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April 21, 2017
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The race to replace President Trump's interior secretary, former Montana congressman Ryan Zinke, "might be the most interesting" of the three special elections held since November, Paul Blest writes at The Week. Certainly it has the most interesting characters: "Democratic cowboy poet and singer Rob Quist" will face off against "last year's losing Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte" on May 25, USA Today writes, with Gianforte leading as an early favorite.

Gianforte, 56, is a billionaire businessman who sold his company, RightNow Technologies, in 2011 and apparently now spends his time funneling money toward the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum, which publishes a newsletter explaining that "the Biblical worldview is consistent with the scientific evidence we find in the fossil record" and argues that dinosaurs rode on Noah's Ark.

Gianforte is a big fan of citing Noah, as it turns out. In a 2015 talk at the Montana Bible College, he told the audience that he doesn't believe in retirement because Noah was 600 when he built the ark. "There's nothing in the Bible that talks about retirement. And yet it's been an accepted concept in our culture today," Gianforte said. "Nowhere does it say, 'Well, he was a good and faithful servant, so he went to the beach.' It doesn't say that anywhere."

He added: "The example I think of is Noah. How old was Noah when he built the ark? Six hundred. He wasn't like, cashing Social Security checks, he wasn't hanging out, he was working. So, I think we have an obligation to work. The role we have in work may change over time, but the concept of retirement is not biblical."

Read more about the special elections, including the Montana race, here at The Week. Jeva Lange

3:57 p.m. ET

Late night television is marking the occasion of President Trump's first 100 days in office by condensing four months of news into just seconds.

For a walk down memory lane, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert packed everything into 100 seconds, beginning with "inauguration" and "largest audience" and ending with "tax plan" and "harder than he thought." Some repetitions stand out — the amount of times people say "Russia," for example, is a little concerning:

The Daily Show also did its own take on Trump's first 100 days in a supercut of White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer counting from zero to 100. It is, incredibly, a lot more entertaining than it sounds:

Not to be left out of the fun, The Simpsons also brutally encapsulated Trump's first 100 days in a short clip you can watch here. Jeva Lange

3:17 p.m. ET
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A group of Columbia University students draped a Ku Klux Klan hood over a statue of Thomas Jefferson and labeled the Founding Father "the epitome of white supremacy." Protesters from the group Mobilized African Diaspora said the statue of the slave-holding Founding Father "validates rape, sexual violence and racism" and shows Columbia's "hypocrisy" in recruiting black students as "mere tokens of the university." The Week Staff

3:12 p.m. ET
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Former President Barack Obama pointed out that the Affordable Care Act is "more popular than the current president" during a private, off-the-record event Thursday in New York City, a person in attendance told CNN.

In a recent poll, CNN/ORC found Trump has an approval rating of 44 percent, while 47 percent of voters favor ObamaCare. Only 36 percent of people said they approve of how Trump is approaching health care. Obama added that he believes Trump and the Republicans face an uphill battle changing his law, which currently provides health care to millions.

A new version of the GOP's replacement bill is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks. Jeva Lange

2:54 p.m. ET

President Trump was already talking about the 2020 presidential election in his speech Friday at the National Rifle Association's annual meeting. Trump, who on Friday became the first sitting president since the 1980s to address the NRA, fired off an early warning that his potential competitors in 2020 — namely, possible Democratic contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) — will be nowhere near as sympathetic as he is to gun owners' Second Amendment rights. "It may be Pocahontas, remember that," Trump said, using the nickname he came up with for Warren because of her previous claims that she's part Native American. "And she is not big for the NRA, that I can tell you."

Though Trump is starting to look ahead, he certainly hasn't forgotten about that big night months ago when he won the presidency. "Sports fans said that was the single most exciting even they've ever seen," Trump said, referring to his election night upset. "That includes Super Bowls, and World Series, and boxing matches. That was an exciting evening for all of us."

Trump promised the NRA that because it "came through" for him in the election, he is "going to come through" for it. "The eight-year assault on your Second Amendment freedoms has come to a crashing end," Trump said. Becca Stanek

2:20 p.m. ET
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White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer raised some eyebrows this week when he blamed the Trump administration's decision to hire Michael Flynn as national security adviser on former President Barack Obama — but now President Trump is passing blame off on the previous administration, too.

