President Donald Trump received a lot of flak from both sides of the aisle after he appeared to be siding with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence agencies during the disastrous summit in Helsinki, Finland.
While both Republican and Democratic politicians called out the commander-in-chief for refusing to hold his Russian counterpart accountable for his country’s possible interference in the 2016 presidential election, there was at least one GOP official who tried his level best to defend Trump and his apparent fondness for the foreign despot.
South Dakota Sen. Mike Rounds (R) offered a detailed explanation about what he thought might have happened during the summit. Unfortunately for him, it was possibly the weirdest theory to have come out of the Trump camp – including the president’s own claim about mixing up the words “would” and “wouldn’t.”
“The president just looked right back at [Putin] and with the same straight face... basically sent a message: ’If you can sit here and tell me that with a straight face and that’s what it takes it to move forward in other negotiations, I most certainly can match you on this, and in fact I can stand here and say, ‘Of course you didn’t do it,’ even though we all know that [you did],’” Rounds told reporters at the Capitol, according to Huff Post.
The former South Dakota governor is of the opinion Trump was playing mind games with Putin during the joint press conference and, in fact, did not mean what he actually said.
“The reality is, ‘I know you did it, you know you did it, and you know that I know that you did it,’” Rounds continued. “So to me, Mr. Putin tried to tell the whopper with a straight face and President Trump basically laid out, ‘You wanna play that game? Fine. I can do the same thing because we all know you did.’”
As far as defending Trump goes, this is pretty wild.
“He never said he believed Mr. Putin, to the best of my knowledge,” Rounds reportedly added. “I think he said Mr. Putin was very strong in his statement. There's a big difference between the two. I think probably he has to delineate that a little bit better and make it clearer.”
However, the Republican senator later admitted he was just trying his best.
“I can’t come up with another -- we’re all trying to find a reason why the president would have done it,” Rounds concluded. “And this is the only logical explanation I can come up with.”
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