The national spokesperson for the Donald Trump campaign was grilled Monday by CNN host Wolf Blitzer who repeatedly asked whether it was appropriate for a campaign aide to accuse 2016 rival Ted Cruz of employing "Gestapo tactics."
"Your convention manager Paul Manafort accused Ted Cruz's campaign, he used these words, of engaging in 'Gestapo tactics' after the clean sweep of the delegates on Saturday in Colorado. Is that characterization, 'Gestapo tactics,' really appropriate?" Blister asked.
Spokeswoman Katrina Pierson said John Kasich's campaign had been vocal about "strong-arm" tactics used by Cruz "which is essentially the same thing."
Blitzer continued to look for an answer.
"Is it appropriate to use the word Gestapo?" the CNN host asked. "Because I assume you know what the Gestapo did."
"Well, it is a word to define exactly the type of malice that is involved in going after some of these delegates in a very hostile and intimidating way," Pierson said.
"But, Katrina, you know what the Gestapo did during World War II. That word should not be used to talk about the tactics that the Cruz campaign engaged — that was inappropriate, right?" Blitzer pressed.
"Well, again, you are talking about a campaign that doesn't really care much about political correctness. And if it's a term that just simply describes —," Pierson said.
Blitzer interjected, "But it's inappropriate. Gestapo. You don't use the word Gestapo to talk about a political campaign in the United States. That gives the Gestapo too much credit, right? Don't you think he wish he could have taken that back?"
"Well, where was all this hostility and concern when Mr. Trump was being called Hitler? So no. I think this is just another situation where it is a word to determine how hostile that this has gone on in these states for these delegates. And I think it was a word that lets everyone know exactly what he was talking about," Pierson fired back.
"So you don't want to back away from that word, 'Gestapo?'" Blitzer pressed again.
"No," Pierson said. "And the Kasich campaign also talked about the strong-arm tactics that—"
"Strong-arm tactics is one thing," Blitzer interjected. "But the Gestapo — you know what they did during World War II. You know the millions of people, especially Jews, who were murdered."
"Yes, he was talking about the exact same thing," Pierson said. "The strong-arm tactics that the Cruz campaign has been using. The intimidation."
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