Mike Pence couldn’t defend the White House’s coronavirus response, so he made up alternative facts

Mike Pence
Mike Pence

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence debates Democratic vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at the University of Utah on October 7, 2020 in Salt Lake City, Utah. This is the only scheduled debate between the two before the general election on November 3. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly made false claims about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response as he dodged, interrupted and obfuscated through the vice presidential debate on Wednesday.

Though the lone vice presidential debate was far more civil than the mind-melting presidential debate last week, it was not much different in substance. Moderator Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today, asked Pence and Democratic nominee Kamala Harris about a range of important issues but completely failed to press the candidates to actually respond to her questions. That allowed Pence to repeatedly dodge questions he did not want to answer about Trump’s health, racial justice and even abortion.

Pence also refused to say what he would do if Trump rejected a peaceful transition of power, instead echoing the president’s false claims about virtually non-existent voter fraud.

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The two candidates were divided by plexiglass barriers after President Donald Trump and numerous top aides tested positive for the coronavirus following a possible “super spreader” White House event where Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was formally announced. Pence’s unusually red eyes prompted speculation about whether he had “COVID pink eye,” and he was instantly turned into a meme when a fly sat on his head for a full two minutes during one of the segments.

Harris also dodged questions throughout the night as she was repeatedly interrupted by Pence. CBS News found that Pence interrupted Harris twice as much as she interrupted him. Despite avoiding questions about Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s health and whether the ticket supports expanding the Supreme Court, fact-checkers concluded that Harris was far more honest than her Republican opponent, who repeatedly made false and misleading claims about the Trump administration’s coronavirus response. Pence heads the chair of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

Harris called the response to the pandemic the “greatest failure of any presidential administration,” repeatedly pointing out the mounting death toll in the U.S. Pence responded by bizarrely claiming that the Obama-Biden response to the H1N1 swine flu in 2009 was a bigger “failure,” because that virus infected 60 million people.

But the swine flu was far less dangerous than the coronavirus, which has killed more than 211,000 people in the US. By comparison, fewer than 13,000 Americans died from the swine flu. Because it was less deadly, it did not require a lockdown, which allowed the virus to spread wider than the coronavirus has thus far. The regular flu typically infects more than 35 million people each year and kills far more

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The Block stars Jimmy and Tam defend decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE during kitchen week

The Block stars Jimmy and Tam defend decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE during kitchen week

The Block’s Jimmy and Tam spent a whopping $5000 on high-end wine to hopefully tempt prospective buyers come auction day.

On Wednesday’s episode, bar manager Tam, 31, shocked foreman Dan by announcing that she’d splashed the large amount of cash on the luxury booze.

Speaking to 9Entertainment, Tam explained why the wine will only add further value to their $200,000 kitchen.

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The Block stars Jimmy and Tam (pictured) have defended their decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE to hopefully tempt prospective buyers come auction day

The Block stars Jimmy and Tam (pictured) have defended their decision to spend $5000 on high-end WINE to hopefully tempt prospective buyers come auction day

Judge Shaynna Blake initially suggested Tam invest in a rare art piece for their house as a ‘game changer’ for auction day, but Tam instead spent $5000 on rare wines for their state-of-the-art bar fridge.

‘I knew we had this amazing Gaggenau wine fridge and I wanted something that was pretty high end to go in the fridge to meet the standards,’ she said.

‘The wine that has been selected, it’s actually from the most prestigious real estate areas around the world,’ explained Tam, adding: ‘Anyone who knows wine, when they see what’s in the wine selection, they’re blown away.’ 

'Anyone who knows wine will be blown away': Speaking to 9Entertainment , Tam claimed the wine will only add further value to their $200,000 kitchen

‘Anyone who knows wine will be blown away’: Speaking to 9Entertainment , Tam claimed the wine will only add further value to their $200,000 kitchen

Bold move: Judge Shaynna Blake (pictured) suggested Tam invest in a rare art piece for their house as a 'game changer' for auction day, but Tam instead spent $5000 on rare wines

Bold move: Judge Shaynna Blake (pictured) suggested Tam invest in a rare art piece for their house as a ‘game changer’ for auction day, but Tam instead spent $5000 on rare wines

Tam claims the wine is both a luxury good and an investment for whoever decided to purchase the finished Block property at auction.

She believes the curated wine that was purchased during filming will appreciate by 10 per cent each year.  

There are 55 bottles of wine in the collection, with the most expensive in the assortment being a $278 Massolino Barolo MAGNUM 2015.

‘It’s [the bar fridge] actually got three different sections in it. There’s a white wine, a red wine and a champagne. So each section can run at different temperatures and the temperature is perfect for that sort of wine, which is next level,’ said Tam.   

INSIDE JIMMY AND TAM’S $5000 WINE FRIDGE ON THE BLOCK

Henschke Mt Edelston Shiraz 2010* ($180.00 ea.) x 2 | $360.00

Henri Boillot Bourgogne Blanc 2018* ($56.00 ea.) x 6 | $336.00

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 1996* ($150.00 ea.) x 2 | $300.00

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 1998* ($145.00 ea.) x 2 | $290.00

Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2005* ($105.00 ea) x 2 | $210.00

Massolino Barolo 2015* ($80.00 ea.) x 7 | $560.00

Mount Mary Chardonnay* ($88.00 ea.) x 6 | $528.00

Duplessis AC Chablis 2018* ($50.00 ea.) x 6 | $300.00

Donhoff GG Riesling* ($110.00 ea.) x 3 | $330.00

Donnhoff Tonschiefer Reisling 2016* ($40.00

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Ex-My Kitchen Rules stars Romel Kouyan and Joshua Bonwick DEFEND Pete Evans’ views

‘We need more people like Pete Evans’: Ex-My Kitchen Rules stars Romel Kouyan and Joshua Bonwick DEFEND the conspiracy theorist’s harmful views and passionately declare they ‘stand right behind him’

Former My Kitchen Rules contestants Romel Kouyan and Joshua Bonwick have passionately defended the show’s former judge Pete Evans’ controversial views.

In clips shared to Instagram on Tuesday, the pair praised the conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, 47, for leaving behind his fame and fortune to ‘expose what’s going on’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singing Pete’s praises, Bonwick, 27, declared that the world was ‘in need of more people like him’ while 43-year-old Kouyan admitted he ‘loves everything he stands for’ and was ‘right behind him’.

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'We stand by him': Former My Kitchen Rules contestants Romel Kouyan [top] and Joshua Bonwick [bottom] have passionately defended the show's former judge Pete Evans' controversial views

‘We stand by him’: Former My Kitchen Rules contestants Romel Kouyan [top] and Joshua Bonwick [bottom] have passionately defended the show’s former judge Pete Evans’ controversial views

The pair leapt to Pete’s defence while discussing the draconian lockdown measures in coronavirus-riddled Melbourne.

Josh expressed relief that he wasn’t currently living in Melbourne where people didn’t have a ‘bill of rights’ and a ‘constitution that protects your human rights.’

He immediately cited Pete as a hero for ‘exposing and shining a light’ on the pandemic.

‘He has thrown away every single thing that everyone in the world is trying to attain. He had success, he’s famous, he was on TV and had a million dollar a year job. He’s thrown it all away to expose what’s going on!

Pete's fans: In clips shared to Instagram on Tuesday, the pair praised the conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, 47, for leaving behind his fame and fortune to 'expose what's going on' during the COVID-19 pandemic

Pete’s fans: In clips shared to Instagram on Tuesday, the pair praised the conspiracy theorist and anti-vaxxer, 47, for leaving behind his fame and fortune to ‘expose what’s going on’ during the COVID-19 pandemic

Singing Pete's praises: Bonwick, 27, declared that the world was 'in need of more people like him' while 43-year-old Kouyan admitted he 'loves everything he stands for' and was 'right behind him'

Singing Pete’s praises: Bonwick, 27, declared that the world was ‘in need of more people like him’ while 43-year-old Kouyan admitted he ‘loves everything he stands for’ and was ‘right behind him’

‘We need more people like Pete Evans. The more backlash that you get means you’re on to something,’ he added.

Romel shared the same views as Joshua, adding: ‘He is definitely one of the smartest individuals I have ever met in my whole life. I love what he stands for.

‘What I admire about him is that he’s not afraid to hold back. He could easily say, “you know what? I’ve got a career online, so I’ll keep my opinions to myself and just look after my family.”

‘But he’s going on a huge platform and sharing these opinions.’

'He's thrown away everything to expose what's going on': Josh immediately cited Pete as a hero for 'exposing and shining a light' on the pandemic

‘He’s thrown away everything to expose what’s going on’: Josh immediately cited Pete as a hero for ‘exposing and shining a light’ on the pandemic

Romel shared the same views as Joshua, adding: 'He is definitely one of the smartest individuals I have ever met in my whole life. I love what he stands for'

Romel shared the same views as Joshua, adding: ‘He is definitely one of the smartest individuals I have ever met in my whole life. I love what he stands for’

Romel defiantly continued: ‘It actually upsets me seeing the backlash he receives because the

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Inside the White House’s plan to deploy ‘knife fighters’ to defend nominee

EXCLUSIVE: The White House is mounting an “offensive” communications strategy ahead of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s upcoming Senate confirmation fight, with aides describing an aggressive plan for “knife fighters” to “fiercely” defend the nominee ahead of what’s expected to be a heated battle on Capitol Hill.



