Brian Stelter wants us to believe that anti-Trump media doesn’t exist, but on Friday, his own network published a “fact check” that claims Trump “promoted” a birther conspiracy theory about Kamala Harris.
“President Donald Trump spent years pushing lies about the birthplace and presidential eligibility of President Barack Obama, the first Black president,” the “fact check” begins. “On Thursday, he started floating a new birther lie about Sen. Kamala Harris, who, if elected, would be the first Black and Asian American vice president.”
Spoiler alert: He did no such thing.
Here’s a transcript of Trump’s exchange with a reporter about the story.
Q There are claims circulating on social media that Kamala Harris is not eligible to be — to run for Vice President because she was an “anchor baby,” I quote. Do you or can you definitively say whether or not Kamala Harris is eligible — legal — and meets the legal requirements to run as Vice President?
THE PRESIDENT: So, I just heard that. I heard it today that she doesn’t meet the requirements. And, by the way, the lawyer that wrote that piece is a very highly qualified, very talented lawyer. I have no idea if that’s right. I would’ve — I would have assumed the Democrats would have checked that out before she gets chosen to run for Vice President.
THE PRESIDENT: But that’s a very serious — you’re saying that — they’re saying that she doesn’t qualify because she wasn’t born in this country?
Q She was.
Q No, she was born in this country, but her parents did not — the claims say that her parents did not receive their permanent residence at that time.
THE PRESIDENT: Yeah, I don’t know about it. I just heard about it. I’ll take a look.
And here’s the video.
CNN claims that Trump promoted the conspiracy theory, but he wasn’t even the one who brought it up—the reporter did. And he not only said he assumed Democrats would have properly vetted her, but twice he said he only just heard about it and doesn’t know anything about the claims. This is CNN equating Trump answering a question about it with actively promoting it.
CNN’s Don Lemon referred to the exchange on his show Thursday. “Every single day, another lie, another conspiracy theory, another racist dog whistle,” Lemon lamented. “Every day. It’s like Groundhog’s Day for alternative realities. It is clear that this president will stop at nothing to win re-election, using everything at his disposal to achieve his goal.”
Was this the goal of the reporter? Ask the question of Trump so the media can claim he was “promoting” the conspiracy theory that Kamala Harris isn’t eligible to be vice president? Trump quite clearly was unaware of the details of the claim, having only just heard about it. But in CNN’s fantasy land, that’s the same thing as Trump running ads promoting the conspiracy theory.
But, you know, the anti-Trump media supposedly doesn’t exist.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis