MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin attempted to fact-check President Donald Trump’s campaign official, Steve Cortes, on the lies coming out of the campaign, but Cortes refused to back down, instead claiming that the host was calling him a “liar.”
Cortes began Tuesday by joining other campaign members accusing Vice President Joe Biden of refusing to have his ears inspected by a third party to prove he’s not wearing an earpiece. They falsely claimed that Biden agreed to it but then pulled back on the agreement. The Biden campaign has said that isn’t true. So, Mohyeldin asked Cortes who made the agreement with the Biden team. Cortes fumbled around, saying it was “the campaign,” but Mohyeldin demanded to know what the name was of the campaign official who made the agreement. Cortes said there was a “debate negotiating committee” who made all the demands. He ultimately couldn’t name the name.
When Biden spokesperson, Kate Bedingfield, came on after the interview, she explained that the reason Cortes couldn’t come up with the name is that it was all a lie and he knew it.
Cortes was faced with screen captures of ads the Trump campaign is running where they doctored a photo of Biden wearing an Apple headphone in his ear and lying about the investigation of his ears.
“Again, the Biden campaign said this is false and it’s ridiculous. I’m giving you a chance now, do you apologize for misleading millions of people about making that false statement?” asked Mohyeldin.
“No. I didn’t mislead anybody,” said Cortes falsely said. “Give me your proof that’s false.”
“That’s not how it works. You don’t make a false statement and say prove it’s not false,” said Mohyeldin.
The interview devolved into chaos before Cortes shouted, “you called me a liar on national television.”
They then pivoted to an ad about the fake earpiece, and Cortes said it was the first time he’s seeing it and that he wasn’t told they’d be discussing it.
“It’s on your screens,” said Mohyeldin.
“I don’t know what –” Cortes struggled.
“That’s a Trump campaign ad from Facebook,” Mohyeldin explained.
“I don’t know that. I’m not willing to take your word for it, quite frankly,” Cortes said, refusing to respond to the false ads.
Cortes then claimed that Mohyeldin was trying to engage in a “gotcha moment.” Asking about an ad the campaign is running seems like the very basics a campaign spokesperson should be capable of discussion, but Cortes simply refused to do it.
At the start of the interview, Cortes went after Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who has become one of Trump’s favorite people to attack while on the campaign trail.
“You probably heard him say in his country, you know what people go through to become citizens,” Mohyeldin began. “Do you honestly think they should be treated as less American for it and not be considered part of this country?”
“Look, I don’t believe Ilhan Omar is less than American, assuming that her naturalization was legitimate and there’s a lot of questions about it. She has to answer a lot of questions,” said Cortes, inventing a conspiracy theory about Omar.
“You’re saying her naturalization is not legitimate?” asked Mohyeldin.
“No, I’m saying I don’t know. But I’m saying there are a lot of questions which she had yet to answer. About marriages, about documents. And she certainly needs to answer a lot of questions about these recent revelations in the Project Veritas videos about the vote-rigging at her behest,” said Cortes, citing the disgraced group that doctors videos to prove conspiracy theories.
“I didn’t say evidence I said questions,” Cortes ultimately confessed.
The tactic of saying “there are questions” or “people say” is one of the ways Trump and his team have used false information and conspiracy theories to their benefit. It’s akin to saying “people say, Donald Trump, secretly wears women’s underwear.” Merely saying he must answer the questions about it births the conspiracy. Cortes was once a paid pundit on CNN, but was kicked off at the beginning of the year. It’s unclear if his lies were the cause.
See the insane interview below: