We have seen that the Trump campaign, if not Trump himself, has said President Obama was born in the United States. At the same time, Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson was defending the candidates’ own refusal to answer.
Megyn Kelly took to her show, Fox News’ The Kelly File, sitting down with Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson and Clinton supporters DNC member Robert Zimmerman, to talk about Trump’s birtherism, specifically, his statement to The Washington Post, that,
“I’ll answer that question at the right time. I just don’t want to answer it yet.”
Kelly, and this is not the first time she has had to school the Trump spox, asked Pierson,
“Why, for the love of God, won’t he just say that Barack Obama was born in the United States?”
Pierson equated answering questions directly with the expectation that Donald Trump “is some robotic politician,” and that after 15 months, journalists are unreasonable to think Trump is going to actually answer any direct questions.
“He’s not going to let the media determine what he talks about,” Pierson instructed Kelly. “Mr. Trump is going to be Mr. Trump. He will respond when he feels like it.” According to Pierson, asking Trump questions are “diversionary tactics,” and she singled out CNN.
In response, Kelly played the tape of both Kellyanne Conway and Rudy Giuliani saying Trump believes Obama was born in the US.
Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:
MEGYN KELLY: Why wouldn’t he say it when asked tonight?
KATRINA PIERSON: Well, simply because he has said that he does not talk about that anymore. First thing is, Barack Obama is not on the ballot, and not even relevant to this election cycle.
KELLY: Katrina, no. That’s not gonna fly.
PIERSON: No, Megyn, this is going to fly.
KELLY: No, that’s not gonna fly, does he believe it or not?
PIERSON: This is completely irrelevant — This is completely irrelevant to the election cycle.
KELLY: It’s not completely irrelevant. You have a lot of people in this country, in particular, African-Americans, who feel that that position was a racist position meant to delegitimize the president. I’m taking no position on this, I’m relaying to you what they’ve said, and his own campaign manager came out and said he has shifted his belief on this, and now when asked directly he refuses to confirm that. Why?
PIERSON: And you also have a poll in South Carolina that shows that Mr. Trump is pushing on 30 percent African-American support, and Hillary Clinton —
KELLY: That’s a dodge.
PIERSON: And Hillary Clinton has insulted half of the country.
KELLY: That’s a dodge.
PIERSON: This is not —
KELLY: Why won’t you answer that question?
PIERSON: No, it’s not, Megyn. I’m telling you, Mr. Trump has said he’s not going to talk about it. I’ve given you the answer.
KELLY: He said “yet” —
PIERSON: You want to know why?
KELLY: He said “yet.” There’s like, a tease baked into it, “I just don’t want to answer it yet.” Robert, what do you think?
PIERSON: The media is not going to force Mr. Trump to say anything that he is not ready to say.
A clearly exasperated Kelly at this point almost shouted at Pierson:
“The media didn’t force him to come out and take a position being a birther, but he did!”
Kelly then explained why it is relevant:
“And now we’re following up because he wants to be commander in chief.”
Zimmerman’s answer to the charge that expecting Trump to answer questions is expecting him to be “robotic” was tweeted by Kelly:
.@ZimmermanRob: It’s not about asking Donald Trump to be robotic. It’s about asking him to have honor and decency, and respect for the truth
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) September 16, 2016
The interview went downhill from there, as Kelly seemed to team with Pierson (whom she called “Kat”) against Zimmerman, showing a smug amusement at every point he tried to raise. But then, Fox News has never given a liberal viewpoint a fair shake.
It is amusing to note that while Pierson insists President Obama is not relevant to the election cycle, Donald Trump is more than willing to launch attacks against Obama. When Trump is making up lies about the US economy he is saying Obama is very much relevant to the discussion. After all, he’s claiming he’s going to fix the economy Obama already fixed, and create the jobs Obama already created.
And in fact, Kellyanne Conway has publicly said this election has everything to do with Obama, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “There’s no question to me he was born in the United States, but he’s not been a particularly successful President, and that’s what this campaign is about.”
To her credit, the Kelly that stood up to Pierson was the occasional journalist we sometimes see, and she hammered Pierson with questions which, to no ones surprise, Pierson refused to answer.
To be fair, any answer Pierson gave would have been nonsensical based on past answers. Who can forget her classic defense of Trump’s flip-flop on immigration: “There’s not a different message. He’s using different words to give that message.”
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.