Andrew Lawrence

Author ››› Andrew Lawrence
  • Mark Halperin’s “Truly Laughable” Interview With Donald Trump

    Halperin’s Interview Fails The Standards He And His Co-Host Set For Other Journalists

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Bloomberg’s With All Due Respect host Mark Halperin previewed an interview with Donald Trump scheduled to air Sunday on Showtime’s The Circus. The interview has been roundly criticized in the media for Halperin’s soft questioning of Trump.

    Halperin appeared with Trump following a publicity event for his new hotel in Washington, D.C. and asked Trump questions like “For people who say this was a great Trump speech, as far as you’re concerned, do you think they’re all great,” and “What’s your general sense of where you are in the battleground states?”

    The preview ignored recent controversies surrounding Trump’s candidacy, including Trump adviser Newt Gingrich’s sexually charged attack on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly which Trump praised as “amazing” during the same speech that Halperin categorized in his interview as “great.”

    The Daily Beast described Halperin’s interview as “truly laughable” while highlighting some of the more ridiculous questions:

    How do you get Donald Trump to talk to you with less than two weeks to go before Election Day? Tell him exactly what he wants to hear. That’s been the approach by Fox News’ Sean Hannity and radio host Rush Limbaugh.

    And now we can add Mark Halperin to that list.

    The co-host of Bloomberg Politics’ With All Due Respect (which also airs on MSNBC) and Showtime’s The Circus approached Trump after he delivered a ribbon-cutting speech to open his new Washington, D.C. hotel on Wednesday and asked some truly laughable questions of the Republican nominee.

    For instance, “People who say this was a great Trump speech, as far as you’re concerned, do you think they’re all great?” Yes, he does, but this one wasn’t enough in the “Make America Great Again” spirit to rile up his rally crowds.

    Then there was this one: “You’ve redefined how candidates talk about polls. Some polls you’re winning, some you’re behind. We have a new poll where you are up in Florida. What’s your general sense of where you are in the battleground states?”

    Halperin’s interview even fell below his own journalistic standard given the pressure that he and his co-host John Heilemann have placed on journalists to question Trump about his failure to release his tax returns. Previously, Halperin called it “one hundred percent” the media’s obligation to continue asking Trump about his tax returns while challenging the media “to all keep asking” Trump about it. Heilemann even called on the media to question Trump about his returns “every time we sit in front of him,” and declaring it the responsibility of anyone who interviews Trump to “make it clear to him that it’s not okay that he violate what has become a norm in American elections.”

    Halperin has come under intense criticism during this election season for acting as a bonafide Trump apologist, including brushing off Trump’s reluctance to accept the election results as a concern of “elites,” criticizing The New York Times for responding to Trump’s threat to take legal action against them, portraying Trump’s request of Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails as bad behavior by Clinton and Trump, and defending Trump’s racist attacks against American judge of Mexican descent, Judge Gonzalo Curiel, by declaring “Mexico isn’t a race.”

  • Media Critics: CNN’s Use Of Pro-Trump Surrogates Undercuts The Network’s Journalism

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Media critics say CNN’s use of paid pro-Trump surrogates has undercut the network’s journalism and the “goal of informing its audience.”

    After the third and final presidential debate, Trump surrogates scrambled to spin Donald Trump’s statement that he may not accept the results of the election, putting forward a litany of absurd claims. On CNN, that role was filled by the network’s roster of paid contributors who were specifically hired for their willingness to defend Trump.

    New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen criticized the “candidate surrogate” system CNN invested in during this campaign cycle, explaining that CNN’s “Surrogates are unwilling to defend Trump, so they change him into a man more defensible.” He added that because CNN’s Trump surrogates frequently attempt to mislead the network’s audience, CNN has “wasted our time, undermined the work of their journalists, and made the election-year discussion more opaque [than] it would have been if they had never invited these people on set.”

    The Columbia Journalism Review’s David Uberti similarly wrote that having the Trump surrogates on-air to spin the widely condemned remarks made by Trump during the debate “overstepped CNN’s reporting and undercut its purported goal of informing its audience”:

    The consensus headline from the third and final presidential debate was Republican candidate Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the 2016 election results. It was a stunning rebuke of American political norms from the nominee of a major political party, and it quickly dominated coverage online Wednesday night and in major print newspapers Thursday morning.The Associated Press’ lede said Trump is “threatening to upend a fundamental pillar of American democracy.”

