Twenty-four hours after standing beside Russian President Vladimir V. Putin and saying that he doesn’t see “why [the meddling of the U.S. election] would be” from Russia, President Donald Trump is walking back his earlier statements and acknowledged that Russia meddled with the U.S. Then, in a pattern that’s become rather typical of Trump’s concessions, he appeared to contradict himself in the same breath:
Could be other people also, there’s a lot of people out there.
His excuse for the “I don’t see why it would be” is just as startling. The president now says that he meant to say “I don’t see why it wouldn’t be.” It’s an error that he says “should have been obvious.”
To be clear, Trump still seemed to waffle in his acceptance of U.S. intelligence: "I accept our intelligence community's conclusion that Russia's meddling in the 2016 election took place. Could be other people also. A lot of people out there." (via ABC) pic.twitter.com/Gp4hzEbZBc
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 17, 2018
The president continued:
I have felt very strongly that while Russia’s actions had no impact at all on the outcome of the election, let me be totally clear in saying…that I accept our American intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.
The president did not elaborate on why it took him 24 hours to realize he allegedly misspoke, nor did he mention why he defended his initial words with multiple tweets or an interview with his favorite so-called journalist Fox News’ Sean Hannity.
Americans on social media were too outraged to let him off easy.
President Trump’s attempt to walk back the dangerous, disgraceful & damaging show of his Blame America First policy embarrasses our nation even further. After watching the President cower in front of Putin, the American people now deserve to know what Trump will do now.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) July 17, 2018
I just don’t buy the President’s comments today. If he wanted to take a stand on Russian election interference, he should have had the strength to do it in front of Vladimir Putin.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) July 17, 2018
Trump looks punch drunk today while he walks back his stupid Putin summit. Plus he is still talking like an eighth grader. Trumps insults our allies and kisses Putin's butt. Yet, Trump is still puking "no collusion" at every turn. Oh yea, and it's Obama's fault.
— Sally Mullikin (@SallyAMullikin) July 17, 2018
Even if Trump walks back every single thing he said today, he has proven that when in a room with Vladimir Putin, he is frightened and submissive. Trump lost his credibility today, even as a bully.
— Anonymous White House Official (@littledeekay) July 16, 2018
The arrogance of this man and his handlers.
To think that we will believe this tripe shows no respect for the American people, our allies, and elected officials. It’s transparent, disengenuous and facetious. Deeply cynical.
— Adam Supe (@switchedon323) July 17, 2018
It’s amazing how small & weak this reveals him to actually be. This should have been corrected immediately yesterday & it should have been corrected in front of Putin directly. 24 hours later is too little too late. Congress needs to do something about this now. #TrumpTreason https://t.co/YZUcgRHrfc
— Maggie Hibbs (@maggie_hibbs) July 17, 2018
The president did not explicitly apologize for the uproar that resulted from what he says was a simple case of misspeaking.