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Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, shakes hands with vice presidential candidate Gov. Mike Pence, R-Ind., during a town hall, July 25, 2016, in Roanoke, Va. (Photo by Evan Vucci/AP)

Trump allies defend his election lie as 'refreshing'

12/05/16 08:00AM

Throughout his time in public life, Donald Trump has never been truth-oriented, but last week the president-elect told a rather specific lie: "I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." This was a demonstrable falsehood, and neither Trump nor any of his allies have been able to bolster the bogus claim with evidence.

So instead, Team Trump has apparently embraced a post-modern debate about the inherent value and meaning of truth.

One pro-Trump pundit argued last week, for example, that there's "no such thing" as facts anymore. Corey Lewandowski added that American voters "understood that sometimes, when you have a conversation with people, whether it's around the dinner table or at a bar, you're going to say things, and sometimes you don't have all the facts to back it up."

Outgoing RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who'll soon become the White House chief of staff, was asked on CBS's "Face the Nation" yesterday about Trump lying about voter fraud. Priebus, without proof, said it's "possible" that millions of illegal ballots were cast. When host John Dickerson noted that there is no evidence to support such a claim, Priebus responded, "I think the president-elect is someone who has pushed the envelope and caused people to think in this country."

This is, of course, bordering on madness. Asked to defend his boss' demonstrable lie, the incoming White House chief of staff thinks it's great that the president-elect is "pushing the envelope" -- as if making transparently false claims to the nation is somehow cutting-edge.

On ABC's "This Week," George Stephanopoulos asked Vice President-elect Mike Pence about Trump's lie, and Pence pointed to a Pew Research Center report as proof to bolster the bogus claim. Given that the Pew report doesn't support the claim at all, the incoming VP defended a lie with a lie.

Pence then tried to change the subject, which led to this exchange:
STEPHANPOULOS: [C]an you provide any evidence to back up that statement?

PENCE; Well, look, I think he's expressed his opinion on that. And he's entitled to express his opinion on that. And I think the American people find it very refreshing that they have a president who will tell them what's on his mind.
This is no small moment. Americans are being told that their incoming president lied to them, got caught, and this is somehow a positive development that should inspire confidence in our reality-challenged leader.
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Friday's Mini-Report, 12.2.16

12/02/16 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* South Carolina: "A lone juror said they cannot convict a white former police officer who fatally shot a black man in South Carolina, and the judge asked for clarification from the foreperson as to whether the jury is hopelessly deadlocked. The juror in a letter to the court said 'I cannot in good conscience consider a guilty verdict' against Michael Slager, a former patrolman who pulled over Walter Scott in North Charleston, and ended up shooting him as a bystander recorded the incident on video."

* Tennessee: "The death toll in eastern Tennessee's devastating wildfire climbed to 13 on Friday as county officials disputed claims that no evacuation order was sent to mobile devices as the flames approached homes."

* Did this really happen? "U.S. President-elect Donald Trump spoke on the telephone on Friday with Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte and invited him to the White House next year during a 'very engaging, animated' talk, an aide to Duterte said."

* A New Jersey judge today "dismissed a bid to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Gov. Chris Christie's involvement in the lane closings at the George Washington Bridge, leaving the case in the hands of an office led by one of Mr. Christie's appointees."

* I wonder if Trump's deal with Carrier would've been better if the company's workers union hadn't been shut out of the negotiations.

* Overtime: "The Labor Department is appealing an injunction that halted the Dec. 1 implementation of a sweeping overtime-pay regulation, advancing a federal court battle over a rule that could face an eventual challenge from President-elect Donald Trump."

* Lame-duck session: "The House on Friday easily passed this year's annual defense policy bill with bipartisan support in a 375-34 vote. The bill would authorize a total of $618.7 billion in spending, including $59.5 billion for a war fund known as the overseas contingency operations (OCO) account."
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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump (L) meets with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (C) and Vice-President elect Mike Pence on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 10, 2016. (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

The Republican health care scheme starts to take shape

12/02/16 05:00PM

Next month, Republicans will take control of the entirety of the federal government for the first time in a decade. What will the radicalized party tackle first? By some accounts, health care.
Vice President-elect Mike Pence said Tuesday that repealing and replacing ObamaCare would be the first item on President-elect Donald Trump's agenda after Trump takes office early next year.

"It'll be the first thing out of the gate," Pence told Fox News' Sean Hannity on "Hannity." "The President-elect's made it very clear. He wants the Congress when they convene in early January to take up the task of repealing and replacing ObamaCare first."
Pence added at an Ohio rally last night that the Affordable Care Act will be replaced "with American solutions," which was a curious thing to say. For one thing, the ACA blueprint came from Mitt Romney, not a foreign government. For another, Pence knows as well as anyone that the reform law has produced amazing results for Americans -- most notably in Indiana, where the law has slashed the state's uninsured rate by more than a third.

Nevertheless, the far-right vice president-elect's comments, which are consistent with what congressional GOP leaders have been saying, suggest the fight over Americans' access to health security is going to get quite intense almost immediately after Inauguration Day.

Unwrapping the Republicans' plans, however, is a little tricky, and some of the coverage has been a little confusing, so let's take a couple of minutes to set the stage for what's to come.
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Pro-Trump pundit argues 'there's no such thing' as facts

12/02/16 03:29PM

Donald Trump recently lied about voter fraud. The political world can debate whether or not it matters that Trump lied; and there's room for discussion about why the president-elect told this particular lie; but there's no denying the unambiguous facts. Reality is reality.

Or not.
In an interview on "The Diane Rehm Show," Donald Trump supporter and CNN political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes declared the end of facts. Or, in her own words: "There's no such thing, unfortunately, anymore of facts."

She explained that contention, too: "And so Mr. Trump's tweet amongst a certain crowd, a large -- a large part of the population, are truth. When he says that millions of people illegally voted, he has some -- in his -- amongst him and his supporters, and people believe they have facts to back that up."
Hughes, a notable pro-Trump pundit, added. "One thing that has been interesting this entire campaign season to watch is that people that say facts are facts, they're not really facts."

Conservative support for relativity of the truth isn't entirely new, though we don't usually hear it articulated with quite this much candor. As the argument goes, Trump's lies aren't lies to the people who assume his lies are true.

How can there be coherent debate over substantive policies when partisans and ideologues are, according to some pundits, welcome to embrace their own alternative version of reality? I haven't the foggiest idea.
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About The Rachel Maddow Show

Launched in 2008, “The Rachel Maddow Show” follows the machinations of policy making in America, from local political activism to international diplomacy. Rachel Maddow looks past the distractions of political theater and stunts and focuses on the legislative proposals and policies that shape American life - as well as the people making and influencing those policies and their ultimate outcome, intended or otherwise.



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