Trump campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp attempted to clean up her disastrous interview with CNN’s Brianna Keilar by penning an op-ed about the network’s supposed “dishonesty” for the website RealClearPolitics. But she made at least one major mistake.
As The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman—channeling The Princess Bride’s Inigo Montoya—put it in a tweet, “I don’t think Brianna Keilar’s husband is who @mercedesschlapp appears to think he is when she slams him in this piece.”
In that piece, Schlapp wrote that she was “disturbed to learn that Brianna Keilar’s husband is a ferocious opponent of the president, a former director of the National Security Council under President Obama, and a man who tweets, among other things, that Donald Trump makes him ‘throw up.’”
Given that Keilar’s husband, Fernando Lujan, is an active-duty Green Beret officer in the U.S. military, it was a questionable strategy to begin with. But Schlapp also appeared to have several of her facts wrong.
Calling the op-ed “riddled with lies,” Keilar said in a statement that what she found “most despicable” was Schlapp's attempt to “character assassinate my husband, an active duty military officer, and mistaking him for someone else in the process.”
“I don’t know what tweet you’re talking about, but it’s not my husband’s,” she added, noting that Lujan not only served on the National Security Council under President Obama but stayed on during the Trump administration and was promoted in 2017. “He has served and sacrificed for his country in ways that you and I can’t begin to fathom,” Keilar wrote, concluding, “Get your facts straight and don’t mess with my family.”
In support of his colleague, CNN host Jake Tapper tweeted, “@mercedesschlapp is entitled to her opinion about @brikeilarcnn or me or anyone else in the news media. But to smear with lies Brianna’s husband, an active duty Green Beret, as part of her political vendetta is truly despicable. Truly vile.”
And yet remarkably, Schlapp’s husband, the CPAC chairman and Trump-boosting lobbyist Matt Schlapp, was undeterred by Keilar’s powerful rebuke, tweeting at her, “Hey @brikeilarcnn get your facts straight on how voting works and dont mess w my family. America was better when CNN actually covered the news instead of covering for socialism.”
He did not directly address or defend the obvious falsehoods in his wife’s article.