When he appeared to claim that Russia was no longer a threat to US, Donald Trump was actually saying that he would not field the question asked, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders insists.
At the end of a press briefing on Wednesday, Trump was asked “Is Russia still targeting the US?” to which Trump said “Thank you very much, no.” As the press was being shepherded out, he listened in to several more queries, also dismissing them with a curt “Thank you very much everybody.”
You can judge the moment for yourself here:
During her briefing just hours after the incident Sanders strove to clarify the typically confusing sequence.
“He was saying ‘no’ to answering questions,” she explained. “He does believe that they [Russia] would target US elections again. That’s why we are taking steps to ensure this does not happen.”
This is just the second volte face from the White House in the past 48 hours, making Trump’s administration even harder to decipher than it usually is with its mass of imprecise claims, apparent contradictions and forever unfinished sentences.
Earlier on, the US President said he misspoke when he claimed that he “didn’t see any reason why it would be Russia” that interfered in the 2016 US election, a quote he gave while standing next to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. In the new version of the quote Trump intended to say he “didn’t see any reason why it WOULDN’T be Russia.”
Luckily, the effects of these canny public relations efforts are likely to be immaterial as by this point whatever any of the actors say on the matter is unlikely to change a single person’s mind on Trump, Putin, alleged Russian collusion, the contents of Hillary Clinton’s server or the Rigged Witch Hunt.