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Fox News has learned the White House has formed a team to handle what’s to come in the weeks ahead as Senate Republicans aim to get President Trump’s nominee confirmed to the high court before Election Day.



a group of people standing in front of United States Supreme Court Building: Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel weighs in on Democrats' plan to delay the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.


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Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel weighs in on Democrats’ plan to delay the Supreme Court confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett.

AMY CONEY BARRETT ACCEPTS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S NOMINATION TO THE SUPREME COURT, PLEDGES TO ‘FAITHFULLY AND IMPARTIALLY’ DISCHARGE DUTIES 

Senior White House officials told Fox News that the team is broken into two parts: one focused on communications and the other focused on guiding Barrett through the process on Capitol Hill.

Senior officials argued the team is “uniquely equipped” for the mission: The White House communications team will consist of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who is a graduate of Harvard Law School and will take on the role of “lead spokesperson.” Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern, a graduate of Columbia Law School, and White House communications officials Alyssa Farah and Ben Williamson, who are veterans of Capitol Hill and who have unique relationships with Republican leadership in both chambers of Congress, are also on the team.

Manchin won’t support Dems move to expand Supreme Court

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The communications team will also include White House staff who will be dedicated to a rapid response effort and research.

“We will need to be knife fighters with the opposition, and will be prepared to marshal information quickly, and disseminate it to push back on any false narratives or attacks on her and her family, because we anticipate, unfortunately, that Democrats will go there,” a senior official told Fox News.

“So we’re mounting an offensive strategy on her behalf because she is such an incredible and inspiring nominee,” the official continued. “We’ll be defending her fiercely every day.”

Another official told Fox News that the communications team intends to be “very well-synced” with Senate communicators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, the Senate Republican conference and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We will work closely with them,” the official said.

As for the Hill process, White House Counsel Pat Cippollone and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will play “integral roles.”

Senior officials told Fox News that Meadows will be tasked with prepping Barrett and shepherding her through the Senate.

“He knows exactly the senators we’ll need to win over, and the issues that matter to them,” one senior White House official told Fox News. “He knows which senators to target that could bring over votes for her, and will help her to remain independent and speak to her own judicial record to win

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Amy Coney Barrett confirmation: Inside the White House’s plan to deploy ‘knife fighters’ to defend nominee

EXCLUSIVE: The White House is mounting an “offensive” communications strategy ahead of Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s upcoming Senate confirmation fight, with aides describing an aggressive plan for “knife fighters” to “fiercely” defend the nominee ahead of what’s expected to be a heated battle on Capitol Hill.

Fox News has learned the White House has formed a team to handle what’s to come in the weeks ahead as Senate Republicans aim to get President Trump’s nominee confirmed to the high court before Election Day.

AMY CONEY BARRETT ACCEPTS PRESIDENT TRUMP’S NOMINATION TO THE SUPREME COURT, PLEDGES TO ‘FAITHFULLY AND IMPARTIALLY’ DISCHARGE DUTIES 

Senior White House officials told Fox News that the team is broken into two parts: one focused on communications and the other focused on guiding Barrett through the process on Capitol Hill.

Senior officials argued the team is “uniquely equipped” for the mission: The White House communications team will consist of White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who is a graduate of Harvard Law School and will take on the role of “lead spokesperson.” Deputy Press Secretary Brian Morgenstern, a graduate of Columbia Law School, and White House communications officials Alyssa Farah and Ben Williamson, who are veterans of Capitol Hill and who have unique relationships with Republican leadership in both chambers of Congress, are also on the team.

The communications team will also include White House staff who will be dedicated to a rapid response effort and research.

“We will need to be knife fighters with the opposition, and will be prepared to marshal information quickly, and disseminate it to push back on any false narratives or attacks on her and her family, because we anticipate, unfortunately, that Democrats will go there,” a senior official told Fox News.

“So we’re mounting an offensive strategy on her behalf because she is such an incredible and inspiring nominee,” the official continued. “We’ll be defending her fiercely every day.”

Another official told Fox News that the communications team intends to be “very well-synced” with Senate communicators, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office, the Senate Republican conference and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We will work closely with them,” the official said.

As for the Hill process, White House Counsel Pat Cippollone and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows will play “integral roles.”

Senior officials told Fox News that Meadows will be tasked with prepping Barrett and shepherding her through the Senate.

