Sanders Rips Trump Attempt to Walk Back Helsinki Remarks: "Too Bad Trump Didn't Have the Guts to Say That" With Putin There
After U.S. President Donald Trump insisted in scripted remarks to reporters on Tuesday that he misspoke during the Helsinki summit when he unequivocally accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election meddling, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) mocked Trump for not having the “guts” to publicly challenge Putin’s narrative when he had the chance on Monday.
“I’m glad that Trump has repudiated his absurd statement in Helsinki and now agrees with what our intelligence community has said for over a year,” Sanders wrote on Twitter. “Too bad Trump didn’t have the guts to say that yesterday while with his authoritarian friend, Vladimir Putin.”
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Yet even as Trump on Tuesday used a prepared written statement while attempting to convince the world he didn’t mean what he said in Helsinki, the U.S. president still went out of his way to suggest that perhaps some other nation was behind the efforts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
After insisting that he accepts “our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” Trump added: “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.”
Given the combination of Trump’s hedging and the entirety of his remarks at the Helsinki press conference—during which the U.S. president praised Putin’s denials of election meddling as “powerful”—few accepted the notion that Tuesday’s clean-up job was genuine.