Two weeks after taking President Donald Trump to task over his response to the coronavirus pandemic, CNN’s Jake Tapper has turned his attention to the president’s daughter-in-law and campaign surrogate, Lara Trump.
On Sunday, Trump — the wife of POTUS’s middle son, Eric, and a senior adviser to her father-in-law’s re-election campaign — appeared on Tapper’s State of the Union program. Towards the end of her interview, the newsman chided her for previously appearing to mock the way former Vice President Joe Biden speaks; the Democratic nominee famously overcame a stutter, and was cited as an inspiration by 13-year-old Brayden Harrington, who also stutters, during the Democratic National Convention in August.
“How do you think it makes little kids with stutters feel when they see you make a comment like this that?” Tapper asked Trump after playing a clip of Harrington’s speech from the DNC alongside footage of her commenting during a campaign event in January about Biden not being able to “get the words out.”
While Trump insisted she “had no idea” about Biden’s struggle with stuttering, she added that “I think what we see on stage with Joe Biden is very clearly a cognitive decline.”
As she continued that it made her “uncomfortable” to watch Biden speak, Tapper cut her off, saying, “OK ... It’s so amazing to me that ... ‘a cognitive decline,’” trailing off as Trump repeated her claim that she was unaware of Biden’s stutter.
Tapper didn’t buy it, telling her, “I think you were mocking his stutter, and I think you have absolutely no standing to diagnose somebody’s cognitive decline.”
As Trump interjected in the background, he pressed on. “I would think that somebody in the Trump family would be more sensitive to people who do not have medical licenses diagnosing politicians from afar,” he said. “plenty of people have diagnosed your [father-in-law] from afar ... I’m sure it offends you.”
“I’m not diagnosing him,” Trump responded, at which point the two began talking over each other again.
She did get in one last parting statement, whether she knew it or not.
“It’s very concerning to a lot of people that this could be the leader of the free world. That is all I’m saying. I genuinely feel sorry for Joe Biden.”
And with that, Tapper cut in and ended the segment, saying, drily, “Thank you Lara. I appreciate it. I’m sure it was from a place of concern. We all believe that.”
The tense exchange has predictably been the talk of Twitter. While neither Tapper nor Trump has directly commented on it since, her husband was quick to weigh in. The first son called his wife a “class act,” and blasted Tapper as “so angry and smug.”
The abrupt ending wasn’t the only intense moment during the interview. Earlier on, Tapper challenged Trump’s defense of the White House’s pandemic response, as well as her father-in-law’s comments about Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer despite threats against her.
Trump campaign senior adviser Lara Trump on if the President's rhetoric against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer should be toned down: "He wasn't doing anything, I don't think, to provoke people to threaten this woman at all. He was having fun at a Trump rally" https://t.co/zdNJMUnZZ8 pic.twitter.com/xA5NDu2c21— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) October 18, 2020
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