A Trump Victory Is a Scary Thought. A Disputed Loss Might Be Scarier.
Donald Trump says many controversial things. And as the political world reacts accordingly, his defense of those comments is often liable to change.
And like clockwork, such is the case with his comments calling on Russia to find Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails. A day after making the comments and defending them, Trump has a novel explanation for all of it: I was joking!
Here’s his exchange with “Fox and Friends” from Thursday morning:
BRIAN KILMEADE: Clinton campaign says this is a national security issue. Now, the idea that you’d have any American calling for a foreign power to commit espionage in the U.S. for the purpose of somehow changing an election, I think that we’re now in a national security space. Your reaction?
TRUMP: You have to be kidding. His client, his person, deleted 33,000 emails illegally. You look at that. And when I’m being sarcastic with something —
KILMEADE: Were you being sarcastic?
TRUMP: Of course, I’m being sarcastic. But you have 33,000 e-mails deleted, and the real problem is what was said in those emails from the Democratic National Committee. You take a look at what was said in those emails — it’s disgraceful. It’s disgraceful. They talk about religion, they talk about race, they talk about all sorts of things, including women, and what they said in those emails is a disgrace.
Trump backer and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani offered the same explanation later on CNN: “No. He was telling a joke. When he got off the plane, he tweeted out the emails should be sent to the FBI. He was joking around.”
Here’s why this sarcasm explanation doesn’t hold water:
1. Trump campaign officials never said he was joking on Wednesday
They mounted a robust defense, mind you, but they didn’t say it was a joke.
They said he never technically advocated “hacking” into Clinton’s emails. They said he was merely urging Russia or anybody else to turn over the emails to the FBI — not use them for espionage. They accused Democrats of seizing on this to try to change the subject from the leaked DNC emails