MSNBC reporter Katy Tur is being criticized for her response when a congressman used the example of Obama's "hot mic" moment in 2012 in a discussion about President Trump's admiration for Russian president Putin. The exchange was made during her interview with Rep. Rooney (R-Fl.) on MSNBC Monday.
"You seem to have a lot of confidence, though," Tur challenged Rooney, "that [Trump] is going to treat Russia in as tough a way as his predecessors did."
"I do," Rooney responded, "I think he'll treat Russia more firmly than Obama."
"I'm just wondering where that confidence comes from," Tur interrupted.
"Well, he's got a lot of conservative people in the government," Rooney offered, "and you know he's a business guy so he might have spoken a little less nuanced than very trained generals and state department leaders might, but I think he knows that, as he said all through the campaign, we're gonna keep America strong. We're gonna keep America safe, both at home and abroad. And you can't do that without dealing with Russia."
Tur seemed not to be satisfied with the response as she continued to press Rooney, citing a list of Trump administration officials accused of being sympathetic to Russia and Putin.
"He also chose a number of people that were," Tur pointedly asked, "at least, in his administration, until last week, who were friendly with Russia - General Mike Flynn being one of them.
His former campaign CEO was Paul Manafort, who's got ties to Russia, his secretary of state was given the medal of friendship by Russia. So you say there's a lot of conservatives who are going to push back on Russia, but I see a lot of folks within Donald Trump's administration who have a friendlier view of Russia than maybe past administrations did.
"Well, I think it was Obama who leaned over to Putin and said, 'I'll have a little more flexibility to give you what you want after the re-election,'" Rooney replied.
"I'm sorry I don't know what you're referring to, Congressman," Tur admitted.
"Remember when he leaned over," Rooney explained, "at a panel discussion or a meeting and he said, 'I'll have more flexibility after the election' nobody ever pushed the president on what he meant by that, but I can only assume that for a thug like Putin, that it would embolden him."
Here Tur abruptly ended the conversation without responding to his explanation of the "hot mic" event.
— USA Association (@USAAssociation) February 20, 2017
Tur took to Twitter later and explained that she was, indeed, ignorant of the event the congressman was referring to.
To be fair, I didnt touch politics in 2012. I almost exclusively covered fires and shootings in NYC area. (1/2) https://t.co/BJ3RCJheIg— Katy Tur (@Katy Tur)1487631931.0
And I'd rather be honest about what I know and don't know in the moment. Got off air, did the research, then talked… https://t.co/fDrBm6Pw9B— Katy Tur (@Katy Tur)1487632075.0
The event Rooney referred to was spread widely by conservatives to harm Obama's chances in the 2012 election. The "hot mic" moment caught him saying to then-Russian president Medvedev (not Putin, as Rooney said) that he would have more flexibility after the election, as it was his last. Medvedev had responded that he would transmit the information to "Vladimir."
Katy Tur had been one of Trump's targets repeatedly during the presidential campaign of 2016, as he regularly mentioned her as an example of a biased reporter. "Fake news" has been a contentious issue in the presidential election season as Trump accuses the mainstream media of being fake, while Democrats blame the proliferation of "fake news" for Hillary's historic defeat.