Chuck Todd to Kellyanne Conway: "Alternative Facts Are Not Facts"

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On NBC's 'Meet The Press,' Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway challenges Chuck Todd for saying that White House press secretary Sean Spicer has told multiple "falsehoods" over the past few days.

"On this matter of crowd size, I think it is a symbol for the unfair and incomplete treatment that this president often receives," Conway told Chuck Todd on NBC's "Meet The Press."

Transcript below via NBC:

CHUCK TODD: And joining me now is the counselor to President Trump, Kellyanne Conway. Miss Conway, welcome to the White House north lawn which will--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Hi, Chuck.

CHUCK TODD: --become a familiar place for you I think--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Yes.

CHUCK TODD: --for the next few years. Let me begin with this question, the presidency is about choices. So I'm curious why President Trump chose yesterday to send out his press secretary to essentially litigate a provable falsehood when it comes to a small and petty thing like inaugural crowd size. I guess my question to you is why do that?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Chuck, the president did many things yesterday and the day before that are very meaningful to America. He signed executive orders to stop Obamacare and all of its problems. Many people have lost their-- Millions of people have lost their insurance, their doctors, their plans. So that stops right now.

He's going to replace it with something much more free-market and patient-centric in nature. And on this matter of crowd size, I mean, for me I think the most quantifiable points of interest for Americans should be what just happened a few months ago that brought him here, the 31 of 50 states he won, the 2,600 counties, the 200 counties that went for President Obama that now went to President Trump. And the fact that 29, 30 million women voted for Donald Trump for president. They should be respected. Somebody should cover their voices as well.

I'm about things that are quantifiable and important. I don't think that-- I don't think ultimately presidents are judged by crowd sizes at their inauguration. I think they're judged by their accomplishments. And we know that President Obama and his accomplishments, that there's a lot of unfinished business there.

And on this matter of crowd size I think it is a symbol for the unfair and incomplete treatment that this president often receives. I'm very heartened to see Nielsen just came out with the ratings, 31 million people watching the inauguration. President Obama had 20.5 million watching his second inauguration four short years ago. So we know people are also watching the inauguration on different screens and in different modes. And that there was, I mean, for me there was a prediction of a downpour of rain. I think that deterred many people from coming. But no question there were hundreds of thousands of people out on the mall and--

CHUCK TODD: All right, Kellyanne, let me stop you here because--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: --you know, many people enthused.

CHUCK TODD: --you make a very reasonable and rational case for why crowd sizes don't matter. Then explain, you did not answer the question, why did the president send out his press secretary, who's not just the spokesperson for Donald Trump. He could be-- He also serves as the spokesperson for all of America at times. He speaks for all of the country at times. Why put him out there for the very first time in front of that podium to utter a provable falsehood? It's a small thing. But the first time he confronts the public it's a falsehood?

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Chuck, I mean, if we're going to keep referring to our press secretary in those types of terms I think that we're going to have to rethink our relationship here. I want to have a great open relationship with our press. But look what happened the day before talking about falsehoods.

We allowed the press-- the press to come into the Oval Office and witness President Trump signing executive orders. And of course, you know, the Senate had just confirmed General Mattis and General Kelly to their two posts. And we allowed the press in. And what happens almost immediately? A falsehood is told about removing the bust of Martin Luther King Junior from the Oval Office. No, that's just flat out false. And the pool writer--

CHUCK TODD: And it was corrected immediately--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: But why-- Chuck, why was it said?

CHUCK TODD: --but Kellyanne, no, let me--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Chuck, why was it said in the first place because--

CHUCK TODD:--I don't know.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:--everybody's so presumptively negative--

CHUCK TODD: --climb, climb into the head of that reporter--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: No, that it's okay. No excuse me.

CHUCK TODD: But Miss--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Oh no, no, no, that reporter was writing to-- on behalf of the press pool. That falsehood--

CHUCK TODD: I understand that--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: --got spread 3,000 times--

CHUCK TODD: But it does not excuse--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: --before it was corrected.

CHUCK TODD: --excuse me. It does not--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: And it's still out there.

CHUCK TODD: --excuse and you did not answer the question.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: I did answer--

CHUCK TODD: No you did not.

KELLYANNE CONWAY:--your question.

CHUCK TODD: You did not--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Yes I did.

CHUCK TODD: --answer the question of why the president asked the White House press secretary to come out in front of the podium for the first time and utter a falsehood? Why did he do that? It undermines the credibility of the entire White House press office--

KELLYANNE CONWAY: No it doesn't.

CHUCK TODD:--on day one.

KELLYANNE CONWAY: Don't be so overly dramatic about it, Chuck. What-- You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that. But the point remains--

CHUCK TODD: Wait a minute-- Alternative facts? Alternative facts? Four of the five facts he uttered, the one thing he got right was Zeke Miller. Four of the five facts he uttered were just not true. Look, alternative facts are not facts. They're falsehoods.


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