    At CNN, however, confusion initially reigned. The network’s journalists expressed shock at Trump’s comments within seconds of the debate’s conclusion. “One of the most stunning things I’ve ever heard in a presidential debate, ever,” said Jake Tapper, the network’s chief Washington correspondent.


    But pro-Trump contributors attempted to muddle this point during a panel discussion after the debate, when viewership was likely highest. Their baseless speculation that the election might somehow be rigged overstepped CNN’s reporting and undercut its purported goal of informing its audience. The comments, which drew stern rebuttals from other CNN on-air talent, highlight how the network’s pursuit of the appearance of objectivity in 2016 has distorted its final product on television. It also provides a clear example of how the channel’s model puts CNN journalists in the awkward position of fact-checking CNN contributors in real time.

    Uberti concluded: “CNN pays pro-Trump contributors to provide it with a shinier veneer of objectivity. But it’s become all too clear in recent months that this mission actively harms its journalists’ pursuit of the truth. The news organization must clarify where its real priorities lie.”

    CNN’s reliance on Trump surrogates to provide defense for a “candidate who doesn’t exist” has come under increased scrutiny over recent weeks, with their decision to hire former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was still receiving payment from the Trump campaign, as a paid political analyst.

    Media Matters’ Carlos Maza highlighted CNN’s Trump surrogate problem, noting how surrogates refuse to answer legitimate questions about Trump’s positions and controversies and instead point unrelated discussions that devolve into personal attacks.


  • The Media Aren't Buying Trump’s Claim That Intelligence Officials Criticized Obama During Confidential Briefing

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Media figures immediately denounced Donald Trump’s claim during NBC’s Commander-In-Chief Forum that during an intelligence briefing, CIA officials expressed disappointment in President Obama and his handling of foreign affairs.

    In August, Trump began receiving intelligence briefings, which NBC News described as a description of “how US intelligence agencies see a variety of global issues.”

    During the forum, moderator Matt Lauer asked Trump if he had learned anything about strategy to combat ISIS or anything that would make him reconsider his promise to defeat the terror organization quickly. Trump replied that he did not learn anything like that during the briefing but he did learn that President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry are “total disaster[s]” and that Obama “did not follow … what our experts said to do.”:


    MATT LAUER (MODERATOR): Did anything in that briefing, without going into specifics, shock or alarm you?

    DONALD TRUMP: Yes, very much so.

    LAUER: Did you learn new things in that briefing?

    TRUMP: First of all, I have great respect for the people that gave us the briefings. They were terrific people. They were experts on Iraq and Iran and different parts of -- and Russia. But yes, there was one thing that shocked me. And it just seems to me that what they said, President Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, who is another total disaster, did exactly the opposite.

    LAUER: Did you learn anything in that briefing, again, not going into specifics, that makes you reconsider some of the things you say you can accomplish like defeating ISIS quickly?

    TRUMP: No. I didn't learn anything from that standpoint. What I did learn is that our leadership, Barack Obama, did not follow what our experts and our truly -- when they call it intelligence, it's there for a reason. What our experts said to do.

    Trump’s claim was met with immediate skepticism. On MSNBC, former CIA Director Leon Panetta said he would be “very surprised” if the interaction Trump described took place and said it would be a “violation of [intelligence officials] responsibility.” Media figures described it as “untruthful,” and “hard to believe.” Furthermore, The Washington Post’s David Ignatius said the intelligence community would not make policy recommendations and that they would be “deeply upset” by Trump’s comments.

  • New York Times’ Widely Panned Review Of Trump’s Immigration-Focused Day Receives Heavy Edits After Publishing

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    The New York Times’ front page story on Donald Trump’s trip to Mexico and subsequent immigration speech was sharply denounced by reporters who said its positive tone did not match reality. Following the publication of the article and criticism from the press, the Times made numerous edits to the article.

    Following Trump’s widely criticized speech on immigration where he painted immigrants as murders, criminals running free, and “low-skilled workers with less education” taking jobs from citizens, the Times’ Patrick Healy published a glowing review of Trump’s “audacious attempt .. to remake his image on the divisive issue of immigration,” calling Trump’s trip to Mexico and subsequent speech a “spirited bid for undecided American voters to see him anew.” The original story read, in part:

    Donald J. Trump made an audacious attempt on Wednesday to remake his image on the divisive issue of immigration, shelving his plan to deport 11 million undocumented people and suggesting that the United States and Mexico would solve the immigration crisis together.

