Ten days ago, following the ill-fated Helsinki press conference with Vladimir Putin, both political parties condemned President Trump’s remarks as “appalling,” “disgusting” and “treasonous.” (And those were among the nicer ones.) Embarrassingly submissive, Trump acted like Putin’s puppet. That said, I may be all wrong about Trump as I will attempt to explain.
The most alarming Trump comment concerned Russian meddling in the 2016 election. “My people think it’s Russia. President Putin just said it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
“No reason?” A dozen U.S. Intelligence agencies, including the FBI and CIA, have determined Russia interfered in the 2016 election and is almost certainly trying to do so again in the upcoming midterms. (Yikes!) But Trump continued, “President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.” Is that supposed to be convincing? Good grief. I immediately recalled O.J. Simpson’s ludicrous plea to the charge of murder, “100%, absolutely not guilty, your honor.”
On the flight back from Helsinki, Trump was furious he was being unfairly criticized. Poor Donald. So, 28 hours later, he offered a clarification on TV. “In a key sentence in my remarks, I said the word ‘would’ instead of ‘wouldn’t.’ The sentence should have been ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia;’ sort of a double negative.”
However, right after he seemed to be admitting Russia attacked our 2016 election, he immediately added, “It could be other people also; there’s a lot of people out there.” (Reminiscent of Trump’s ridiculous assertion that the hacker could be “A 400-pound guy lying on his bed.”)
That said, it’s possible Trump has “misspoke” many times and, not realizing it, I judged him wrongly. Haven’t you ever said something and meant something totally different? (Though you usually realize the mistake sooner than 28 hours.)
I’m willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt. (Otherwise, let’s face it, I have no column.) For example, what if when Trump said, “Mexico will pay for the wall,” he meant Mexico won’t pay for the wall?” After all, they’re not paying, we are!
It’s also possible Trump “misspoke” when he called Mexicans “criminals and rapists, though some, I assume, are fine people.” Maybe instead of “rapists”, he meant “therapists?” (I’ve had a few therapists who were fine people.)
He might even have misspoken on the Access Hollywood video saying, “When you’re a star, you can even grab ’em by the pu**y.” Trump could have been whining, “When you’re a star, you can’t even grab ’em by the pu**y.” This misspeaking thing could put Trump in a whole new light.
Another “double-negative” example, when Trump said “John McCain’s not a war hero,” maybe he meant, “John McCain’s not not a war hero.” Or when he said, “I alone can fix it,” Given the tariff fiasco, maybe he meant “I alone can F’ it up.” As for “Drain the swamp,” given the many financial scandals in his cabinet, maybe he meant “Overflow the swamp.”
On the 2016 primary campaign trail, Trump infamously complained, “Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald right prior to JFK being shot and nobody even brings it up.” Trump could have meant to say “Ted Cruz’s father wasn’t with Lee Harvey Oswald right prior to JFK being shot.” (Which would explain why nobody brought it up.)
Remember when Trump said to hackers about Hilary, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails.” Since he would have been suborning a serious federal crime he might have meant to say, “Russia, I hope you’re unable to find the 30,000 emails.”
Also during the primaries, Trump disparaged opponent, Carly Fiorina. “Look at that face. Would anybody vote for that?” At the next debate, he sheepishly opined, “She’s beautiful inside and outside.” So maybe he originally meant to say, “Wouldn’t everybody vote for that?”
This misspeaking thing can come in handy. Unthinkable for anyone else, Trump called Pope Francis “disgraceful.” What if he meant Pope Francis is “graceful?” Or what about when Trump said to Jake Tapper on CNN in 2016, “I don’t know anything about David Duke. He might have meant, “I know a lot about David Duke” because, in 2000, Trump called Duke a “racist bigot.”
On Tuesday, on CNN we heard Michael Cohen’s bombshell, secretly recorded audio tape. When Trump non-nonchalantly suggests using “cash” to pay off a Playboy model maybe he meant “check.” In fact, given the endless misspeaking possibilities, it’s conceivable Trump’s not a racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, serial liar but just a habitual “misspeaker.”
As my last example, what if, when Trump described himself as a “stable genius,” he meant “unstable idiot?!” Uh, oh! I can just imagine angry emails filling my inbox. So, in advance, let me clarify my comment… “I misspoke.”
For more Trumpian slips go to http://www.trumpdictionary.com. Jack is at facebook.com/jackneworth, twitter.com/jackneworth and firstname.lastname@example.org