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Former presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway took to social media Tuesday evening to push back against a quote misattributed to her by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden during his first debate with President Donald Trump.
At one point during the debate, the two candidates were addressing the rioting and violence seen in major U.S. cities across the country throughout the summer following the George Floyd incident in May.
President Trump made the point that the vast majority of the violence was occurring in Democrat-run cities when Biden responded with the claim that Conway once said the violence was “better for us,” meaning the president’s reelection chances.
“Thanks for debate shout-out, creepy/sleepy/weepy JOE, but you lied. And don’t sniff my hair, either,” Conway tweeted, along with a video clip of Biden making the same claim during an earlier interview along with one of Conway’s actual statement, in context.
WATCH: During an interview with MSNBC, Joe Biden misrepresented a quote from @KellyannePolls. She didn’t say that the violence happening in Democrat-run cities is "better for us." Here’s the video comparing the two sets of comments… pic.twitter.com/n1ehpRXKvr
— TV News HQ (@TVNewsHQ) August 27, 2020
In the first clip, Biden tells MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, “I’ve got a quote here from Kellyanne Conway, she says, ‘The more chaos and anarchy and vandalism..the, and violence reigns…it equals…it’s better for us, it’s better for us, it’s a very clear choice it presents for us.”
The next clip features Conway in an interview with Fox News in which she is addressing violence in U.S. cities, saying: “I also noticed there was a quote today from a restauranteur in Wisconsin saying, ‘Are you protesters trying to get Donald Trump reelected?’ He knows, full stop, and I guess Mayor Pete (Buttigieg) knows full stop, that the more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on whose best on public safety.”
In a fact-check, Graham Lear, writing at Medium last month, debunked the claim that Conway said the Trump campaign said the violence was “better for us.”
CLAIM: “One of Trump’s top advisors … expressed hope for more discord and violence in our cities.”
VERDICT: False. She was commenting on the widely-acknowledged fact that riots were hurting Democrats politically.
“Former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign attempted to blame President Donald Trump for nationwide riots in a statement Thursday night after the close of the Republican National Convention,” Lear wrote.
“The statement claimed: ‘Before tonight’s convention, one of Trump’s top advisors even expressed hope for more discord and violence in our cities in a cynical ploy to use division as a political strategy.’”
Lear noted further that Conway’s initial comments were in response to claims from Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind. and, at the time, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, that riots were occurring “on Donald Trump’s watch.”
“That is not a ‘hope’ for violence. It is a simple observation that Democrats’ inability to stop the violence in the cities and states that they govern makes the case stronger for Trump’s re-election. Others have made similar observations,” Lear noted.
That includes CNN’s Don Lemon, who noted in late August during his program that the ongoing riots and violence on American streets was hurting Democrats in the polls.
“I think this is a blind spot for Democrats. I think Democrats are hoping this will go away, and it’s not going to go away,” Lemon said during back-and-forth with fellow CNN host Chris Cuomo, in reference to rioting in Kenosha, Wis., that turned deadly.
“I think maybe Joe Biden may be afraid to do it. I’m not sure. Maybe he won’t, maybe he is. He’s got to address it,” Lemon continued, suggesting Biden should make it appear as though Trump is somehow responsible for the rioting.
“But guess what? The rioting has to stop. Chris, as you know, and I know it’s showing up in the polling, it’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing right now that is sticking,” he said.
During Tuesday’s debate, Trump noted that riots and looting also occurred during the Obama-Biden administration following police-involved shootings in cities like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, which Biden incorrectly dismissed as inaccurate.
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