    In a spirited bid for undecided American voters to see him anew, Mr. Trump swept into Mexico City to make overtures to a nation he has repeatedly denigrated, then flew to Phoenix to outline his latest priorities on immigration — a stark turnaround from the “deportation force” and other severe tactics that helped win him the Republican nomination.


    On a more personal level, Mr. Trump also wanted to show undecided voters that he had the temperament and self-control of a statesman — qualities that many doubt he has — and also demonstrate that Americans did not need to worry every time he opened his mouth in a foreign country. He also hoped to show that he could acquit himself well on the world stage, something that is a clear strength of Mrs. Clinton, a former secretary of state, senator and first lady.

    After the article was published online, it was widely panned by reporters who said that its author had “apparently watched a completely different immigration speech” and produced a “systematic failure.”

    Following the criticism, heavy edits were made to the article without acknowledgment of the changes, including deleting the claim that the speech constituted a “sharp turnaround” from his previous rhetoric and added discussion of Trump’s failure to clarify his position on a variety of immigration-related issues. Additions included:

    Yet the juxtaposition of Mr. Trump’s dual performances was so jarring that his true vision and intentions on immigration were hard to discern. He displayed an almost unrecognizable demeanor during his afternoon in Mexico, appearing measured and diplomatic, while hours later he took the stage at his campaign rally and denounced illegal immigrants on the whole as a criminally minded and dangerous group that sows terror in communities and commits murders, rapes and other heinous violence.

    Mr. Trump also fervently tried to depict himself as an ally of average workers, saying their economic interests were far more important than the needs of undocumented workers. But he left unclear what would happen to those millions of illegal immigrants, saying only that “the appropriate disposition of those individuals” will take place at some future date after the criminals are deported and his border wall is built.

    By contrast, a Times editorial published online the same day criticized Trump’s speech and immigration proposals as “empty words strung together and repeated,” “brutally simple,” and “reverie of immigrant-fearing, police state bluster”:

    It’s ridiculous that Donald Trump’s immigration proposals — not so much a policy as empty words strung together and repeated — should have propelled him as far as they have. This confounding situation hit peak absurdity on Wednesday.

    It started with Mr. Trump’s meeting with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, in Mexico City. It was surreal because Mr. Trump has spent his entire campaign painting Mexico as a nation of rapists, drug smugglers and trade hustlers who would have to pay for the 2,000-mile border wall that Mr. Trump was going to build. But instead of chastising Mr. Trump, Mr. Peña Nieto treated him like a visiting head of state at a news conference, with side-by-side lecterns and words of deferential mush.


    In a strident speech given over a steady roar of cheers, he restated his brutally simple message: Criminal aliens were roaming our streets by the millions, killing Americans and stealing our jobs, and he’d kick them all out with a new “deportation force,” build the wall and make America safe again.

    The speech was a reverie of immigrant-fearing, police-state bluster, with Mr. Trump gushing about building “an impenetrable, physical, tall, powerful, beautiful southern border wall,” assailing “media elites” and listing his various notions for thwarting evil foreigners. He said the immigration force might deport Hillary Clinton.

    UPDATE: On September 1, The New York Times’ public editor wrote a response to the criticism, admitting that “mistakes” were made, and recognizing that “many other major news sites managed to hit the mark.”

  • Breitbart News Attacked Clinton For Calling Mexican President A Friend, But Ignored Trump Doing Same

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Breitbart News praised Donald Trump, who called Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto a “friend” during his visit with the leader in Mexico City, but the conservative media outlet previously harshly criticized Hillary Clinton for doing the same thing.

    Breitbart praised Trump’s August 31 visit with Nieto, describing it as a “triumph,” and commended his “softer, diplomatic persona.” The article, however, failed to mention Trump’s description of Nieto as his personal “friend”:

    DONALD TRUMP: A strong prosperous and vibrant Mexico is in the best interest of the United States and will keep and help keep, for a long, long period of time, America together. Both of our countries will work together for mutual good, and most importantly for the mutual good of our people. Mr. President, I want to thank you. It’s been a tremendous honor and I call you a friend. Thank you.