On Friday, Trump told Fox News' Martha MacCallum: "Just remember, [Flynn] was approved by the Obama administration at the highest level." While Trump is technically correct that Flynn served under President Obama, Obama also fired Flynn in 2014 during Defense Intelligence Agency shakeups.

In February, Flynn resigned from the Trump administration after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador prior to being sworn in as national security adviser. Additionally, Flynn was directly told in 2014 not to take money from foreign governments without explicit permission, but he took $34,000 in December 2015 for a speaking gala concerning Russian TV and more than $500,000 for lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests ahead of the November election.

"When they say we didn't vet, well Obama I guess didn't vet, because [Flynn] was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama administration," Trump said. "So when [Flynn] came into our administration, for a short period of time, he came in, he was already approved of by the Obama administration and he had years left on that approval." In fact, Flynn's clearance was revoked when he was fired by Obama in 2014.

Retired Adm. John Kirby expressed disbelief at the Trump administration's spin of the situation: "It’s absolutely just ridiculous to me to pitch it away on the Obama administration," Kirby told CNN's Jake Tapper. "Yes, he got his clearance while President Obama was still in office, but that's one piece of a much larger process.” Jeva Lange

1:59 p.m. ET
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It is not such an exaggeration to call the tension between the Trump administration and the press tasked to hold them accountable an all-out war. President Trump has a light trigger finger when it comes to blasting off tweets disparaging the media, and his staffers reportedly have made a game of intentionally feeding misinformation to reporters.

Never before, then, has there been such a strange and curious time for Politico to run its annual survey of the White House Press Corps. With responses from more than 60 journalists, Politico found that 68 percent believe Trump is "the most openly anti-press president in U.S. history," while 25 percent "occasionally" and 7 percent "often" heard complaints about their stories from the White House.

Perhaps most startling of all, over half of journalists covering the White House say they have been lied to by members of the administration. Seventeen percent said the lies were constant, while 46 percent said they were merely occasional. Just 12 percent said they had never been lied to. The least helpful aide for the press was counselor Kellyanne Conway, followed by chief strategist Stephen Bannon; the most helpful aides were Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, followed by Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

But with all the talk of the media being the "enemy of the American people" coming from the White House, reporters remain relatively unfazed. Seventy-five percent called the accusations a distraction, while only 25 percent said they were a real threat.

See the full responses at Politico, and read The Week's editor William Falk on what it has been like covering the Trump presidency in his editor's letter here. Jeva Lange

1:19 p.m. ET
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Heritage Foundation president Jim DeMint is set to be ousted by board members who believe the think tank has become "too bombastic and political" during his tenure, Politico writes.

DeMint served as a South Carolina senator between 2005 and 2013, where he was a prominent Tea Party leader. He quit office to join the Heritage Foundation in 2013. "He has been a congressman and senator," one board member anonymously told Politico. "They are solo performers. When you are in the Senate, life is all about the senators. CEO skills are different than senator skills. I think it boils down to attributes. I don't think it is particularly personal."

Tensions reportedly arose during DeMint's contract negotiations, "which are expected to be cut short," Politico writes. Former Heritage President Ed Feulner is expected to serve as interim president following DeMint's ousting, which could come as soon as Friday.

Over the past year, DeMint moved the organization closer to President Trump, including a promise made last July that Heritage's policy experts would be at the disposal of Trump's transition team if he won. Heritage has continued to express its opinions to the Trump administration, including public opposition to the proposed Republican health-care bill. "Jim brought everyone in from the Senate to Heritage and made it hyper-political," complained one board member. "Heritage is also about civil society and culture. He's taken that off of the table."

Another operative said: "If Heritage pushes Jim DeMint out it was because a few board members, who are close to the Republican establishment, never wanted him to be president and have been working to push him out ever since. DeMint is one of the most respected and selfless conservative leaders in the country and pushing him out would be a big mistake." Read the full scoop at Politico. Jeva Lange

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