Earlier this week, President Donald Trump tried to clarify one of his widely criticized comments in Helsinki. He claimed to have misspoken the other day on his comment about not seeing why Russia would have meddled in the election. According to Trump, he meant to say he didn’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia that interfered.
At the White House, Trump explained he thought he was very clear in his words. But after a close review of the transcript, Trump realized he needed to clarify his words. As it turns out, he claims to have meant the exact opposite of what he had initially said.
The previous day held the conference between the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. On the topic of the foreign country meddling in the 2016 election, Trump said since Putin said Moscow did not interfere with the election, he doesn’t see any reason why they would intervene with the election.
The day of the conference, Trump also declared to have full faith and support for the various American intelligence agencies. He went on to say he supported their conclusion that Russia meddled in the election. Although, he did claim that other forces could also have been at play.
Widespread, bipartisan condemnation fell on the president on Monday for not backing the assessment his intelligence community came to on Moscow’s interference in the election. The Helsinki conference was held days after Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for meddling in the U.S. election. There, Mueller detailed an account of their hacking and other activities in the indictment.
Trump Receives Widespread Backlash on Helsinki Mistake
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer accused Trump of trying to escape from his comments in Helsinki. He criticises him by saying its 24 hours too late to take it back and also in the wrong place.
Some people don’t believe Trump’s attempt to recover his words from the conference. Senator Mark Warner said he doesn’t accept the president’s so-called clarification. Warner said if he wanted to make the comments he did, he should have made them in front of Putin.
He continued saying this has a close resemblance to Trump’s comments after he was offensive after the incidents in Charlottesville in equating neo-Nazis with the protesters. Warner gives the comments about 24 hours before Trump returns to slamming the investigation and sides once more with Putin.
Hohn Brennan, former CIA director, called Trump’s actions in Helsinki nothing short of treasonous. Even former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump confidant, said this was the most severe mistake of Trump’s presidency. He did, however, praise Trump for clarifying his comments.
Despite the backlash from all directions on his Helsinki remarks, Trump believes his meeting with Putin was strong and that there should hopefully be more meetings in the future.