With one simple contraction—“wouldn’t”—President Donald Trump got Fox News back on his side. And then hours later, with the word “no,” he seems to have lost them all over again.
Asked by a reporter, during a Wednesday afternoon cabinet meeting, if Russia is “still targeting the U.S.,” Trump replied: “Thank you very much, no.”
From there, with his arms folded defiantly, he declared, “There's been no president ever as tough as I have been on Russia.”
After playing that clip on Fox News’ Outnumbered, co-host Melissa Francis seemed utterly baffled as she said that when the question was asked of Trump, “All he said was ‘no,’ which sounds insane.”
“It does sound insane,” agreed the panel show’s lone Democrat for the day, Jake Maccoby, a former speechwriter for Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch.
“It could be that he believes we’re stopping the meddling at this point,” Francis speculated, attempting to inject some hope into the confusion.
When Maccoby suggested she was “working hard to make it sound reasonable,” Francis pushed back: “It doesn’t sound remotely reasonable and I’m not trying to say it sounds reasonable.”
“It sounds insane,” she reiterated. “To deny that Russia is trying to meddle, and has been forever, would be totally insane,” she repeated.
Meanwhile, moderator Harris Faulkner tried to downplay the whole incident, saying, “I don’t know that we caught in totality what the question was, but it did sound like the question was ‘Do you believe Russia?’ or ‘Is Russia still meddling?’”
The question, which can be heard clearly in the video was, verbatim: “Is Russia still targeting the U.S., Mr. President?”
But Faulkner’s attempt was nothing compared to the take co-host Jillian Mele “spitballed” in the moment.
“You know how many times over the course of the last year and a half we’ve heard the president say, ‘I’m going to let other countries know what I’m doing, I’m not going to tell you my plan,’” she remarked. “Do you think, and again, just spitballing here, do you think that perhaps this could be part of his plan?”
Either that or he’s “totally insane.”