, coughing is obviously a nonstarter for Trump.

BLITZER: And Mick Mulvaney, still technically the acting White House Chief of Staff, how embarrassing and awkward is this on his part to be humiliated by the President?

REBECCA BUCK: There’s no question it’s awkward. But humiliation is kind of a part of the job when you sign up to work in this White House. There’s no question that Donald Trump can be intensely mercurial, that he can lash out at his staffers. So, I think Mick Mulvaney knew what he was signing up for. But the question is, how does this impact his standing within the White House, if at all? He’s been one of Trump’s favorites. He’s an intense loyalist. And Trump has liked him as a result. And, you know, his good golf game doesn’t hurt either. But something like this could impact his standing potentially.

BLITZER: Jeffrey, you wanted to make one more point?

TOOBIN: I, you know, I am pro-coughing. I don’t know. I think, you know, human beings cough sometimes. They also sneeze. The idea that, you know, you can be thrown out of the office and, and dismissed and angered…and, you know, the subject of your boss’s anger because you, because you cough is just wackadoodle stuff, as far as I’m concerned.

 

NB Daily ABC CNN The Situation Room Bianna Golodryga Jeffrey Toobin Wolf Blitzer George Stephanopoulos Mick Mulvaney
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