White House adviser Kellyanne Conway faced off with NBC “Today” hosts Savannah Guthrie and Craig Melvin on Monday over some of President Donald Trump’s tweets about the London terror attack and what Conway sees as the media’s seeming lack of concern about the Islamic State and terrorism.
Guthrie said Trump’s tweets directed at London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who made a statement for the citizens of London “not to be alarmed” after Saturday night’s terrorist attack, and asked if Conway thought that Trump made a mistake in sparring with Khan over terrorism.
Khan said in a statement after the attack Saturday that there was no “reason to be alarmed.”
“Londoners will see an increased police presence today and over the course of the next few days. There’s no reason to be alarmed,” Khan said.
Sunday saw Trump respond to Khan’s comment on Twitter. The president wrote, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’”
Even after facing media scrutiny over his comments, Trump doubled down Monday morning and fired back on Twitter, writing, “Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!”
“Just as a matter of taste, and judgment, and accuracy, does the president owe the London mayor an apology for tweeting a political attack in the hours after this terrorist incident, and also misleadingly quoting him?” Guthrie asked Conway. “Was that a mistake?”
Conway immediately fired back, saying, “It wasn’t a political attack, Savannah … and as was buried in that one-sided report, here’s the other side — that the president stands firm with the people of the U.K. … and again yesterday he announced his support for the U.K. people.”
Guthrie attempted to interrupt Conway during her explanation, but Conway was not to be deterred.
“You want to make this about something other than what it’s about,” Conway retorted. “I’m just not going to allow on a day and a half after terrorists did it again — whether they’re ISIS-inspired or ISIS-directed — they’re savage murders, it’s an evil slaughter, as the president said last night. I’m not going to let him be seen as the perpetrator.”
Guthrie, though, wanted an answer and reiterated, “Does he owe an apology to London’s mayor for quoting him in a misleading and inaccurate way?”
Conway didn’t answer Guthrie’s question, instead the president’s adviser focused on the eradication of the Islamic State.
“So we’ve got the 23rd ISIS-inspired or -directed attack,” Conway answered, “taking innocent lives, children in Manchester, children in Nice … and we want to put some blameworthy-ness on Trump? I’m just not going to allow it.”
Conway was adamant that the United States stands with the U.K. and that they will receive whatever support they need going forward in combating terrorism.
Melvin then changed the subject to the topic of the president’s travel ban, which has re-emerged in headlines in recent days as the president has called the amended travel ban proposal “watered-down” and politically correct.
Trump on Monday tweeted, “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”
He continued, “The Justice Dept. should ask for an expedited hearing of the watered down Travel Ban before the Supreme Court – & seek much tougher version!” and added that “in any event we are EXTREME VETTING people coming into the U.S. in order to help keep our country safe.”
About Trump’s travel ban, Melvin said,”It was presented to the American public as an opportunity to figure out what’s going … wrong with immigration in this country. Even though it’s held up in the courts right now, what, if anything, is stopping the administration from using this time to look at this travel ban?”
Noting that the Supreme Court would have a decision within the calendar year, Conway stressed the importance of extreme vetting to protect U.S. borders.
“If you’re going to see something and say something, it has to be followed by ‘do something,’” Conway said. “This should be a non-partisan issue with bipartisan solutions.”