ThinkProgress–you knew this would happen eventually:
During a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) was asked to respond to controversial comments President Trump made earlier in the day about his upcoming meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Gardner responded by flatly denying Trump actually meant what he said.
Just before boarding Air Force One, Trump, who repeatedly attacked the NATO alliance on Twitter on Tuesday, told reporters that his meeting with Putin “may be the easiest” he has during his trip to Europe.
“So I have NATO; I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil; and I have Putin,” Trump said, referring to meetings he has during his trip to Europe. “Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think? Who would think?” [Pols emphasis]
President Donald Trump’s repeated statements that he prefers to meet with adversaries as opposed to allies of the United States helps feed the perception that his foreign policy is entirely capricious and personality-driven, with no respect for the long-term relationships with close Western allies that have given American power the consensus needed for global leadership. Obviously, when the President is doing better cultivating relationships with with the nation’s enemies than our allies, something is amiss.
Also, the Russians helped him become President. So this is all, fair to say, very troubling.
Into this latest morass steps Sen. Cory Gardner, Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee–with the unenviable task of making Trump’s brashness comport with the grownup world:
After being played a video clip of Trump’s remarks and being asked whether what he said is “true,” Gardner uttered an uncomfortable chuckle and said, “No. I think the president knows that’s not true as well.” [Pols emphasis]
“I think he’s simply trying to say to our great NATO allies and friends, ‘let’s make sure that we’re all rowing in the same direction, so to speak. Let’s make sure that we’re living up to our expectations and obligations,’” Gardner said. “I think the president knows the challenges he has with Vladimir Putin, we all know that, and I hope that when he meets with our NATO allies he will talk about the violations of international law that Russia has created, and indeed, it sounds like he may have an opportunity at some point to even address that very same concern with Vladimir Putin himself.”
So we are now at the point of hearing the verbatim words of the President of the United States, and Cory Gardner is reduced to simply denying the President meant what he plainly said. Gardner has sometimes been able to redirect the President’s outlandish pronouncements back into a coherent framework that doesn’t do huge damage to the nation’s stated policy objectives, but there’s just nothing to work with here.
Even Con Man Cory can’t spin it anymore. It’s as bad as it looks.