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Opinion CNN’s Jeffrey Lord outdoes himself in defending Trump’s CNN-beating tweet

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CNN’s Kayleigh McEnany, a die-hard Trump supporter, had a predictable approach to defending the president’s Sunday-morning tweet depicting something of a beat-down against CNN:

“It was just a joke,” said McEnany of an edited WWE video showing the president of the United States raining haymakers on a man wearing a CNN logo on his head.

Garden-variety apologism.

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A more cerebral and yet utterly wacko form of apologism comes from McEnany’s fellow CNN Trumpite Jeffrey Lord, who appeared on the network Sunday evening in defense of the president. To tee up Lord’s comments, CNN host Boris Sanchez showed video of Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) saying that he didn’t believe that some of the president’s Twitter work “is setting the right example for my kids.”

So Sanchez asked Lord: Is President Trump setting a proper example for the children?

Lord was ready, and there must be no abridgment of this historic moment:

I know Lee Zeldin, I have a lot of respect for him. I just disagree with him. And I just want to say that the logic here, that this could result in violence against journalists. Let’s just flip this. Let’s just wonder. I mean, CNN, and I don’t want to pick on CNN — The Washington Post, the New York Times, the liberal media in general — gives air time to Democrats who say that the Republican health-care plan is going to kill millions of people. As a result, if you’re going to follow this logic, Congressman Steve Scalise has been shot and almost killed. Is that CNN’s fault? No, of course not. That’s ridiculous. Is that the fault of The Washington Post or the New York Times? By their logic, yes! But I would suggest no. And I think that they need to stop this and understand that the First Amendment gives everybody the right to say their piece, including presidential spokespeople, the president of the United States himself. Period.

Bolding inserted to make a point: There’s no logic whatsoever in Lord’s argument. Was he really trying to cite a fake, hypothetical argument on a nexus between the health-care debate and the shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) in June at a baseball practice? We may never know.

What we do know is that Anderson Cooper — in a moment of on-air crudeness — was right. If Trump “took a dump on his desk, you’d defend it,” Cooper told Lord in May after news had surfaced that Trump had called former FBI director James B. Comey a “nut job” in a conversation with Russian officials. “I mean, he’s the president of the United States,” Lord told Cooper of Trump’s free rein to say what he wishes.

That Lord cites the First Amendment in defending Trump’s latest anti-media tweet is quite precious. Is this where we are now — saying that the same amendment that protects every last despicable Internet troll also protects the president of the United States? And: No one is claiming that he doesn’t have the constitutional right to express his views, though some have said he may well be violating Twitter’s terms of use (Twitter has cleared the president). That same First Amendment also protects the press, though apparently Trump doesn’t share the sentiment.

There’s some irony in this entire sequence: Trump has been hammering CNN for months and months, calling it “fake news” and escalating his attacks after the network one week ago announced the resignations of three employees after a screwed-up story on a Trump ally. At the same time, CNN is the very network that has done the most to hire and pay commentators such as McEnany and Lord who’ll do anything to defend the president. They churn out just the sort of sycophancy for which the president has repeatedly shown such affinity.

Perhaps he doesn’t appreciate the gesture.

In explaining last week’s resignations, CNN officials declared that the story — which related to Wall Street figure Anthony Scaramucci — didn’t meet the company’s exacting standards and procedures for internal vetting. “Our reputation is everything; that is our currency, and that’s why we have processes in place,” CNN President Jeff Zucker told colleagues after the incident. “If you don’t follow those procedures, you don’t work here, period.” If only Zucker and Co. applied such rigor to the likes of Jeffrey Lord.

President Trump spoke about the media while at the Celebrate Freedom Concert in Washington D.C. on July 1. (Video: The Washington Post, Photo: MANDEL NGAN/The Washington Post)