In a piece for The Atlantic last fall, Salena Zito wrote that the press tended to take Donald Trump literally, but not seriously, while his supporters took him seriously, but not literally.

Reporters have argued that point back and forth ever since, suggesting that there has to be some truth to it. What’s strange, though, is when the same sort of standard is applied to Mike Pence. It’s not meant as an insult to say he was a somewhat bland but solid pick for vice president; he’d be the steady object keeping things balanced when Trump got a little too close to the edge.

Today, Vice President Pence spoke at the Republican National Convention’s summer retreat in Chicago, and the backdrop of the Four Seasons Hotel coupled with Pence’s thoughts about the governing philosophy of the GOP turned out to be triggering for those who couldn’t help but take each word literally.

That sounds pretty tame to us. What was Obamacare if not an admission that the purchase of health insurance was a responsibility better taken out of the hands of the people and made into a mandate enforced by fines? The deal was that the American people, in surrendering that freedom to the government, would get to keep their plans, their doctors, and save thousands on premiums.

Actually, forget all that. Health care is a right, and “personal responsibility” is just the rich, old, white male way of saying, “every man for himself.”

Especially sick kids and/or children. This is what journalists are paid for — that sixth sense that lets them hear those unspoken words.

While making it clear that he’s a hypocrite who hates sick children, Pence also took aim at veterans, catching the attention of comedian and health insurance wonk Sarah Silverman, who’s read the GOP plan and run the numbers.

In case you missed it: “A new report by the VA inspector general shows 43 percent of the 225 patients who died between October 2014 and August 2015 at the Los Angeles VA were waiting for appointments or needed tests they never got.” Hmm … who was running things in 2014-15?

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Exit question:

Because it was an RNC luncheon, and all Republicans are rich?

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