They’ve gone at it over Russia; they’ve taken each other to task on climate change; but this latest bout, between CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Kellyanne Conway, in the aftermath of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, might just take the cake.
After President Trump said for the fourth consecutive day that “today” is not the day to talk about gun violence prevention, Cuomo welcomed White House counselor Conway and began with a tough question.
“Why don’t we owe the victims of this the same consideration that they showed each other? To take on something that’s hard, that’s even dangerous, in the effort to stop this from happening to everybody else?” he asked. “Why not take this challenge on right now?”
From there, they were off the races, with Conway spinning the president and his party’s inaction on guns by characterizing Trump as consoler-in-chief only.
Within seconds, she was laying blame on President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that decided in 2010 not to regulate the “bump stock” device that helped turn the Vegas gunman’s semi-automatic rifles into automatic-style killing machines.
“You see Hillary Clinton who’s out on a book tour talking about herself, not talking about this,” Conway added. “You see her rushing to judgment on Twitter the other day while people are still looking through the rubble, searching through the hospitals for their missing loved ones, trying to politicize it. She’s tweeted about guns exactly one time this year. Bernie Sanders, zero times. Elizabeth Warren, zero times. They have tweeted about Russia over 30 times, Sanders and Warren.”
Then she pivoted to attack CNN, saying, “Your obsession with Russia has been to the exclusion of this conversation. So I know the high-horse cavalry loves to run in, beating and thumping their chests after the tragedies, but let’s step back and have a thoughtful conversation about everything that is at play here.”
Cuomo has come back hard at Conway in the past, but this time he could do little more than sigh and tell her how “tired” he is. “I have to tell you, a lot of this just doesn’t wash,” he said. “All you need to know about the bump stock is that it was legal and that’s what allowed him to lay down that field of fire. That’s all you need to know about it. There’s no thoughtful conversation to have about it.”
“Don’t cheapen what happened in Las Vegas,” Cuomo told Conway. “The president says ‘not now’ and then it never happens. Whether you want to put it on Sanders or any other Democrat, you say they don’t talk about it except when these happen. Yeah, that’s right! Because when it happens there’s acute need and there’s focus. And when you say, well we don’t want to talk about it now, you’re ignoring the urgency and you’re hoping it goes away.”
“You need to seize on the urgency of this otherwise it will never happen,” Cuomo added. “If you care about the victims, you care about why they were killed.”
But while Conway insisted that Trump “cares” about the victims of the shooting, she could offer up nothing that his administration is doing to address the problem besides sending thoughts and prayers and visiting hospitals.
Instead, all she had to give was blame for those who have been at least willing to try.