Trump's summit with Vladimir Putin has turned into a never-ending fiasco for the White House.
Another day, another cleanup.
Over the course of just three days, the Trump administration has had to mount three different efforts to try to stem global outrage over Trump's dangerous public statements about Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and U.S. election interference.
All of these cleanup efforts have been embarrassingly bad — and none of them are likely to reassure Americans that Trump puts U.S. interests before Putin's.
The first humiliating cleanup attempt came from Trump himself.
On Monday, Trump had stood next to Putin on live TV and sided with the authoritarian Russian leader instead of American intelligence agencies. By Tuesday — after almost 24 hours of outrage and disbelief in the media — Trump finally realized he had an international mess on his hands.
So Trump read from a script and made the ludicrous claim that he had said "would" when he meant to say "wouldn't" in one key line.
The argument was ridiculous. That was just one line out of many moments that made Trump's support for Putin very clear.
And despite his later claims that he was very interested in correcting the record, Trump didn't bother to mention his "mistake" during an interview with Fox News on Monday evening, many hours after his debacle with Putin.
Cue cleanup number two.
During a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a reporter asked Trump if Russia is still working to attack the United States. He said "no." But according to U.S. intelligence, Russia is doing just that.
Three hours later, Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to clean up that mess during the White House press briefing. She claimed that Trump was not actually responding to the reporter's question, but was instead telling reporters he would not answer any more questions at all.
Both video and transcript show that Sanders was lying, however. Trump directly answered the question about Putin, and even elaborated on his response.
What's more, that same press briefing led us to cleanup number 3.
Sanders sent diplomats into a full-blown panic on Wednesday when she confirmed that Trump wasn't ruling out Putin's request to turn over a former U.S. ambassador and others to let Putin interrogate and charge them for made-up "crimes."
Trump initially described this terrifying request as an "incredible offer" during the Helsinki press conference with Putin.
Trump was widely slammed for even considering this — especially given the string of deaths and poisonings around the world of figures Putin has singled out.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a weak statement only a day later, claiming that Trump "disagrees with" the idea — but also praising the "sincerity" of Putin's chilling offer.
Trump self-identifies as a "very stable genius" — yet his own team constantly finds itself needing to generate hurried excuses for his bizarre behavior.
It's even clearer now than ever before that he will continue to create havoc every time he opens his mouth.
This is who he is at his core, and he will never get better.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.