CNN anchor Brianna Keilar on Tuesday got fed up with Trump campaign senior advisor Mercedes Schlapp during a heated exchange on mail-in voting, eventually telling the longtime lobbyist that their conversation was “pointless” because she was “just saying a bunch of crap.”
Keilar, who in recent weeks has held various pro-Trump figures’ feet to the fire in combative interviews, brought on Schlapp to talk about President Donald Trump’s sudden pivot to encouraging Floridians to vote by mail after baselessly warning for months that mail-in ballots are rife with fraud.
“Whether you call it Vote by Mail or Absentee Voting, in Florida the election system is Safe and Secure, Tried and True,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. “Florida’s Voting system has been cleaned up (we defeated Democrats attempts at change), so in Florida I encourage all to request a Ballot & Vote by Mail!”
Schlapp was left with the unenviable task of defending the president’s whiplash-inducing hypocrisy, attempting to not only make the distinction between absentee and mail-in voting but also trying to justify why some states’ mail vote is “safe and secure” while others are not.
Schlapp continually insisted to definitively claim that a persistent “fraud issue” with mail-in voting exists, prompting Keilar to fire back that voter fraud is “statistically insignificant” with mail ballots.
The CNN anchor also called out Schlapp for conflating the problems with mail-in voting in recent New York City primaries—which largely revolve around delays in counting a surge of ballots—with voter fraud.
Schlapp eventually veered away from alleging widespread voter fraud to expressing concerns that Democrats would harvest ballots this election, causing the CNN host to note that “only evidence of ballot harvesting was by Republicans in North Carolina.”
“You know that,” Keilar added. “They had to redo the election.”
Nevertheless, the Trump flack continued to fret that mail-in voting would cause problems “like we’ve seen in states like New York,” again pushing Keilar explaining to viewers that those issues have nothing to do with fraud.
At one point, when Schlapp said it was “very problematic” to move towards universal mail-in voting while simultaneously claiming voters should have options that include mail and absentee ballots, Keilar asked her if she could explain the difference between absentee and mail-in voting.
“I’ve learned this as well as we go through this process, there are some that are interchangeable and then absentee voting is you’re absent from your home state and you request a ballot and you send it back and it is verified,” Schlapp replied. “And in mail-in voting, you’re mailing in these ballots across the board unverified and that is where it produces a problem.”
“They’re not unverified,” an exasperated Keilar snapped back. “You know there are safety precautions in place such as barcodes. There are some people who even worry about they don’t necessarily want to use snail mail. There are places that they could drop off ballots. You know there are precautions to ensure that the ballots will be counted.”
As the increasingly hostile back-and-forth wound down and Keilar accused Schlapp of “sowing doubt” and fear into the minds of voters, the CNN anchor finally let her frustration boil over when the Trump flack claimed people will vote after Election Day.
“This is just pointless, okay,” Keilar exploded. “This is pointless. I get it, you’re just saying a bunch of crap! Okay. You’re saying a bunch of crap.”
As Keilar pointed out that we’re in the middle of a pandemic and Team Trump appears to be trying to put obstacles in the way of voters rather than providing more options, Schlapp asserted that Nevada was making it legal to vote after the date of the election.
“We’ll be checking that. Mercedes, it is very nice to have you,” Keilar snarked at the end.
Nevada, which recently approved a plan to mail ballots to all registered voters, has extended the deadline for ballots to be counted up to one week after Election Day. The ballots, however, must be postmarked no later than the day of the election.