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On today's episode of CBS' "Face the Nation," host Margaret Brennan pressed White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Donald Trump's history of anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The key exchange:

  • Brennan: "As a candidate, the President called for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States. He said Islam hates us. This kind of language in the past leads to these questions of why isn't the president now directly using that megaphone to condemn it.
  • Mulvaney: "Well, then ... take the words and put them in one category and take the actions and put them in another. Something the president doesn't get hardly any credit for or any attention to is the work he's done in defense of religious minorities all around the world up to and including Muslims in the Middle East. ... So I hear what folks say, 'Oh, Donald Trump said this during the campaign.' Look at what we've done while we've been here. I don't think anybody could say that the president is anti-Muslim."
  • Brennan: "Well, the president's tweeting now about a TV host who was suspended for anti-Muslim rhetoric. So it's I think a fair question to ask you about this."

Behind the scenes: We often hear this exact line from administration officials as justification for Trump's rhetoric: "Take the words and put them in one category and take the actions and put them in another." A senior European government official told me former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis often used the same line privately with allies to try to assuage their concerns about Trump.

  • But Brennan made a painfully obvious point that still bears repeating: Trump's words matter.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record.
  2. Politics: States beg for Warp Speed billions.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

Technical glitch in Facebook's ad tools creates political firestorm

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Photo: SOPA Images / Contributor

Facebook said late Thursday that a mix of "technical problems" and confusion among advertisers around its new political ad ban rules caused issues affecting ad campaigns of both parties.

Why it matters: A report out Thursday morning suggested the ad tools were causing campaign ads, even those that adhered to Facebook's new rules, to be paused. Very quickly, political campaigners began asserting the tech giant was enforcing policies in a way that was biased against their campaigns.

8 hours ago - Health

States beg for Warp Speed billions

A COVID-19 drive-thru testing center yesterday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens. Photo: David Santiago/Miami Herald via AP

Operation Warp Speed has an Achilles' heel: States need billions to distribute vaccines — and many say they don't have the cash.

Why it matters: The first emergency use authorization could come as soon as next month, but vaccines require funding for workers, shipping and handling, and for reserving spaces for vaccination sites.