MSNBC anchor Ayman Mohyeldin finally had his fill on Thursday when Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes couldn’t provide evidence backing the campaign’s baseless claim that Joe Biden’s campaign backed out of an agreement to inspect the Democratic presidential nominee for in-ear devices, cutting the interview short as Cortes yelled in objection.
Hours before Tuesday’s presidential debate, the Trump campaign claimed that Biden’s team had previously agreed to a pre-debate inspection for electronic earpieces but then reversed themselves on the day of the debate. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh insisted that along with Biden’s “refusal to take a drug test, it seems pretty obvious that the Biden team is looking for any safety net they can find.”
The Biden campaign, meanwhile, declined that any such agreement was reached and that the Trump team was just trying to muddy the waters and push unhinged conspiracies ahead of the debate. Biden deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield called the claim “completely absurd,” “pathetic,” and that the Trump campaign was “lying.”
During a heated interview with Mohyeldin—which had already featured Cortes suggesting that Rep. Ilhan Omar’s citizenship isn’t legal—the MSNBC anchor brought up the Trump campaign spending tens of thousands of dollars on Facebook ads using clearly edited photos showing Biden wearing an ear pod during the debate.
“The Biden team said this is entirely made up,” Mohyeldin noted. “And yet, your comments were used to misinform millions of people on Fox News before the debate.”
After playing a clip of Cortes insisting that the Biden campaign agreed to an inspection and then backed out, the MSNBC host asked the Trump flack whether he’d like to apologize for misleading the public with a false statement.
“No, I didn’t mislead anybody,” Cortes insisted, adding: “Give me your proof that it’s false.”
“That’s not how it works,” Mohyeldin shot back. “You don’t make a false statement and say prove it’s not false.”
The anchor went on to ask who made the agreement between the campaigns that Cortes keeps citing, promoting the Trump adviser to respond: “I don’t know… I don’t know where the agreement is.”
With Cortes clearly flailing, the MSNBC host kept pressing, asking the Trump surrogate to at least provide a name so the network could follow up on his claims.
“It’s an entire team! An entire team,” Cortes exclaimed.
The campaign adviser then grew indignant over his feeling that Moyheldin had called him a liar and was pressing him about the Facebook ads, which he asserted he was unaware of and was part of a “gotcha moment.”
“You’re raising questions about a sitting member of Congress,” Moyheldin exclaimed over a shouting Cortes. “I’ll give you a chance to go back and prepare for this interview next time for with what your campaign is doing. Bring the names of those involved—you don’t even know the names of the people involved—you don’t know the names of the people in your campaign who made the agreement.
Cortes, meanwhile, continued to provide conflicting answers while trying to deflect the anchor’s pointed questions, claiming both that he knew the name of the person who received the agreement and that he doesn’t “know the individual person on that team.”
“When you find out who from your team made that agreement, and the specific agreement, please bring the documents, the emails, the agreement, anything you can provide to substantiate the claim that was used to misinform millions of people in our country,” Moyheldin declared while ending the interview.
Cortes kept on shouting as the MSNBC anchor pulled the plug, complaining that he would not “allow you to call me a liar” as he faded from the screen.