Trump campaign spokesman Steve Cortes was called out by MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin on his claim that the Biden campaign agreed to an “ear inspection” prior to the first presidential debate but subsequently backed out, and Cortes turned the situation around to paint himself the victim.
“Let’s talk a bit about some of the statements you’ve been making,” Mohyeldin said. “Because they are a little bit questionable.”
Mohyeldin explained that the Facebook political ad library revealed that “the Trump campaign spent tens of thousands of dollars to post edited photos to Facebook with [Joe] Biden wearing an AirPod in his ear, asking, ‘Who’s in Joe’s ear?’”
“The Biden team said this is entirely made up,” the host said. “And yet your comments were used to misinform millions of people on Fox News before the debate.”
Mohyeldin then played a clip of Cortes telling Fox News:
“Look, they agreed to the ear inspection. It’s simple, it would have been by a third party, not by us. And then they went back on it. Why? I don’t know. I mean, they’ll have to explain that…”
Mohyeldin said the Biden campaign said this was false and ridiculous, adding: “I’m giving you a chance now. Do you apologize for misleading millions of people about making that false statement?”
Cortes said, “I didn’t mislead anybody. Give me your proof that it’s false.”
The host responded: “No no, that’s not how it works. You don’t make a false statement and say, ‘prove to me that it’s not false.’”
Asked who from the Trump campaign made the alleged ear-inspection agreement with the Biden campaign, Cortes couldn’t offer a name. He simply insisted negotiating teams for both campaigns made the deal.
Cortes then said, “You just called me a liar on national television and you have zero evidence that I am a liar.”
The Independent reported about the debacle,
Text on the ads, which began appearing on Facebook on Thursday, reads: “Joe's BEGGING for breaks during the debate! CHECK JOE'S EARS! He REFUSED drug test & DECLINED an earpiece inspection!"
Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh claimed that Mr Biden’s “handlers” had agreed to a “pre-debate inspection for ”electronic earpieces" but “abruptly reversed themselves and declined” ahead of the debate.
The Biden campaign denied the claims, calling the allegations “completely absurd.”
On 29 September, a reporter with The New York Post claimed that a “source familiar” with the campaign said that Mr Biden had agreed to an ear inspection but has now declined. She later reported that his campaign said that was false and had also denied claims that he had asked for “breaks” during the 90-minute debate.