President Trump was speaking "Americanese" when he claimed without proof that he was wiretapped by President ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaBiden: Democrats' spending plan is 'a bigger darn deal' than Obamacare Harris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia Biden to stump with McAuliffe Tuesday MORE, CNN commentator and Trump surrogate Jeffrey Lord said Monday.
During an appearance on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360," Lord was the only one on an eight-person panel to deny that Trump lied when he alleged that Obama had his "wires tapped" in Trump Tower during the presidential race. Unlike journalists and government officials, Lord said, Trump's supporters understood that Trump did not mean the claim literally.
Lord recalled appearing on a radio show in Birmingham, Ala., earlier in the day and being told by the host that Americans outside of Washington understood Trump's accusation to mean more broadly that he was being surveilled by the FBI or another agency.
"He says, you know, 'We speak Americanese out here, and we know what he meant,'" Lord said. "What he meant was the FBI was — or somebody else was — surveilling him. That's what he thinks."
Cooper shot back at Lord's assertion, expressing disbelief that the staunch Trump supporter was suggesting that government officials were at fault for taking the president at his word.
"What you're arguing then is the FBI and the Justice Department are mistaken for taking the president literally, because they don't speak 'Americanese,'" Cooper said.
Lord's argument ignited fury among the show's panelists, who pressed the surrogate to say that Trump is frequently caught in lies.
“We’ve seen it again and again,” David Gergen, a former White House aide, said. “When we have a president who is a congenital liar, it really matters.”
Lord's claim echoes a similar statement made last year by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who said that the press should take Trump "seriously," but not literally.