In a hilariously petty yet troublingly reality-disconnected move, the Trump campaign sent a letter to CNN this week demanding that they retract and apologize for a recent poll in which presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was ahead of Trump by 14 percent nationally. The Trump campaign claimed that the poll was “a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President, and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the President.” Numbers are numbers, though. CNN’s own legal team promptly responded to the Trump campaign with an unequivocal rejection of all of their demands.
Addressing the president’s legal team directly, David Vigilante, who serves as CNN’s executive vice president and general counsel, wrote:
‘Your letter is factually and legally baseless. It is yet another bad faith attempt by the campaign to threaten litigation to muzzle speech it does not want voters to read or hear. Your allegations and demands are rejected in their entirety.’
CNN General Counsel to Team Trump: "Your letter is factually and legally baseless. It is yet another bad faith attempt by the campaign to threaten litigation to muzzle speech it does not want voters to read or hear. Your allegations and demands are rejected in their entirety."
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 10, 2020
Vigilante also troublingly connected the Trump team’s meltdown in the face of a poll that they didn’t like to tactics that are used by authoritarian regimes like the government of Venezuela. He explained:
‘To my knowledge, this is the first time in its 40-year history that CNN had been threatened with legal action because an American politician or campaign did not like CNN’s polling results. To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media.’
Trump campaign seeks apology, retraction of CNN poll showing Biden leading https://t.co/TXeQrwpBAb
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 10, 2020
In service of Donald Trump’s ego, his team has completely disconnected from reality at this point. After the CNN poll showing Biden ahead by a staggering 14 percent initially came out, Trump tweeted that his team had hired a firm called McLaughlin to analyze the poll (and other polls that Trump didn’t like) to look for errors or vulnerabilities to focus on. The Trump team’s letter demanding that CNN retract their poll cites some of McLaughlin’s conclusions — but that supposed evidence is flat-out wrong.
The Trump campaign has sent a cease and desist letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker demanding the network retract and apologize for a poll that shows Trump trailing Biden by 14 points. The letter was immediately rejected by CNN. https://t.co/gsMVTnBy4V
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) June 10, 2020
For example, the Trump team insisted that the poll results were not even drawn from registered voters, which is flatly false. In fact, “the 14-point margin by which Trump is trailing Biden came from a question posed only to 1,125 registered voters,” CNN explains. The Trump team also claims that the poll results are dubious because they were collected before jobs numbers came out for May that were less dismal than some feared — but that too is false. The “poll was still being conducted throughout that day” that the numbers released, CNN notes. McLaughlin also claims that the poll was “skewed” because only 25 percent of respondents were Republican, but that’s a portion similar to ones found in other major polls.
The Trump team’s letter demanding a retraction from CNN over their poll numbers that the president doesn’t like is yet another chapter in the president trying to wish things that he does not like out of existence.