'Obvious Hypocrisy': CPAC Chairman Grilled Over Response to Trump's Offensive Remarks, Michelle Wolf

During an appearance on CNN on Monday morning, the leader of the lobbying group American Conservative Union was grilled over his disdain for Michelle Wolf's performance at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, specifically his ire at the comedian's jokes about typically taboo topics, including abortion and the appearance of Trump administration officials. 

When New Day hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota confronted Matt Schlapp, the chairman of the ACU—which hosts the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC)—over President Donald Trump's own history of insulting public figures, the discussion turned heated. Recalling Trump attacking the appearance of women and mocking a disabled reporter, the hosts of the show and the commentator spoke over one another, quickly turning the interview into a fierce debate over political hypocrisy that was mirrored across cable news shows Monday morning. 

Schlapp was one of several Republicans who walked out of the dinner after Wolf made a joke about abortion and lampooned the behavior of Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

"What I'm asking you is, why aren't you calling out making fun of a disabled reporter?" Camerota asked Schlapp. Schlapp then said he would call out the president, "if" he believed that Trump had actually intended to make fun of a disabled reporter at a November 2015 rally. (Trump's imitation of the reporter, who suffers from a congenital joint condition, is below.) 

"We shouldn't make fun of people who are disabled," Schlapp conceded, couching his criticism in hypotheticals. "If that was the intent of what the president did, he shouldn't have done it." 

After Camerota wrapped up her interview with Schlapp—with both agreeing that the president should be held to a higher standard than a comedian—Cuomo blasted the CPAC chairman for "obvious hypocrisy" and "mitigating" the world's most "powerful" figures. 

“You can’t give the president the benefit of the doubt on everything. You don’t know what he meant to do when he made that mannerism,” Cuomo said, referring to Trump's hand gestures at the 2015 rally. “Please! If it were your kid or your wife, you would probably change party stripes over it!”

Camerota called on Schlapp to respond. The conservative leader then said it was his right to walk out of the appearance, and reiterated that he believed the press corps was "over the line." He then said he had previously denounced the president's remarks in his past two years as a contributor to the show. 

"Yeah, I get it," Camerota said. "But you're not walking out on the president, in terms of when he makes fun of Carly Fiorina's face or when he makes fun of a disabled reporter. You're not walking out." 

"I wasn't in the room," Schlapp quipped back. 

The rancorous debate on New Day echoed debates happening on social media and on television following the dinner, as surrogates of the president denounced Wolf's cutting jokes but were forced to reconcile them with the president's own history of insulting opponents.

For the most part, reception of Wolf's 20-minute spiel divided along party lines. Comedians and critics of the president pointed out that Trump has insulted the appearance of women—from Nancy Pelosi to Heidi Cruz to Mika Brzezinski to Elizabeth Warren to Hillary Clinton—and accused Trump supporters of feigning outrage. Conservatives, meanwhile, quipped that dredging up the president's controversial remarks was tantamount to "whataboutism" and said the stand-up routine was evidence of the media's intolerance toward Trump.

Both the president and the comedian took to Twitter to weigh in on the discussion. 

Matt Schlapp-644211056 CPAC Chairman Matt Schlapp, center, pictured here at the annual conference, got into a heated debate over Michelle Wolf's stand-up routine at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images