Fact Check: Adam Schiff Uses Kellyanne Conway Misquote to Accuse Trump of Encouraging Violence

Adam Schiff (Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)
Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press

CLAIM: President Donald Trump is encouraging violence because “they believe the violence is helpful to them” politically.

VERDICT: FALSE. Trump has offered held to stop the violence. The “proof” is a deliberate misquote of Kellyanne Conway.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — who has a long record of falsifying quotes — falsely claimed on CNN’s State of the Union that President Trump is “willfully fanning the flames” of violence.

His “proof” was that outgoing White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said “they believe the violence is helpful to them.”

Schiff’s full quote:

The president is willfully fanning the flames of this violence. As his own adviser, Kellyanne Conway, said last week, they believe the violence is helpful to them. And the president is only motivated by one thing: what’s in it for him? And he sees this violence and the — his ability to agitate more of it as useful to his campaign. What it does to the country, the loss of life, he doesn’t care.

Conway did not say that. She was rebutting claims by Mayor Pete Buttigieg that the violence was Trump’s fault, and noted that Democrat mayors and governors had refused the help Trump had offered.

She then made the observation that the riots emphasized the “very clear choice on who is best on public safety and law and order.”

As Breitbart News noted last week:

Conway appeared on Fox and Friends and was asked to respond to the claim by former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg that the riots were happening “on Donald Trump’s watch.”

Conway replied that the riots were happening in cities and states run by Democrats, most of whom had refused help from Trump. She then quoted a “restaurateur” in Madison, Wisconsin, who evidently opposed Trump and who asked rioters whether they were trying to get Trump re-elected.

Conway then added: “He knows, full stop, and I guess Mayor Pete knows, full stop, that the more chaos and anarchy and vandalism and violence reigns, the better it is for the very clear choice on who is best on public safety and law and order.”

That is not a “hope” for violence. It is a simple observation that Democrats’ inability to stop the violence in the cities and states that they govern makes the case stronger for Trump’s re-election. Others have made similar observations.

CNN’s Don Lemon warned earlier this week that Biden had to oppose the riots vocally, because “it’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing – it is the only thing right now that is sticking.”

Likewise, the New York Times reported Wednesday that “Chaos in Kenosha Is Already Swaying Some Voters in Wisconsin.”

Conway noted that Trump had offered help to stop the violence with federal law enforcement, and had often been refused by Democrats putting their “pride and their politics ahead of public safety.”

Conway did not cheer the violence. Schiff left out the key context — that she was talking about Democrats’ refusal to accept help from the Trump administration. CNN host Dana Bash did not bother to correct him.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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