In an attempt to defend himself over his dangerous decision to give Israel's intelligence to Russia, Donald Trump manages to make it even worse.
In a bizarre moment during a press appearance with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald Trump made his reckless decision to hand over Israel's classified information to top Russian officials infinitely worse.
A reporter asked a question about Trump having shared Israeli intelligence with Russia. Netanyahu covered for Trump, replying, "The intelligence cooperation is terrific!" He then attempted to usher Trump out of the room and away from the media. That is when things got weird.
Trump ignored Netanyahu's cues that it was time to leave and demanded the press be silent so he could speak:
Really confusing moment here where Trump stops the press from being ushered out of his photo spray with PM Netanyahu. Full video—> pic.twitter.com/A7UVcw3Zt2
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) May 22, 2017
TRUMP: Folks, folks folks, folks. Just so you understand, just so you understand, I never mentioned the word or the name Israel. Never mentioned it during that conversation. [Turns to Netanyahu.] They're all saying I did. [Turns back to media.] So you have another story wrong. Never mentioned the word Israel.
First, reporters never claimed Trump used the word "Israel" in his Oval Office meeting with Russian officials. This was a rather typical Trump move, to deny a charge against him that was never actually made.
More importantly, however, and what Trump failed to realize, is that by saying he "never mentioned the word or the name Israel," he essentially confirmed in public that Israel was the source of the intelligence he shared with Russia.
Trump's revelation of this information — which his White House initially denied, only to have him confirm it himself on Twitter the next day — has caused tremendous problems for the administration. It enraged Israeli officials, jeopardized the safety of its spies who are embedded in ISIS, and alarmed other American allies who now worry that Trump cannot be trusted with classified intelligence.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said earlier in the day that Trump would not be apologizing to Israel for handing over its secrets to Russia.
Now, in an effort to defend himself and dismiss his terribly dangerous mistake as "fake news," Trump has instead made it even worse.