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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Senior White House adviser Kellyanne Conway

Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway is defending Donald Trump's recent use of the racist term "kung-flu" to describe COVID-19, despite calling the phrase "highly offensive" and "very hurtful" in March.

Trump used the term during his poorly attended rally in Oklahoma and again on Tuesday while meeting with student supporters in Arizona. Conway was asked about it by reporters on Wednesday morning, who noted that she had previously condemned its use.

"We don't always agree on everything and that's why I work here," Conway said, suggesting that the difference showed Trump is a "very strong leader."Conway said Trump's racist rhetoric was a way of holding China accountable for the virus.

"My reaction is that the president has made very clear he wants everybody to understand — and I think many Americans do understand — that the virus originated in China and had China been more transparent and honest with the United States and the world, we wouldn't have all the death and destruction that unfortunately we've suffered and that's important, continue to be important," Conway said.

The Trump administration and other Republicans have sought to use China as a way to deflect responsibility for Trump's mishandling of the outbreak that has killed over 121,000 Americans to date.

However, in both instances of Trump using the phrase, he was not talking about holding China accountable, but instead was claiming that there is a long list of names for the virus and that the racist "kung-flu" was one of them.

On Tuesday, Trump also expressed confusion about the "19" in COVID-19, saying "some people can't explain" it.

Earlier in the week, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany also defended Trump's use of the racist phrase, insisting that Trump "does not believe it's offensive to note that this virus came from China." She also claimed Trump's use of the phrase was somehow a way for him to "stand up for our U.S. military, who China's making an active effort to completely defame."

Even as Conway defended Trump's use of the racist phrase, she renewed her previous attacks on CBS reporter Weijia Jiang, who first reported that someone in the White House had used the phrase in front of her.

"I'm glad you're joining us, Weijia, because I still invite you up here to tell us who said that, and I think that that would be a very important revelation," said Conway.

"That's not a source for you to protect, that's somebody who shouldn't have said that and you're claiming did say that. We still don't know who that was," she added.

Actor as Donald Trump in Russia Today video ad

Screenshot from RT's 'Trump is here to make RT Great Again'

Russia Today, the network known in this country as RT, has produced a new "deep fake" video that portrays Donald Trump in post-presidential mode as an anchor for the Kremlin outlet. Using snippets of Trump's own voice and an actor in an outlandish blond wig, the ad suggests broadly that the US president is indeed a wholly owned puppet of Vladimir Putin– as he has so often given us reason to suspect.

"They're very nice. I make a lot of money with them," says the actor in Trump's own voice. "They pay me millions and hundreds of millions."

But when American journalists described the video as "disturbing," RT retorted that their aim wasn't to mock Trump, but his critics and every American who objects to the Russian manipulations that helped bring him to power.

As an ad for RT the video is amusing, but the network's description of it is just another lie. Putin's propagandists are again trolling Trump and America, as they've done many times over the past few years –- and this should be taken as a warning of what they're doing as Election Day approaches.

The Lincoln Project aptly observed that the Russians "said the quiet part out loud" this time, (Which is a bad habit they share with Trump.)