For perhaps the first time in his presidency, US President Donald Trump admitted that he made a mistake. It followed the tidal wave of criticism that hit him after his summit at Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where Trump all but absolved Russia of any interference with the 2016 US elections.
Trump had said at a joint press conference, “They [US intelligence] said they think it’s Russia; I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be. I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”
Trump’s comments saw a major backlash, even inviting criticism from his fellow Republicans and supporters. “Welcome to 2018, where Donald Trump is so bad at being president, he made the terminator sigh,” joked Trevor Noah, in a segment of The Daily Show, referring to a video put out by Arnold Schwarzenegger, in which the former Republic California governor called Trump “a wet noodle”.
To rectify the situation, Trump held a news conference the very next day where he said he simply misspoke. He said: “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’.” He added that it was “sort of a double negative”.
“You know what? That makes sense. I actually believe Trump on this,” said Noah (video above). “And I – hold on, sorry, just let me check my notes. Oh, sorry. What I meant to say was ‘Get the f**k out of here, man’. I hope that clarifies things. That’s what I meant to say.”
“Are you serious?” exclaimed Noah, continuing his tirade. “The president and his team has 24 hours – 24 hours – to come up with a reason why Trump took Russia’s side against America, and the best they could come up with is ‘nuh-uh’... Yes, Mr President, that was a double negative. You f***ed up yesterday and now you f***ed up today.”
Noah wasn’t the only talk show host with a very strong opinion on Trump’s absurd clarification press conference. Stephen Colbert (video below), said, “So this afternoon Trump went into emergency spin mode and summoned Republican leaders to the White House to watch his induction into the lying hall of fame.”
For Colbert, however, the double negative was “Donald” and “Trump”.
But the news was most succinctly summed up by Jimmy Kimmel, who said: “The news today is that our president is a liar, and not even a good one.” Kimmel also took the opportunity to school Trump on the difference between “would” and “wouldn’t”.
Here’s Trump’s statement: