Since Trump’s disastrous news conference with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki yesterday, a lot of Republicans have stepped forward to say things ranging from disappointment in the president to outright condemnation of his remarks (the latter came primarily from those who won’t have to face voters in an election). But the president can still count on some loyal enablers. Given that defending Trump after his performance yesterday seems unthinkable to most sentient beings, these folks deserve some recognition of their efforts.
Top prize for the most creative defense of Trump goes to Tucker Carlson.
Tucker Carlson says that Mexico has been more successful at interfering in US elections and does it more routinely than Russia by "packing our electorate" pic.twitter.com/vYk0jyVFUZ
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) July 16, 2018
Who knew that you could incorporate a white supremacist lie into a defense of this president’s capitulation to Russia? I’m not sure anyone but Carlson could accomplish that feat.
Jeanine Pirro gets the award for covering all the bases.
Jeanine Pirro on Fox & Friends: "What was he supposed to do, take a gun out and shoot Putin?" pic.twitter.com/0839HfMRI2
— John Whitehouse (@existentialfish) July 17, 2018
In that short one minute and forty-five seconds, Pirro includes seven excuses for Trump:
- He’s just trying to keep us safe
- His only options were to say what he did or take out a gun and shoot Putin
- The same intelligence community that says Russia interfered in the election said that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction
- He conceded that there was meddling (no mention of who did it)
- He got defensive because there is a conspiracy to take away his presidency
- When it comes to meddling in elections, everybody does it
- Russia’s efforts didn’t change one vote
Never mind that some of those contradict others, it’s your smorgasbord of excuses—just pick whatever one(s) you like.
The best concern-trolling award goes to Byron York, who wants us to feel Trump’s pain in having to admit that Russia interfered on his behalf.
So why did he do what he did? The answer has to do with the peculiar nature of the Russia investigation, and the peculiar nature of Donald Trump.
There have always been two parts to the Trump-Russia probe: the what-Russia-did part, which is the investigation into Russia’s actions during the campaign, and the get-Trump part, which is the effort to use the investigation to remove him from office.
Trump’s problem is that he has always refused, or been unable, to separate the two. One is about national security and international relations, while the other is about Donald Trump.
The president clearly believes if he gives an inch on the what-Russia-did part — if he concedes that Russia made an effort to disrupt the election — his adversaries, who want to discredit his election, undermine him, and force him from office, will take a mile on the get-Trump part. That’s consistent with how Trump approaches other problems; he doesn’t admit anything, because he knows his adversaries will never be satisfied and just demand more.
In order to buy that one, you have to believe that Robert Mueller isn’t investigating whether or not the Trump campaign conspired with the Russians to influence the election. Instead he is heading up an effort to remove Trump from office. The second point doesn’t speak very well for the president. York is suggesting that Trump can’t separate his own defense from national security concerns. That is precisely why so many of us believe that he is unfit for office.
Finally the White House gets a participation trophy for giving it their best shot. They issued talking points to their surrogates and friends in congress that basically said, “don’t believe what the president said yesterday, he’s admitted Russian interference on a couple of occasions in the past.” Bless their hearts, what they can’t say is that he’s never been able to do so in the presence of his puppet-master, Vladimir Putin.