    However, in June 2016, Breitbart reported on a statement by Clinton in which she criticized Trump for praising “dictators like Vladimir Putin” while attacking “our friends – including the British prime minister, the mayor of London, the German chancellor, the president of Mexico and the Pope.” Breitbart attacked Clinton for her description of Nieto, calling him “scandal-plagued” and pointing out that Mexican media had accused him “of taking cartel money for his campaign.”

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has claimed that Mexico’s corruption and scandal-plagued President Enrique Peña Nieto is America’s friend. The same president that has been accused by Mexican media of taking cartel money for his campaign while the country continues to see rising levels of violence, criminal impunity, and smuggling.


    Despite her efforts to attack Trump, Clinton failed to mention a few key facts about Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that reveal he may not be a good friend to have. Earlier this year, Breitbart Texas reported on how an in-depth investigation by Aristegui Noticias in Mexico revealed that the Juarez Cartel had used shell companies to funnel money and help finance his presidential bid. The cartel moneys were used to purchase a series of cash cards that were handed out to individuals who pledged their vote to Peña Nieto’s party, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). The independent Mexican journalists also revealed that members of the Juarez Cartel had used various government programs to launder money and profit from their network of contacts. In addition to the cartel ties in his campaign, Peña Nieto has also been accused of taking bribes from wealthy businessmen in exchange for lucrative contracts.

    On August 17 it was announced that Stephen Bannon would be taking a leave of absence from his role as the executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC to become chief executive of Donald Trump’s campaign. Throughout the campaign Breitbart has received criticism for its devotion to Donald Trump, while Trump himself has shared Breitbart News articles 186 times on social media.

  • Hannity’s Shameless Trump Town Hall Includes Lies That Trump Opposed Iraq And Opposed Troop Withdrawal

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Sean Hannity’s town hall with Donald Trump included several lies about the war in Iraq that were repeated by Hannity throughout the night.

    In one of the first questions of his town hall, Hannity suggested that Trump opposed the war in Iraq initially but wanted troops to remain later in the war to keep the country stabilized, arguing that “even though you were opposed to [the war], you were opposed to leaving.”


    SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let me ask you this, I know it was being controversial when you said that the founder of ISIS is Obama and the co-founder is Hillary, but yesterday -- yesterday you went into a lot of detail. You and I, actually, I remember debating you, because I did support Iraq, but I didn't support leaving early without finishing the job. We had so many Americans bleed and die and risk their lives for Mosul, Baghdad, Fallujah, Ramadi, and Tikrit, they won those cities. And you talked about, even though you were opposed to it, you were opposed to leaving.

    DONALD TRUMP: Look, look, I said one thing right from the beginning, I wanted to get out. We should have never been there, and I wanted to get out and I've been against it ever since. You can look back to 2004, 2003. In fact, on Neil Cavuto's show before the war started, I said let's not do it, we have other things we have to do, including fix our economy, which was a mess, to put it mildly. The way we got out was ridiculously. But I've been saying something since I've known you, keep the oil. Have I said that?

    During the interview with Hannity, Trump cited a 2003 interview he gave to Fox News’ Neil Cavuto as proof that he opposed the war. But Trump did not say during that interview he opposed the war, instead he urged President George W. Bush to make a decision, saying “either you attack or you don’t attack.” Furthermore, during a 2002 interview with radio host Howard Stern, Trump said that he supported the invasion of Iraq.

    Trump also called for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq in 2007 saying  America should “declare victory and leave” Iraq, and in 2008 he said “I’d get out of Iraq right now.”

  • White Supremacists Love Trump’s New Hire

    Daily Beast: Bannon Turned Breitbart Into A “Safe Space For White Supremacists”

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    White nationalists and hate group leaders are praising Donald Trump’s hiring of Breitbart News CEO Steve Bannon as the new chief executive of his campaign, calling it “great news” and citing Bannon as someone who shares their views.

    An August 17 Daily Beast report detailed the disturbing list of white supremacists and hate group leaders praising the hiring of Bannon and his effort at Breitbart News to mainstream their views. White supremacist website editor Peter Brimelow called the hire “great news,” while white nationalist think tank leader Richard* Spencer lauded Bannon as someone whose website has shown “elective affinities” for his ideas.

