Donald Trump is having a hard time keeping his story straight.
Which isn’t surprising, because after all, if his mouth is open, he’s lying. Specifically, Trump made at least 3,251 false or misleading claims in the 497 days through May 31. That means Trump is either lying or nearly lying more than six times every, single day.
On top of that, he seems to suffer, at times, from bouts of what certainly looks like dementia. He’s also a septuagenarian.
When you mix all of that up, you’ve got a recipe for confusion and one thing Trump is perpetually “confused” about, is why so many Americans seem to think he conspired with a hostile foreign power to undermine the democratic process. Simply put, there’s a lot of collusion confusion.
The more people that get indicted and, in Paul Manfort’s case, end up in jail, the more implausible the “witch hunt” characterization of the Mueller probe seems. Unless of course you’re a member of the Roseanne base, in which case nothing will be sufficient when it comes to convincing you to at least consider the possibility that Donald Trump the narcissistic billionaire did not in fact become Donald Trump, uber-patriot and champion of the middle class, overnight sometime in 2015.
In the wake of the Helsinki debacle which seemed to confirm, at least in the minds of many (including, by the way, at least one or two Fox News anchors and more than a few Republicans), that in fact there is something extremely strange going on between the President of the United States and the Kremlin, Trump did something he doesn’t normally do: he backtracked.
In remarks to reporters Tuesday at the White House, Trump made a half-hearted attempt to cover his tracks, which included the following “clarification” that found the President explaining that when he said “would” he actually meant “wouldn’t”, a contention that “would” be plausible, were it not for the fact that “wouldn’t” is literally the opposite of “would”:
Here’s the readout on that:
I have to say, I came back, and I said, ’What is going on? What’s the big deal?’ I actually went out and reviewed a clip of an answer that I gave, and I realized that there is a need for some clarification. It should have been obvious, I thought it would be obvious, but I would like to clarify just in case it wasn’t: In a key sentence in my remarks I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t’.
Note that he implicitly blames the rest of us by saying that “it should have been obvious”. But, that couldn’t be further from reality. That is, if there’s anything in the world that is not obvious (and therefore shouldn’t be expected to be seen as such), it’s that Donald Trump trusts the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of who interfered with the 2016 election. The reason why that shouldn’t be obvious, is that Trump has said, on too many occasions to count (literally) that he doubts that assessment, this being the most famous example:
Again, there is no sense in which it “should” have been obvious that Trump meant to say, in front of Vladimir Putin, that he doesn’t “see any reason why it wouldn’t be [Russia].” Trump had every reason to say what he actually said at the press conference with Putin, which is this:
My people came to me and some others, they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.
That is precisely what you would expect someone to say if they were standing at the podium with a man who they both fear and are beholden to.
But even if you can get past that, it is blatantly obvious that Trump’s team parsed the transcript of the press conference in Helsinki in an effort to try and find some way to salvage this situation and what you see in the first clip above is what they came up with – the idea that Trump said “would” when he meant to say “wouldn’t”.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but if you believe that, well then there’s no hope for you. And Trump would go on to try and sow doubt even as he attempted to backtrack, saying this:
I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also.
Like who? The hypothetical guy “sitting in his bed that weighs 400 pounds” again?
Well, Trump didn’t offer much in the way of clarity on who it might be if it wasn’t Russia, but he did note (after reminding you that there was NO COLLUSION) that there “are a lot of people out there”.
There’s really no other way to put this: this was a disaster eclipsed only by the disaster that prompted it in the first place.
And speaking of “eclipses”, the lights when out on him at the end.
Mike Pence would call that a sign from God.