CPAC Chair Shrugs Off Trump's Friendliness With Despots

“I think it’s a big mistake to say that Donald Trump is somehow a dishonest political leader,” Matt Schlapp said.

Conservative Political Action Conference chair Matt Schlapp dismissed concerns on Friday over President Donald Trump’s statements doubting the North Korean regime’s responsibility for Otto Warmbier’s death.

Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo the Maryland conference site, Schlapp delivered an emphatic defense of the president after the anchor accused Trump of making “a mockery of political discourse, decency and truth-telling.”

“I don’t know that,” Schlapp claimed. “I think it’s a big mistake to say that Donald Trump is somehow a dishonest political leader.”

But Cuomo wasn’t having it, pointing out that Trump “lies all the time” from hush money payments to porn stars to his alleged role in ensuring son-in-law Jared Kushner’s security clearance. Now, Trump has expressed trust in his third despot, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Previously, he’s shown support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denial of election meddling and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s claim that he had nothing to do with the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Still, Schlapp contended that the media was simply too fixated on the inaccuracies.

“I know that there are certain outlets that want to focus on things that they say some truth-teller says is incorrect,” he said. “The president was very clear with the American voter about what he intended to do. He wasn’t lying about what he intended to do, Chris, and what he has done is to put into place what he said he would do. What you are all obsessed with is the inaccuracies that some people say exist along the way.”

CPAC, which kicked off Wednesday and ends Saturday, is an annual gathering of Republicans and far-right activists featuring speeches from GOP lawmakers and cable news giants.

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