White House press secretary is now defending Trump by insisting that Trump doesn't mean what he says, and she has to interpret his words for him.
Trump's press secretary Sarah Sanders took charge in the administration's attempt to mislead the world. During Wednesday's White House press briefing, Sanders argued that when Trump said "no" to the notion that Russia is working to attack the United States, he did not say "no."
Earlier in the day, ABC News reporter Cecilia Vega asked Trump if "Russia is still targeting the U.S."
Trump answered, "No."
But according to Sanders, "no" did not mean "no."
Sanders claimed that Trump was instead saying "no" to more questions, and not in response to the question about Russia. This is false.
Later in the briefing, Sanders was challenged over her attempt to clean up — again — another instance of Trump causing a national embarrassment and international incident.
NBC's Hallie Jackson referred to Trump saying "no" and indicated that other reporters in the room clearly understood it was in response to the Russia question.
JACKSON: Despite the video that shows the president looking at Cecilia [Vega] and answering "no" to this question about whether Russia is targeting the U.S., and despite multiple people in the room understanding that the president was responding to that question, and despite the president having never before said "no, no" repeatedly to usher reporters out of the room, you're saying it's a reverse. You're saying the president didn't.
SANDERS: The first thing the president said after the question was asked was "thank you very much," and then he said "no, I'm not answering any more questions."
That's not how Vega understood it, as she made clear after the briefing.
Getting a lot of questions about my exchange with @realDonaldTrump today.
Yes, he was looking directly at me when he spoke.
Yes, I believe he heard me clearly. He answered two of my questions.
Here’s the full exchange: pic.twitter.com/F3QmDSFzpT
— Cecilia Vega (@CeciliaVega) July 18, 2018
Sanders persisted in promoting her made-up narrative of how events occurred and argued that the White House wasn't reversing Trump's public statements. (It is.)
SANDERS: I talked to the president. He wasn't answering that question. He was saying no, he's not taking questions. And I've stated what our position is.
JACKSON: This is the second time in three days that the president or the White House has come out and reversed what the president has said, did the opposite of what it was perceived.
SANDERS: I'm interpreting what the president said, I'm not reversing it. I was in the room as well, and I didn't take it the way you did.
Jackson tried to get an explanation of why Americans should take Trump seriously if he cannot communicate in a basic fashion to a simple question. Sanders instead repeated her false version of events.
JACKSON: But why should this president have any credibility, to Americans, in what he says if in fact 24 hours later — or in this case, 3 hours later — the White House comes out and says "just kidding"?
SANDERS: First of all, that's not what I said. I was interpreting what the president's intention was and stating the administration's policy. It's not exactly what you just explained. We never said "just kidding." And I think that you can take the fact that the president has credibility because he saw that he had misspoken, and he wanted to clarify that yesterday, which he did. So when he sees that he's misspoken, he comes out and he says that.
Sanders' claim that Trump cleared up his initial support of Russia because he was concerned about his word choice doesn't pass the smell test either.
A Vanity Fair report citing White House sources said that Trump "decided to backtrack" because chief of staff John Kelly was angry about Trump's disgraceful performance in the joint press conference with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Trump saw that he had "only Rand Paul, Sean Hannity, and Tucker Carlson in his corner" making apologies for his deference to Russia and chose to clean up the comments.
The White House is in a crisis of its own making, thanks to Trump, who cannot stop confessing to the world that he is sympathetic to the Russian regime, despite its attacks on America.
For Sanders to clean up Trump's messes, she's claiming that what millions saw and heard simply did not happen.
The practice is "gaslighting," an abusive technique used to manipulate people into questioning their own sanity, by insisting that what they witnessed with their own two eyes didn't happen.
But Sanders cannot succeed. The entire world saw Trump give in to Putin, and it happened again as he vouched for Putin from the White House.
No matter how many lies and fairy tales Sanders concocts, she cannot hide the truth.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.