“He knows exactly the senators we’ll need to win over, and the issues that matter to them,” one senior White House official told Fox News. “He knows which senators to target that could bring over votes for her, and will help her to remain independent and speak to her own judicial record to win those key votes. He’s a Capitol Hill strategist.”

As for Cippollone, an official told Fox News that he “knows what she’ll be questioned on.”

“He’ll know ways to navigate those without telegraphing too much to get through the confirmation,” another official told Fox

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White House fails to defend Trump’s line on honoring election results

Even those who’ve come to expect the worst from Donald Trump were taken aback this week when he refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power in the event of an election defeat. The president added that if officials would simply “get rid of the ballots,” there would be “a continuation” of his hold on power.

Not surprisingly, reporters had a few questions about this at yesterday’s White House press briefing. Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany had a specific phrase she used several times.

“The President will accept the results of a free and fair election…. The President will accept the results of a free and fair election. He will accept the will of the American people. I’ve answered your question. He will accept the results of a free and fair election.”

At first blush, this may have seemed like a satisfying resolution. The United States will soon administer national elections — indeed, in much of the country, voting is already underway — in a free and fair system, and according to the president’s chief spokesperson, the Republican incumbent is committed to accepting the results.

But the phrasing matters: McEnany didn’t say Trump would honor the results of our elections; she instead added caveats and fine print, insisting that he would only honor the results of “a free and fair election.” The problem, of course, is that this posture leaves it up to the president to decide what he considers “free and fair” — and he’s already told Americans he considers his own country’s system to be “rigged.”

In other words, Trump still hasn’t committed to the peaceful transfer of power that’s been a hallmark of the American system for more than two centuries.

Indeed, not long after the press briefing wrapped up, the president himself told reporters during a brief Q&A, “We want to make sure the election is honest, and I’m not sure that it can be.” (In his next breath, Trump whined a bit about Hillary Clinton for reasons that weren’t entirely clear.)

All of which leaves us in a difficult position: Trump touched off a crisis of sorts on Wednesday, and the White House doubled down on his position a day later.

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Locals defend Ocean Terminal garden ‘oasis’ under threat from building work

The Discovery Gardens. Image: Trees of Edinburgh

Locals have spoken out to defend a green ‘oasis’ in Leith from development by Ocean Terminal as part of the Trams to Newhaven project.

The patch of grass and trees was planted when the shopping centre was built in 2001.

It was designed in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Gardens, and features plants representing the discoveries of the “founding fathers” of Scottish botany, including David Douglas and Francis Masson, who both travelled to North America in the early 1800s as part of their work.

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Image: Trees of Edinburgh

Now plans submitted by Trams to Newhaven show the area being replaced with paving and some new young trees.

Leith Harbour and Newhaven Community Council has launched a campaign to “Save Discovery Gardens” and asked local residents to raise awareness and express their objection to the plan.

“During lock-down the garden provided a welcome respite for many neighbours and families who do not have a garden of their own,” the council wrote in a community update.

“Nearly 20 years old now, the garden contains a mix of trees, hedges, climbing plants and flowers, attracting many species of birds and butterflies.”

Conservation campaign group Trees of Edinburgh also called for the area to be saved.

Campaign member Eleanor Harris said: “Gardens are not constructed, they are grown. This makes them literally irreplaceable.

“City gardens are not a luxury, they are a necessity – and with climate change their shading and water-absorption will become more necessary every year.

“That’s why the local residents of Leith Harbour and Newhaven asked Trees of Edinburgh for help to save the Ocean Terminal Discovery Garden.

“Our communities know gardens are irreplaceable – but their protection comes down to a dull word, ‘governance’.

“Does the city which launched the heroic plant hunters around the world have the strength of governance – the clout – to protect the long-term public good from the short-term business convenience?

“I’d like to hope Edinburgh can demonstrate it does.”

Conservation Landscape Architect and blogger Jessica Tivy visited the garden and wrote about its botanical significance on her blog in 2013.

“Representing the discoveries of the founding fathers of Scottish botany, large groupings of individual species are planted to showcase their discoveries,” she said.

“This modern, interpretive garden, provides respite within a commercial complex. Simple signage explains the layout and identifies the plants.

“Vines climb a on framework that is installed on the walls, and lighting makes it a welcoming place.

“Although discreet in its location, this garden has captured an opportunity for tourists and residents alike to discover the many species that these Scottish botanists have introduced to the landscape of Great Britain.”

A spokesperson for Ocean Terminal said: “The regeneration plans for this part of Leith are important for everyone living and working in the area and we are very happy to meet with the community council alongside Edinburgh Trams over this matter.”

