CNN's Chris Cuomo and White House aide Sebastian Gorka battled it out Monday in a very heated debate over whether the Trump administration was spinning the messaging on the terror travel ban.
"There are no games," Gorka said. "The president can call it whatever he likes because he has the constitutional authority to control whoever comes into this country, Chris. That's his job. The Constitution, tradition, precedents, and administrative law give him that right. If he wants to call it a ban he's the president, he's the chief officer of this administration and he has every right to do that."
"Right, and why wasn't the administration just honest about it," Cuomo responded. "Why have Sean Spicer and you and everybody else say 'it's not a ban, it's just vetting, and you're trying to make it sound like something it isn't.' The president just proved what the truth is — all this has been spin and a distraction. Why?"
"I'm not going to fall into the trap of us being the spinmeisters when CNN is one of the greatest purveyors of fake news," Gorka interjected. "The fact is it's been the same from the beginning. From the first EO to the second EO, it's one thing, Chris, it's about protecting Americans. And if anybody out there has a problem with us trying to keep Americans safe they need to look in the mirror and they need to ask themselves if they are the purveyors of fake news."
"It's always been about who it targets," Cuomo replied, "how it targets them and whether or not that will keep us safe. And you guys played games about it and said it's not a ban. I could play you Sean Spicer right now but you know it's true."
"And then the president decides to be honest about it this morning," he continued. "That is spin, you are the purveyor of spin because that was your message that it wasn't a ban and it was untrue that's why I'm asking you."
"So I guess President [Barack] Obama was also a purveyor of spin with that calculation because the executive order is based upon the Obama White House analysis of the seven nations of greatest concern for immigration into America," Gorka shot back. "Is he a purveyor of spin, Chris?
"Well, that's an interesting question," Cuomo replied.
"It is, isn't it?" Gorka laughed.
— New Day (@NewDay) June 5, 2017
The debate devolved into shouting at this point, with Cuomo trying to get back to his question, and Gorka bringing up the most populous Arab nation, Egypt, and the most populous Muslim nation, Indonesia.
"The facts are not your friend because that move with the executive order from the Obama administration was about travel to those countries," Cuomo claimed. "It was about whose coming in and out and why. Your order is about Muslims. About targeting Muslims and keeping them out and allowing those who are not Muslims a carve-out, to come in. Very different."
"So if this had anything and I mean anything, to do with race or religion, why would those two nations, the most populous Muslim nation and the most populous Arab nation, not be included in the executive order?" Gorka demanded. "Explain that logic to me, because this is where your spin fails. This is where the fake news propaganda collapses, because if we had some dark dread ulterior motive, then those are the two first nations you would put on the list, not the seven nations the Obama White House identified as the greatest concern. So please answer that question."
President Trump spurred the debate once again with his tweet Monday morning calling his executive order on travel from terror-stricken countries a "ban."
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!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1496658302.0
The White House is taking its argument for their travel ban to the Supreme Court to be decided once and for all.