CNN host Chris Cuomo forced Sam Clovis, a chief adviser for GOP candidate Donald Trump to admit that he had not actually seen Black Lives Matter protesters calling for a moment of silence for the Dallas shooter who killed five police officers.
Trump claimed on Fox News and at a campaign rally that he had seen protesters honoring the shooter, Micah Johnson, telling Fox host Bill O’Reilly, “I saw what they’ve said about police at various marches and rallies. I’ve seen moments of silence called for this horrible human being who shot the policemen,” according to Gawker.
According to CNN’s Ashley Killough, Trump said, “Tough marches. Anger. Hatred. Hatred! Started by a maniac! And some people ask for a moment of silence for him. For the killer!”
The spurious claim echoes one that Trump made last year that he witnessed “thousands and thousands” of Muslims celebrating the World Trade Center collapse after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. That claim has been debunked.
Cuomo pushed Clovis on Trump’s latest claim.
“Where is he getting that, Sam? We are trying to find any proof of that anywhere, and if there is no proof, what we worry about is that it is once again him calling on an image that is a very dangerous image for his own, I guess, perceived sense of momentum in a situation,” Cuomo pressed. “Kind of like the 9/11 celebrations that he believes he saw, you know. Now he says he hears people calling for a moment of silence for a murderer. Have you heard that, Sam?”
“Well, I have seen it reported that we have seen some very interesting moments in dealing with this tragedy,” Clovis responded.
But Cuomo wasn’t satisfied and accused Clovis of dodging his question.
“Either you’ve seen that they were calling for a moment of silence or you haven’t,” Cuomo said.
Clovis was then forced to admit he had not witnessed what Trump said he has witnessed.
“I personally have not,” he said, but then doubled down on the claim. “I’ve seen moments where I’ve seen in some of these demonstrations, I’ve seen there’s a reverence paid to the shooter that is really startling. I think that is — when you have a person who purposefully and with intent murders five police officers, that’s terrible, and I don’t think you should celebrate that in any way, shape or form.”
Cuomo closed the interview by pointing out that even if people are at their worst after a tragedy, leaders must be at their best.
Watch the exchange, as posted by Media Matters, here: