On Monday, CNN's Chris Cuomo clashed with Republican adviser Scott Jennings over President Donald Trump's decision to fire pollsters that showed him losing to former Vice President Joe Biden.
"I don't want to get too in the weeds for people especially this far out," said Cuomo. "But the word of one of the reasons that there's some resonance and relevance of the internal polls that the president lied to the American people about in terms of what they say is his lying, Scott, that it's a problem. It's a problem for him across the country. It makes people wonder whether or not they can count on his word. When you see a scenario like this one, don't believe the polls, they were your own polls, Scott, from inside the campaign. How damaging is that to this president?"
"Well," said Jennings, who served as an adviser to President George W. Bush and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. "I think most people would expect any campaign to put on a show of confidence that hey, don't worry about the polling, we're running a strong campaign, we have money in the bank—"
"He said they were incorrect. He said it was fake news," Cuomo corrected him. "He didn't say I'll be better than my poll numbers. He said we were lying about it. He was lying about it."
"Yeah, look, if I were the president, I would say it's going to be an exceedingly close election, the polls are going to show us down, the polls may show us up but don't listen to any of it because it's an exceedingly close race," said Jennings. "The correct line is, don't focus on it. Just focus on the fact that it's close, every vote matters and it's going to matter in about—"
"But it's not about what's correct," insisted Cuomo. "This is one of those moments that I know always is a challenge for you when you have to come on. I'm not talking about the president. I'm talking about you, Scott, and Republicans like you. What will be the lie that is too much for you? He lied about his internal polling data. He then fires the pollsters because he thinks they leaked ... The data comes out. He was lying about it. When will it be too much for you guys? Because any one of these, if you flipped his name, I'll put a D next to him instead of an R, you'd go crazy about any of these lies. When will it be too much for you?"
"I don't think Republicans are going to abandon the president over inside baseball—"
"No, just to call out the lie!" Cuomo exclaimed. "No internal baseball. This is lying. When will you say, I'm a conservative, character counts? I've been saying this my whole adult life, I'm not going to stop saying this now. He's got to stop lying. When?"
"Yeah, look," said Jennings uncomfortably, "I believe in most cases it would be better to tell the truth than anything else. There's no reason to lie about polling here."
"In most cases it would be better to tell the truth?" laughed Cuomo. "Vote for me. In most cases I think it's better to tell the truth."