    The Daily Beast further highlighted the turn took towards bolstering white supremacy under Bannon’s leadership:

    Bannon didn’t just make Breitbart a safe space for white supremacists; he’s also welcomed a scholar blacklisted from the mainstream conservative movement for arguing there’s a connection between race and IQ. Breitbart frequently highlights the work of Jason Richwine, who resigned from the conservative Heritage Foundation when news broke that his Harvard dissertation argued in part that Hispanics have lower IQs than non-Hispanic whites.

    Bannon loves Richwine. On Jan. 6 of this year, when Richwine was a guest on the radio show, Bannon called him “one of the smartest brains out there on demographics, demography this whole issue of immigration, what it means to this country.”

    And, unsurprisingly, Bannon heaps praise on Pamela Geller, an activist in the counter-Jihad movement who warns about “creeping Sharia.” When she appeared on the SiriusXM Breitbart radio show that Bannon hosted, he called her “one of the leading experts in the country if not the world” on Islam.

    The white nationalist movement has been celebrating Trump throughout his campaign and used his candidacy to recruit followers, fundraise, and spread their message. The Trump campaign has frequently interacted with the white nationalist movement, providing access to their surrogates for white nationalist media, giving a white nationalist radio host press credentials, failing to condemn their support, and retweeting them.

    *name corrected

  • Paid CNN Commentator Corey Lewandowski Is Still Advising The Trump Campaign

    Rumors About Lewandowski's Continued Role With The Campaign Persist Despite His Employment At CNN

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    Donald Trump “has increasingly been back in regular contact” with his former campaign manager and current paid CNN commentator Corey Lewandowski, according to U.S. News & World Report. The news comes amid reports of a Trump campaign implosion and CNN coming under increasing criticism for their hiring of Lewandowski.

    As stories have surfaced of turmoil inside the Trump campaign, including reports of an “intervention” to take place between Trump and leading members of the Republican Party, “suicidal” staff members and Campaign Chair Paul Manafort “mailing it in,” Donald Trump is reportedly relying on his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for advice.

    On August 3 U.S. News & World Report wrote that Trump had “gone rogue” and turned to Lewandowski once again for advice:

    The Republican operative familiar with the Trump operation tells U.S. News that Trump has increasingly been back in regular contact with his former campaign manager turned CNN commentator, Corey Lewandowski.

    Lewandowski was ousted in June at the behest of Trump's children, who viewed him as lacking the sophisticated judgment needed to assist their wayward father. A major difference between the reigns of Lewandowski and Manafort is that Lewandowski traveled constantly with Trump, earning his trust and bending his ear. Manafort rarely hits the road and has followed a more typical template by holing up in an office with a phone to his ear and his fingers on a keyboard.

    The Manafort model has its advantages, but it also has created a distance from Trump that has stalled decisions and left the candidate without a reliable rudder when things go awry.

    "He's not satisfied with what he's getting," the Trump staffer says. "So he's basically gone rogue."

    Lewandowski immediately came under fire after becoming a CNN commentator on June 23, with media observers calling the hire “astonishing,” “totally compromised,” and a “sad move.” Lewandowski also faced criticism from CNN staff who questioned his employment, calling Lewandowski’s behavior while Trump campaign manager “inexcusable” and “unprofessional.”

    Since joining CNN, Lewandowski has used his platform to defend Trump and attack his rivals at every opportunity. Most recently, the former campaign manager rehashed Trump’s racist birther attack on President Obama asking whether the president got into Harvard “as a U.S. citizen, or was he brought into Harvard University as a citizen who wasn't from this country?"

    The reports of Lewandowski’s close relationship Trump while being paid by CNN to give his analysis of the campaign confirms the ongoing ethical problems with his employment at the network. On July 1 Lewandowski admitted that he was still doing “the same thing I’ve always been able to do” as an adviser to Trump. Reports surfaced on July 1 that Lewandowski “has not yet transitioned out of his role as a Trump employee, and on July 17 it was reported that Lewandowski was still advising the Republican nominee.

    The disclosure that the Trump campaign was paying Lewandowski “severance” on July 13 led to more criticism and ethical questions for CNN. Further questions have been raised over whether or not Lewandowski is even allowed to criticize Trump as a result of non-disparagement agreements reportedly signed by all Trump campaign staffers. When asked by CNN’s Erin Burnett if he had signed such an agreement, Lewandowski dodged the question and refused to answer.

