On Wednesday, President Trump gave his opinion of Russia as a continuing threat to the U.S.
According to The Donald, Russia is no longer a thang.
This, of course, was in stark contrast to the opinion of his national intelligence director.
In a press conference hours later, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained the misunderstanding: earlier, Trump had said “no” to a reporter asking if the potential of Russian meddling threatened future domestic affairs; Trump’s “no” had actually meant he wasn’t answering any more questions. Sarah laid it out, flatly:
“We believe that the threat still exists.”
During a later interview with CBS News, DT explained that he holds Putin responsible for Russian electoral interference “because he’s in charge of the country.”
“I let him know we can’t have this, we’re not going to have it, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”
Thus continues the slopfest of statements, inferences, takeaways, takebacks, and claimed accidents coming from Trump and his office over Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any similar threat going forward (see a bit of history here).
Why does this have to be so confusing??
On Monday, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats made clear that Russia’s threat to the U.S. is very much alive and well:
“We have been clear in our assessment of Russian meddling in our 2016 elections and their ongoing, pervasive efforts to undermine our democracy.”
This was in stark contrast to Trump’s Helsinki question of why Russia would have been the guilty party in election meddling, which he later corrected by saying he’d used the word “would” when he meant “wouldn’t” (covered here).
At the “no” news briefing, just before he further confused everyone, he trumpeted his anti-Russia stance:
“There has never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been. … I think President Putin knows that better than anybody, certainly a lot better than the media. … He understands it, and he’s not happy about it.”
I don’t understand Donald Trump, and I’m not happy about it.
From the very beginning, simple, sustained words would have been much better.
Please, President Trump: make one singular, clear statement, and then just zip it.
Find all my RedState work here.