When CNN host Christiane Amanpour came face to face with Kellyanne Conway on Monday evening, she got straight to the point and wasted no time addressing the “elephant in the room” after a pair of deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend.
Amanpour stated, “you are his senior counselor, and many, many people are asking whether now, all these words that he’s used, all these phrases that he’s used, will he follow up on what he urged the country today to put aside racial hatred, white supremacy and just stop all this hatred?” Amanpour asked Conway. “Will he do that now?”
Conway responded by saying that “he already did it,” then turned around to accuse the Democrats running to unseat her boss of using “really hateful language.” Amanpour reminded her that Trump also accused the “fake news” of “spreading hatred and division” in the wake of the shootings.
Amanpour kept returning to the rhetoric that Trump has spewed and was directly mirrored in the El Paso shooter’s manifesto, including the description of an “invasion” at the Southern border. Amanpour also played the clip of Trump laughing during a rally in the Florida panhandle earlier this year when someone in his audience suggested “shooting” migrants. “Only in the panhandle can you get away with that statement,” the president joked.
Amanpour said, “Kellyanne, you’re his senior counselor, you are really close to him, do you countenance those words that the president uses? Do you try to tell him not to use those words like ‘invasion,’ like ‘infestation,’ like all the words he uses which are associated with hate speech?”
Conway continued to deflect, trying to make the conversation about James Comey, Robert Mueller and the death penalty, stating “I’d like to know if the 2020 crowd who was preening and screaming all over your network and elsewhere is going to look America in the eye and somehow tell us that the death penalty should not be considered for this monster,”
Amanpour replied at one point in an effort to get the interview back on track, “I’m trying to have a grown-up conversation with you.” When Conway accused the host of “not wanting to talk about” the opioid crisis, Amanpour shot back, “No, no, it’s not that I don’t want to talk about it” and “we’re not talking about border security right now.”
When they finally returned to the initial question, Amanpour asked, “I’m asking you, will you and the president’s advisors seek to restrict his Twitter use and his other use of these words?” As Conway stalled, she added, “Yes or no? It’s simple because if it’s no, it’s stays there at the top.”
Conway ultimately refused to say one way or the other: “I’m not telling you what I discuss with the president.”