President Donald Trump’s claim that past presidents personally told him they approved of his border wall proposal was proven untrue by the media, but that did not stop Vice President Mike Pence from defending Trump’s falsehood — in a manner that could imply the president thinks people on TV are speaking directly to him.
“This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me,” [Trump] said. “And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it.”
Reporters have reached out to all living former presidents and ascertained that none of them did so.
Asked by NBC’s Hallie Jackson on Tuesday to name the former presidents who told Trump to move forward with the wall, Pence offered the following explanation:
“I know the president has said that that was his impression from previous presidents, previous administrations,” replied Pence. “I know I’ve seen clips of previous presidents talking about the importance of border security.”
New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait sees Pence’s answer as worse than admitting Trump lied:
So rather than concede that Trump made up these private conversations, Pence is saying Trump saw them say it on television, and imagined they had told him this face-to-face. Is that actually better?