It has been Trump’s almost apology tour.
“Because when I saw her this morning I said, ‘I want to apologize, I want to apologize,’ because I said such good things about you. She said: ‘Don’t worry, it was only the press.’ I thought that was very professional,” Trump told reporters.
A few other examples:
- In his Helsinki presser with Putin, Trump said “would.” But later, in an “oops, my bad” admission, Trump said he really meant to say “wouldn’t.” As in, why wouldn’t it be Russia that interfered in the 2016 election?
- The President woke up Wednesday declaring how awesome tariffs are and went to bed Wednesday night having announced no additional tariffs on EU goods — and that the current tariff fight was headed toward resolution. (This came a day after Trump told an audience that the trade fight would be long … after he previously said it would be easy.)
- And what about the Putin-Trump sequel, set for this fall at the White House? Not happening now. The White House announced Wednesday that it will now happen “after the first of the year” once the “Russia witch hunt is over,” according to a statement issued by Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton.
Trump’s reversals come at one of the most active period in his tenure so far, with high-stakes plays on the global stage, and on domestic issues, such as immigration and the economy. His all-in strategy — and his walk backs — come as his party faces stiff headwinds this November.
But it turns out, Trump can exercise the political skill of contrition.
“I may be wrong. I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong,’ ” he said in June, about having faith in Kim Jung Un’s commitment to denuclearization. “I don’t know I’ll ever admit that. I’ll find some excuse.”
These last weeks, Trump has essentially admitted he was wrong, on issue after issue, and going forward, it will be hard to find believable excuses. Though in classic Trump style, he already seems to have one ready for the midterms. If Democrats win, it’s the Russians.