White House press secretary Josh Earnest got challenged on the administration position regarding the Planned Parenthood videos this morning from an unlikely corner.
While on CNN this morning to discuss current congressional action including this afternoon’s Planned Parenthood vote, host Chris Cuomo noted that signs don’t point to a government shutdown “because you won’t get enough lefties to join on to turn over the funding for Planned Parenthood.”
“But is this a moment in time to take a look at what Planned Parenthood does and say selling fetal baby parts for science or for whatever reason is not good? Because that’s what the other side is saying,” Cuomo said.
“Well, Chris, I don’t have a whole lot of insight into the specific policies and procedures that Planned Parenthood follows,” Earnest replied. “But what they say is they say they follow the highest ethical standards in the industry.”
“You saw the videos. No high ethical standards in play there. Base stuff, ugly stuff,” Cuomo fired back.
Earnest said “there’s no denying the fact that the organization that is clearly anti-Planned Parenthood that put out the videos put them out not because of news value but because of shock value.”
“And I haven’t seen the videos, but even based on the news coverage, those videos are shocking,” he said.
That means Earnest still hasn’t watched the Center for Medical Progress videos since he was pressed about them in the daily press briefing last week.
“But those who have taken a look at the videos have raised concerns about whether or not those videos are authentic, about whether or not they have been selectively edited in a way to misconstrue or even distort or mislead about what it is that Planned Parenthood actually does. So I haven’t seen the videos. I can’t render my own judgment on that. But people who have looked at the videos have raised significant concerns about that. And I think anybody would question the source. I think that’s legitimate,” Earnest continued.
“What the president has said is that Planned Parenthood provides valuable services, healthcare services, for men and women all across the country. And he would veto any legislation that tried to advance wholesale defunding for Planned Parenthood because federal rules already require that Planned Parenthood they cannot use federal money to perform abortions. But what they do is they do use federal funding to provide health care services for men and women all across the country. That is a valuable service. And it would be a shame if we saw Republicans once again trying to take a step that would limit women’s access to healthcare.”
Later, when Cuomo had Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.) on the show, the CNN host explained he didn’t challenge Earnest “about whether or not he watched the video because, frankly, he is a press spokesperson and he puts out the White House position.”
Black said it was “unacceptable” that Earnest has not watched the videos.
“Those videos have been out there,” said the congresswoman and former nurse. “And if he’s going to be talking about it, he ought to at least know what’s on the video before he makes those comments.”