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Trump Holds Indoor Rally as White House Officials Try to Defend His Virus Response

The president of North Georgia Technical College, a public two-year college in Clarkesville, Ga., with about 2,700 students, has died “after losing his battle with Covid-19,” the school announced on Sunday.

Mark Ivester, who was 57 (not 58, as an earlier version of this briefing stated) and had served as the college’s president since 2016, had been hospitalized since Aug. 16, according to The Northeast Georgian, a local newspaper. The paper also reported that Amy Hulsey, the college’s vice president of community relations, said last week during a prayer vigil for Dr. Ivester that he was on continuous dialysis at North Georgia Medical Center in Braselton.

“With incredibly heavy hearts, we are so sad to say that Dr. Mark Ivester passed away last night around midnight after losing his battle to Covid-19,” the college said in a statement posted on Facebook on Sunday. “Once again, please continue to pray for Eleanor” — his wife — “and his entire family. Thank you for all the love and support you have shown them and one another during this time. We are all devastated and will miss him terribly.”

A New York Times survey found that in just the past week, American colleges and universities have recorded more than 36,000 virus cases, not all of them new, bringing the total of campus infections to 88,000 since the pandemic began. Only about 60 of the campus cases have resulted in death, mostly in the spring and among college employees, not students.

It was not immediately clear where or how Dr. Iverson contracted the virus.

“He was always so cautious and wore a mask as much as possible,” Ms. Hulsey said in an email. “Although he was in ICU for 4 weeks, we are all still in shock over his passing.”

The website of North Georgia Technical College says is it “providing a safe, clean and protective environment for everyone on campus,” including plexiglass shields in areas where students and staff members frequently interact face to face and a requirement that students wear masks in classrooms and common areas.

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School board continues to defend transgender bathroom policy

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GLOUCESTER, Va. (AP) — A school board in Virginia will continue to defend its transgender bathroom ban in federal court.

The Daily Press reported Thursday that the Gloucester School Board has asked a full federal appeals court to review the long-running lawsuit filed by former student Gavin Grimm.

The request comes after two federal courts have sided with Grimm and called the school board’s policy discriminatory and unconstitutional. The policy required Grimm to use restrooms that corresponded with his biological sex – female – or use private bathrooms.

A federal court in Norfolk ruled against the school board last year. And a three-judge panel with the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond ruled against the school board last month.

The board is now requesting a full hearing at the appeals court. Such hearings are granted less than 1 percent of the time. That could mean that the next stop for the case is the U.S. Supreme Court.



The school board said in its filing that its policy “treats all students equally, and is substantially related to the important objective of protecting student privacy.”

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White House, Allies Try to Defend Trump’s Woodward Debacle

If only Trump hadn’t listened to him, everything would be fine.
Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s damning revelations from Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book — most notable, that President Trump deliberately misled the American public about COVID-19’s severity — the Trump administration and its allies struggled to mount a defense. At a White House press briefing on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany maintained that the president has never downplayed the virus (never mind that he admitted to doing so on tape).

Others in right-wing media argued that even though Trump had downplayed the virus, this was consistent with his public-facing posture that Americans shouldn’t panic — ignoring the fact that the president’s supposed reasoning for not panicking was that he thought the virus’s danger was overrated (when, we now know, he was making the opposite case in private).

Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, found a scapegoat. On his show Wednesday night, the Fox News host pinned the blame for the entire Woodward episode squarely on South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham.

Posing the question of why Trump would sit down for interviews that would very likely cast him in an unfavorable light, Carlson said he had “the answer to that mystery” from “a source who knows.” Carlson went on to say that Graham had convinced Trump to talk to Woodward and that his sabotage is of a piece with his opposition to Trump’s policies on immigration, foreign entanglements, and “law and order at home.”

But Carlson’s attempt to cast Graham as a scheming Svengali strains credulity, considering the president’s well-documented tendency to cast aside any advice he doesn’t like. (It also ignores the fact that Trump had cooperated on a previous Woodward book, as well as his knack for self-immolating in front of conservative-leaning journalists.) And Carlson’s portrayal of Graham as insufficiently loyal to the president is just slightly at odds with the senator’s slavish devotion to the man he sees as his political meal ticket.

The president, as usual, mounted his own defense. On Thurday morning, in the midst of a tweet binge during which he assured Americans that Kim Jong-un is in good health, he twisted an argument proffered by some journalists — that Woodward had a responsibility to alert the public to Trump’s deception — by offering that same argument as proof that Trump didn’t really do anything wrong.

Cleanup complete — now on to the next scandal.

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