CNN’s Brian Stelter accused President Donald Trump of lying Thursday after his taped appearance on “Fox & Friends,” where the president claimed that GOP Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi was in the hospital and unable to vote for a health care repeal bill.
“Health care didn’t go down,” Trump said. “We have the votes, we can’t do it now because we have somebody in a hospital.”
“So was Trump just lying to himself, or was he lying to all of us?” Brian Stelter, CNN’s media correspondent, and the CNN media team questioned in a Thursday newsletter. “When any president is this far removed from the truth, shouldn’t it be a BIG story?”
Perhaps it is not a big story because the mix-up is really not that big of a deal.
Cochran was recently treated, but not hospitalized, for urological issues and is recuperating at home, per a statement released Thursday on Cochran’s twitter account. And perhaps at one point he can make it back for a vote, he said.
Cochran clarified he will not be returning to Washington from his home until Oct. 16 per his physician’s advice. This is two weeks after the Sept. 30 deadline requiring a simple 50-vote majority to approve a Graham-Cassidy health care repeal bill, rather than the 60-vote threshold that is normally needed.
“‘Fake News,’ meet a ‘fake hospital,'” CNN wrote in the newsletter headline, seemingly determined to go overboard with the claim that Trump lied. “Trump attributed the GOP health care bill’s problems to an unnamed senator who had been hospitalized,” the online newsletter says. Clearly, Trump was referring to Cochran, which Stelter acknowledges, saying that “he could come back to DC for a vote if needed.”
Trump’s comment that Cochran was “in the hospital” was branded as a lie. Yes, it’s news that Trump incorrectly stated he was hospitalized, but it’s far from an egregious error, never mind a “lie.”
Sure, Cochran was not hospitalized, but he did receive medical treatment. His recovery period could prevent the senator from being present for a vote.
Even if Cochran was present, however, the health care bill would most likely lack the votes necessary to reach a 50-vote threshold.
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