    Despite the criticism and apparent conflict of interest, CNN has stood behind Lewandowski as a paid CNN contributor, with CNN President Jeff Zucker saying on August 2 that Lewandowski has “done a really nice job.”

  • What’s Behind Donald Trump’s New Local TV Interview Strategy

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    With his campaign floundering, Donald Trump appears to be adopting a new media strategy: minimizing exposure from cable and national broadcast networks while still reaching millions of viewers by granting interviews to major local broadcast providers that will provide the footage to affiliates across the country.

    Since the beginning of the general election campaign in June, Trump’s campaign has deliberately reduced his appearances on national broadcast and cable news shows. The one exception has been Fox News, where the GOP nominee regularly appears for softball interviews. According to Fox News’ Howard Kurtz, the shift came because a faction of the Trump campaign was convinced that “constant rounds of interviews entail too much risk of the candidate making mistakes or fanning minor controversies.” Indeed, a rare interview on ABC’s This Week this past Sunday generated a wave of criticism after Trump attacked the parents of an American Muslim soldier killed fighting in Iraq.

    But a Fox-only strategy brings its own challenge: Trump is able to speak only to those who already support him. He needs a different strategy in order to reach the rest of the country while avoiding the pitfalls of national broadcast or cable interviewers.  

    On August 2, Trump sat for interviews with Sinclair Broadcast Group and Gray Television Group that will air on their local broadcast affiliates throughout the country. Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has come under fire in the past for their conservative slant and for ordering their stations in 2004 to preempt regular programming in order to air an anti-John Kerry ad, boasts on their website that they control 173 television stations in 81 markets. Gray Television Group claims “180 program streams” in 51 markets nationwide.

    Sinclair Broadcasting
    Sinclair Broadcast Group Station Map

    Gray Television Group Station Map

    Trump’s campaign has taken a dismal turn as Hillary Clinton opens a sizable lead in national polling amid a flurry of Trump controversies. In order to turn things around, he is seeking to skip the national media gatekeepers while still reaching a national audience.

  • Fox Host Attacks Media For Covering Chaotic Vote Over RNC Rules

    Blog ››› ››› ANDREW LAWRENCE

    As chaos erupted on the floor of the Republican National Convention following a voice vote over whether or not delegates would be free to vote on the conventions' rules, Fox News first ignored the uproar and then criticized other media outlets for reporting on it.

    In what was billed as the last stand for the “Stop Trump” movement, a voice vote was taken to adopt rules drafted by the RNC rules committee. Despite chaos on the floor, it was ruled that “the ayes have it and the resolution is agreed to,” a ruling which was denounced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and other anti-Trump conservatives.

    While MSNBC and CNN were covering the scene from the RNC, Fox host Stuart Varney was attacking The Washington Post for its reporting on Fox host Neil Cavuto. When the network finally turned to the uproar, Varney used it to attack other media outlets for reporting on the “commotion,” saying “this convention will be treated by the establishment media as a series of confrontations, a series of crises. Very different from the expected media treatment of the Democrat convention next week”:

    STUART VARNEY (HOST): Now, we're bringing you this because there was some kind of commotion on the floor. Mike Lee, I believe, is trying to explain that commotion, whether it's a procedural thing, whether it involves those who oppose Donald Trump, that we're not quite sure of. The media, of course, is making the great play of some kind of commotion on the floor of the convention, which has already begun. We're trying to get our own James Rosen onboard to find out exactly what is going on down there. It's not a huge commotion by any means but Mike Lee, Republican senator from the state of Utah, is right there dealing with it. I'm not quite sure of his role in this commotion as I'm calling it. But that is what he is doing right now. Explaining to the media what just happened, why it happened, and what is going to happen next. That is Mike Lee on the floor of the convention. Now, the convention is barely been opened a fewer hours. Already we have contentious stuff happening on the floor. The media all over it, of course, as you just heard from Brent Bozell this convention will be treated by the establishment media as a series of confrontations, as a series of crises. Very different from the expected media treatment of the Democrat convention next week.

    Varney later repudiated claims that the convention had become a “car wreck,” saying that it should instead be described as “high drama.”