A Sunday morning CNN interview between Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter and Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump, quickly veered off topic after Stelter interpreted one of Conway’s remarks as an attack on the network.
Leading off with a question about Anthony Scaramucci and what might change now that he is the new White House communications director, Conway began her answer by noting that she, like Scaramucci, was at CNN studios in New York’s Time Warner Center, where the two White House staffers have been chatting between news segments.
“We’re very happy to come and take questions from, I think, an outlet that’s been systematically against this president. I guess you made the business decision to do so,” Conway contended, “but we’re here trying to connect the American people with the president’s message and answer your questions as respectfully as we can.”
After Conway recited a laundry list of the administration’s accomplishments that she thinks have not been given “complete coverage” — including job creation, new stock market highs, and veterans’ health care options — Stelter followed up by asking, “Why does attacking CNN make America great again?”
“I’m sure you want that to go viral,” Conway quickly replied. “No, I’m not attacking CNN. I’m wondering why CNN spends its time on —”
Interrupting Conway, Stelter clarified why he asked the question. “You said the company made a business decision to be unfair to the president, when in fact what we are trying to do is cover a very unusual president and try to explain what the heck is going on at a White House that seems awfully dysfunctional,” he explained.
“Let’s break that down,” Conway shot back. “First of all, that’s not fair and I constantly hear this coming out of the mouths of people that have never worked in any White House, let alone this White House. If you want a more candid, clear look at the functioning of the White House, I invite you inside.”
She added, “I’m a very accessible person; I think you’ll find with Anthony Scaramucci and others in the White House, we’re tough but humble. This is the people’s house; you are welcome to see, but we never get those calls. We just turn on the TV and we see a one-way non-conversation using words that are meant to deride and deny the president his due; they’re incredibly disrespectful. So I’m not here to attack CNN.”
“It’s not our job to do your PR, it’s your job,” said Stelter. He also told Conway she’s always welcome on the show.
Watch the full exchange above.