In a testy interview with MSNBC’s Craig Melvin, outgoing North Carolina Republican Rep. Renee Ellmers denied that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is sinking in the polls and that he may lose in November’s election.
“It would seem based on our polling and Fox News polling, it would seem that the path to victory has gotten even more narrow over the past seven days,” said Melvin. “Would you concede that point?”
“Well, you’re giving me the poll information, but I also understand that 76 percent of Americans say this country is moving in the wrong direction,” Ellmers said. “I also know that there are thousands and thousands and thousands that are showing up at Trump rallies. So it really juxtaposes the information you’re giving me in the poll data.”
Ellmers — who lost her primary and will be leaving Congress at the end of this session — complained that the media is spending too much time talking about Trump and not about “the issues” and policy.
She went on to question the motives and veracity of the women coming forward to report that Trump groped, fondled, forcibly kissed and grabbed them.
“You know, I’m not going to say anything about the women who have come forward,” she said. “I will say that I think it’s a little curious timing three weeks before a presidential election. Donald Trump has been running for office for a year and a half.”
Melvin tried to get Ellmers to say whether the recent revelations have changed her view of Trump at all.
“Congresswoman, would you just answer that question for me?” he said. “It’s a simple question. I’ll repeat the question. Have any of those things, the aforementioned things, changed your view at all about the man at the top of the ticket?”
“No, absolutely not,” Ellmers said. “We’ve all known who Donald Trump is. This doesn’t change anything. He never claimed to be a choirboy. He never claimed to be a saint. I’m not electing or trying to help get elected the next Pope. I am trying to get elected the person who’s going to go to Washington and clean it up.”
“We have the media, we have Washington” trying to stop Trump, Ellmers said. “I do believe that this is a conjoined effort to keep this man from being president of the United States.”
Melvin asked who the parties in this “conspiracy” would be, to which Ellmers said, “Well, I think pretty much it’s the establishment we’re talking about.”
“Who’s the establishment?” Melvin asked. “Am I the establishment?”
Ellmers said that Trump doesn’t just appeal to Republicans. “He appeals to every American. That’s who Donald Trump is.”
“If he appealed to every American, he would be doing better in the polls,” Melvin shot back.
“Congresswoman, congresswoman,” Melvin said, attempting to broach Ellmers’ torrent of words. “It would seem to me, and you correct me if I’m wrong because I don’t want to get this wrong, it would seem to me you’re saying even if what these women are alleging, even if those things are true, you’re okay with that?”
But why did they all wait until three weeks before the election, Ellmers asked.
“They’ve all made it up?” Melvin said.
“No, I did not say that,” Ellmers said. “What I’m saying is that in this country, this is a country of laws and you are innocent until proven guilty. Look at all the things that have come out about Hillary Clinton which we still haven’t gotten to the bottom of because we’ve got her and her campaign colluding with the FBI, with the Department of Justice.”
FBI director James Comey is a Republican, Melvin said, “He’s involved in the conspiracy as well because he’s part of ‘the establishment?'”
“It doesn’t matter,” Ellmers insisted before pivoting to the discredited right-wing talking point that it was Hillary’s fault that U.S. military and embassy personnel died in the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“That’s the thing,” she insisted. “Women in this country do not want to be led. Women in this country do not want to be lied to. Women in this country want the truth.”
“I’m not a woman in this country, but I would argue that women don’t want to be groped, either,” Melvin said.
Watch the video, embedded below: