Vice President Mike Pence on Monday addressed reports that President Trump called African nations "shithole countries," more than a week after the comments were first reported by The Washington Post.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Pence defended the president from accusations of racism, telling AP that Trump does not support immigration policies that are based on race or nationality. "I know the president's heart," Pence said. Instead, what the president does support is a "merit-based" immigration policy "that puts the interests of America first," Pence said.
Pence similarly invoked the president's "heart" when defending Trump after he said in August that there were "very fine people on both sides" of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. AP noted that Pence "did not directly answer a question about whether Trump's language was appropriate" in the Monday interview.
AP also asked Pence about Trump's alleged affair with adult film star Stormy Daniels, which Daniels detailed in a tell-all interview with InTouch Weekly. The vice president called the story a "baseless [allegation] against the president." Kelly O'Meara Morales
President Trump defended National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster in a statement Friday evening, attempting to ward off right-wing criticism the official has attracted this week. "General McMaster and I are working very well together," Trump said. "He is a good man and very pro-Israel. I am grateful for the work he continues to do serving our country."
McMaster has come under fire for his dismissal of several National Security Council staff members; his approach to the war in Afghanistan; and his renewal of security clearance for former President Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice.
"McMaster has been undermining the president to the point of insubordination," said Mike Cernovich, a controversial right-wing activist who runs McMasterLeaks.com, in a representative critique of the former general. "For example," he continued, "McMaster has been pulling the security clearances of pro-Trump members of the NSC." Bonnie Kristian