‘Don’t Talk About the Press’: Acosta Fights With Former Trump Advisor

News & Politics

On Friday, CNN’s Newsroom with Jim Acosta hosted an interview with Bryan Lanza, who was the deputy communications director for Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. The discussion quickly got heated as the two disagreed on how the recent presidential debate went.

Acosta unsurprisingly started the segment by sharing a CNN analysis regarding Trump: “at least one lie for every three minutes.” He added that supposedly “Donald Trump made more than 30 false claims during last night’s 90-minute debate.” Also, according to CNN, President Joe Biden only made “nine false or misleading claims.”

He then made an outrageous claim that Biden actually “let Trump off the hook with a shaky performance” because Trump “was lying over and over again.”

Lanza responded “Listen, I wouldn’t say Joe Biden let Donald Trump off the hook at all last night. I think what we saw last night was the mental deterioration of Joe Biden.”

He continued to state that “what the American public saw was a president who just doesn’t have the cognitive fitness to be president.”

Lanza also hinted that the 25th Amendment may be exercised next month if the “Democratic Party tries to find a new candidate.”

In response to Acosta claiming Trump lied about Democrats’ abortion beliefs, Lanza then countered how Trump “was proud of nominating Supreme Court justices who did overturn Roe v. Wade.”

He reminded Acosta that “CNN can sort of cover, or MSNBC and Atlas can try to sort of focus on the lies,” but Acosta quickly interjected before he could finish his point, ““Don’t go — don’t talk about the press. Come on. He’s lying over and over again. No, Bryan, he said that January 6th defendants are, quote, ‘so innocent.’”

The subtle discussion quickly turned into a competition of both men trying to talk over the other. Acosta decided to not give up as he continued to interrupt Lanza and prohibit him from speaking his thoughts. Acosta declared “We’re focusing on what Donald Trump said last night because he lied repeatedly over and over again.”

Focusing back on the voters’ view of the debate, Lanza stated:

“So, all voters at this particular point made a decision that January 6th is not relevant to their lives. They’re saying inflation is relevant to their lives. They’re saying immigration is relevant to their lives. I get it that the media wants to give cover to Joe Biden and focus about the past, but the future is going.”

Acosta concluded the interview by asking Lanza what he thought about Democrats replacing Biden on the ticket. Lanza responded, “The next candidate, if Joe Biden were to drop out, is going to be Kamala Harris. And the voters have made the decision that they trust President Trump far more than Kamala Harris.”

Click “Expand” to view the transcript:

CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta

6/28/2024

10:23:06 AM EDT

JIM ACOSTA: We should note CNN has calculated nine false or misleading claims for President Biden, obviously outweighed by the former president. Let’s discuss with Bryan Lanza. He was deputy communications director for Trump’s 2016 campaign. And, Bryan, I mean, the president sort of let Donald Trump off the hook last night with a shaky performance because Trump, over and over again, he was lying, he was pushing these widely debunked conspiracy theories. Why does he keep doing that?

BRYAN LANZA (FORMER SENIOR TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDE): Listen, I wouldn’t say Joe Biden let Donald Trump off the hook at all last night. I think what we saw last night was the mental deterioration of Joe Biden. And we can talk about, you know, Donald Trump said this, we can talk about, you know, Joe Biden’s lie here.

But what the American public saw was a president who just doesn’t have the cognitive fitness to be president. And we’ll have a conversation in next month, you know, whether the 25th Amendment is exercised, where the Democratic Party tries to find a new candidate.

I think Joe Biden should be on the ballot through November. I don’t think they shouldn’t be allowed to switch candidates at this point. They voted. They want him there. We’re running. We spent resources. It feels cheating to try to change it at this point.

ACOSTA: Well, you don’t want that to happen because you want your candidate to win, obviously. But, I mean, let me ask you about —

LANZA: I want the American public to be in a better position tomorrow than they are today.

ACOSTA: But let me ask you about some of these — let me ask you, why does Trump keep saying that Democrats want to execute babies after birth? That’s a lie. It’s not true.

LANZA: Sure, I think what you have to do is you have to sort of have the conversation with the campaign to see where they lie. I think the most important thing that I walked away from the abortion conversation last night was that President Trump was proud of nominating Supreme Court justices who did overturn Roe v. Wade and returned it to the states, which is where the American public has wanted it for a significant amount of time.

Now, sure, CNN can sort of cover, or MSNBC and Atlas can try to sort of focus on the lies.

ACOSTA: Don’t go after– don’t talk about the press. Come on. He’s lying over and over again.

LANZA: You have to talk about the press.

ACOSTA: No, Bryan, he said that January 6th defendants are, quote, “so innocent.”

LANZA: Correct.

ACOSTA: These are people who are criminals.

LANZA: And what did voters decide on that? And what did voters decide on that?

ACOSTA: They stormed the Capitol.

LANZA: Yes.

ACOSTA: They broke the law.

That would have never happened had Donald Trump just accepted the results of the 2020 election, and you know that.

LANZA: Sure. But what have voters decided on that? The voters decided that is not their priority when they’re voting this election. They’re deciding –

ACOSTA: Republican voters decided it.

LANZA: Sure. And he’s winning independent voters and he’s winning the general election in these swing states. So, all voters at this particular– at this point made a decision that January 6th is not relevant to their lives. They’re saying inflation is relevant to their lives. They’re saying immigration is relevant to their lives. They’re saying two wars are relevant to their lives with a third one about to start.

I get it that the media wants to give cover to Joe Biden and focus about the past, but the future is green.

ACOSTA: The media wants to give cover to Joe Biden? Everybody is reporting, we just went through all the headlines and all the major newspapers, all the networks are all saying that the president had a shaky debate performance last night.

LANZA: And you want to focus on January 6th. The voters aren’t focusing on January 6th.

ACOSTA: We’re focusing on what Donald Trump said last night–

LANZA: Let me tell you–

ACOSTA: — because he lied repeatedly over and over again. And the president went after Trump at one point on his character. Let’s listen to that because I think that’s an important part of this too.

(…)

ACOSTA: Does anybody believe that?

LANZA: Listen, what everybody believes is that the economy today, inflation is ruining their lives. And so sort of focusing — I think that’s the problem that Joe Biden and his campaign have, is they can’t focus on their accomplishments of the past that address immigration, that address inflation, that address the wars. They have to focus on these other things.

And so going forward, Jim, you tell me what’s better for the country? Having a conversation about January 6th or having a conversation about immigration and inflation? The voters are making that choice.

ACOSTA: Well, I mean, accepting election results is awfully important.

LANZA: Listen, I encourage Joe Biden to keep talking —

ACOSTA: I mean, and the former president last night did not accept the election results.

[CROSSTALK]

LANZA: — under a second President Trump term, and we both know it today.

ACOSTA: But let me ask you this, if Joe Biden is somehow not on the ticket, the Trump campaign is worried.

LANZA: Joe Biden.

ACOSTA: They’re worried if there’s another candidate that rises up and becomes the Democratic nominee?

LANZA: No. Listen, if Joe Biden were to step down, it’s clearly going to be Kamala Harris. We’re not worried about Kamala Harris. In fact, that’s what the voters need to understand. This performance last —

ACOSTA: Can Trump beat Gavin Newsom? Gavin Newsom’s not the candidate. He’s in a — it’s not about Gavin. The next candidate, if Joe Biden were to drop out, is going to be Kamala Harris. And the voters have made the decision that they trust President Trump far more than Kamala Harris.

ACOSTA: All right. Bryan Lanza, thanks for coming in. I appreciate it.

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