President Trump admitted for the first time Thursday that Russia played a role in “helping me to get elected.” Twenty minutes later, he denied Russia’s role in helping him get elected.
The admission came as an aside in a tweet bashing Democrats for accusing him of obstructing justice during the special counsel’s investigation.
By finally acknowledging the role of Russia in his election, Trump was catching up to just about everyone else in Washington, including America’s intelligence agencies and Robert Mueller himself. But despite the widely accepted fact that Russia helped Trump, he has remained loath to credit anyone but himself for winning in 2016.
Shortly after Trump’s tweet, it became clear that he never meant to acknowledge the obvious. In a gaggle on the White House lawn, Trump responded to a reporter who asked about the tweet by saying, “No. Russia didn’t help me get elected. You know who get me elected? I got me elected. Russia didn’t help me at all. Russia, if anything, I think, helped the other side.”
For 20 minutes, Trump seemed to move into the real world. And then, while yelling and pointing at a group of reporters in the early morning sun, he returned to the fantasy world he calls home.