Politics Jake Tapper scolds Lara Trump for 'mocking Joe Biden's stutter'
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CNN's Jake Tapper scolded Lara Trump during an interview on Sunday after the daughter-in-law of the president claimed Joe Biden is in ‘cognitive decline’ and appeared to mock his stutter.
Lara Trump also dismissed chants of 'lock her up' leveled at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer during a Trump rally in the state on Saturday as a bit of 'fun', despite the Democrat recently being the target of an alleged kidnapping plot hatched by far-right extremists.
The tense exchange began when the State of the Union host aired a clip of Lara saying she feels ‘bad’ for Biden when he comes out on stage and ‘can’t get the worlds out’.
Debate transcript: Trump, Biden final presidential debate moderated by Kristen Welker
Here is the full transcript of the final presidential debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden, moderated by Kristen Welker in Nashville on Oct. 22, 2020. Headers have been added for ease of reading. © Mario Tama, Getty Images People are pictured watching the final debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden at The Abbey in West Hollywood, California. [0:00] Welker: A very good evening to both of you. This debate will cover six major topics.
‘I'm like “Joe, can ya get it out, let's get the words out, Joe.” You kinda feel bad for him,’ Lara is heard saying in the clip.
When Tapper asked her, ‘How do you think it makes little kids with stutters feel when they see you make a comment like that?’ Lara claimed she was unaware the Democratic presidential candidate was a stutterer.
‘First and foremost, I had no idea that Joe Biden ever suffered from a stutter,’ she said. ‘I think what we see on stage with Joe Biden, Jake, is very clearly a cognitive decline. That’s what I’m referring to. It makes me uncomfortable.’
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Jake Tapper calls out Lara Trump for openly mocking Joe Biden's stutter.
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Lara says, "First and foremost I had no idea that Joe Biden ever suffered from a stutter. I think what we see on Joe Biden on stage is very clearly a cognitive decline."
Tapper isn't having it.— The Recount (@therecount)
Tapper accused Lara of ‘mocking his stutter’ and protested that she has ‘absolutely no standing to diagnose somebody's cognitive decline.’
‘I would think that somebody in the family would be more sensitive to people who do not have medical licenses diagnosing politicians from afar,’ Tapper continued. ‘Plenty of people have diagnosed your father-in-law from afar, and I’m sure it offends you. You don’t have any standing’ he said.
Lara Trump pushed back that she wasn’t attempting to diagnose Biden. She said, ‘I'm saying Joe Biden is struggling at times on stage and it's 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.’
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It appeared Tapper’s patience had worn thin and he brought an abrupt end to the interview, offering Lara a deadpan observation that ‘I’m sure [your comments] were from a place of concern. We all believe that.'
The sparring between Tapper and Lara Trump started almost immediately as the segment began.
At the beginning of State of the Union on Sunday morning, Tapper noted that he had attempted to book members of the White House coronavirus task force, senior White House officials, or the heads of the CDC and FDA to discuss the administration’s middling efforts to combat the pandemic.
However, the White House reportedly declined all requests, so he seemingly resigned to interviewing Lara Trump, a campaign adviser and the wife of Eric Trump.
The veteran anchor began the segment by bringing up the president’s rally in Michigan on Saturday, in which attendees were heard chanting ‘Lock her up’ at Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, despite her recently being the target of an alleged kidnapping plot by far-right extremists.
‘I guess they said she was threatened,’ the president dismissively told the crowd of Whitmer. He then appeared to agree with the chant, adding, ‘Lock them all up.’
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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"— CNN (@CNN)
Tapper immediately grilled Lara Trump on the president’s comments.
‘Don’t you think the president should tone it down when talking about people who have literally had threats against their lives in this very, very heightened time?’ he said, adding that Whitmer’s team has said violent rhetoric towards the governor escalates every time Trump does this.
However, Lara deflected the question by claiming she too received threats on social media, provoking Tapper to say ‘I condemn it right now’, adding he’d tell any Democrat to tone it down if they were adding fuel to any proverbial fire.
Tapper then pressed Lara again on whether her father-in-law should consider helping to ease simmering temperatures.
‘He wasn’t doing anything, I don’t think, to provoke people to threaten this woman at all,’ Lara replied. ‘He was having fun at a Trump rally. And quite frankly, there are bigger issues than this right now for everyday Americans.
'You don't have any standing': Jake Tapper scolds Lara Trump for 'cognitive decline' comments about Biden
CNN's Jake Tapper confronted Lara Trump on Sunday for comments she made critiquing Joe Biden's speaking ability in public appearances. © Provided by Washington Examiner "I want to ask you about things you’ve done on the campaign trail. Joe Biden has worked to overcome a stutter," Tapper said.
‘So I think people are frustrated and, look, the president was at a rally,’ she continued. ‘It’s a fun, light atmosphere. Of course he wasn’t encouraging people to threaten this woman.’
Tapper quickly fired back that he didn’t perceive chants of ‘lock her up’ to be particularly fun.
A heated back-and-forth between the pair was ignited for the remainder of the interview.
Lara Trump repeatedly side-stepped Tapper’s questions on issues such as the Trump administration’s dismissive attitude towards mask-wearing and the president’s last negative coronavirus test.
When quizzed by Tapper as to when the president last tested negative for COVID-19 prior to the first presidential debate in Cleveland last month, Lara Trump insisted she ‘wasn’t physically there with him. And I work for the campaign, not in the White House.’
After Tapper asked her, ‘so, you don’t know?’, Lara responded that she was ‘giving my honest answer. I do not know…But I assume the answer is that he tested negative.’
‘So you don’t know for a fact?’ Tapper pressed.
‘Jake, well, why would the president knowingly test positive and go to a debate?’ Lara Trump responded.
The CNN host said he wasn’t saying that the president had done, prompting Lara to call Tapper’s initial question ‘ridiculous’.
Ahead of 3rd debate, Trump again goes after moderator. This time it's NBC's Kristen Welker he calls 'unfair.'
Trump praised Welker in the past, complementing her in January for landing a gig on NBC's "Today" show. "They made a very wise decision," Trump said."She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game," Trump tweeted Saturday.
‘I'm just trying to - we have been trying to get straight answer for weeks as to when he last tested,’ Tapper responded.
Lara Trump insisted the ‘answer is he tested negative’, but Tapper said the network had received no such clarity from the White House.
He then quizzed Lara on whether her father-in-law would be providing a negative coronavirus test before next week’s scheduled debate in Nashville.
‘You will have to ask the president that directly,’ Lara responded. ‘He just had COVID. He has now been cleared of COVID, so that means he's had a negative test. I'm sure he will have another one before he goes to this debate.’
Under Tapper’s questioning, Lara also said the Trump family will wear masks at Thursday’s debate ‘If we’re asked to’.
‘And I just want to be clear,’ she continued of the first round of presidential debates. ‘We thought that we were following the rules. We walked in with masks on. We were socially distanced sitting down. We never once moved from those seats. And we took our masks off there.
‘That's the same thing that happens in restaurants. We had all tested negative in the audience there. So, I want to be very clear on that.’
The week in polls: Trump erases Biden's bounce in Florida, Biden gains in Georgia .
In the Senate, a poll found Doug Jones may not be doomed after all. And another found Lindsey Graham's race may not be as tight as believed.They have found Biden still holding a commanding lead nationally (though down slightly from last week) and leading in 10 of 12 swing states. But Trump regained a slight polling average lead in Ohio and ate a big chunk out of Biden's leads in Pennsylvania and Minnesota. Trump also erased Biden's gains in Florida from last week, which some Democrats had hoped signaled their nominee was pulling away in the crucial Sunshine State.