President Trump mocked ABC News during a joint media conference with Italian President Sergio Mattarella for falsely claiming footage from a Kentucky gun range was a battle between Syrian Kurds and Turkish forces.
ABC News chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl asked the president if he regrets giving Turkish Recep Tayyip President Erdogan the “green light” to attack in Syria.
“I didn’t give him the green light… when you ask a question like that, it’s very deceptive, Jon, it’s almost as deceptive as you showing all of the bombings taking place in Syria and it turned out the bombing that you showed on television took place in Kentucky,” Trump fired back.
ABC aired footage on “World News Tonight” and “Good Morning America” that the network obtained from a source on Sunday night and Monday morning. ABC News framed it as battlefield video, when, in fact, it appears to be from a night gun demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky.
The footage first aired on Sunday's "World News Tonight" as anchor Tom Llamas claimed it showed a Turkish attack on a group of Kurdish civilians in a Syrian border town. The chyron beneath the video read: "CRISIS IN SYRIA. ISIS prisoners escape as death toll rises in attack."
Trump told Karl that he wasn’t sure if ABC had apologized for the gaffe, calling it a “terrible thing.”
“It was in Kentucky, it wasn’t in Syria, so I don’t know what you’re going to do about that,” Trump said. “I think ABC owes an apology.”
ABC insiders have acknowledged that the footage was difficult to confirm so it was carefully described on air and billed as footage that “appeared” to show a Turkish attack on the border town of Tal Abyad.
ABC addressed the error on Twitter Monday and issued a correction. The network said it regretted the error but didn’t apologize for the mistake. However, a network source told Fox News that ABC is continuing to investigate how this error happened and taking steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
ABC News declined further comment but provided Fox News with the statement it previously issued via social media.
“We’ve taken down video that aired on ‘World News Tonight Sunday’ and ‘Good Morning America’ this morning that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy. ABC News regrets the error,” the network said in the statement.