Trump's Putin Reversal Not Enough For Dems, Some GOP

President Trump’s attempt to walk back his expressed support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials of election interference drew mixed reviews as the White House tried to move past the explosive joint appearance of Trump and Putin in Helsinki this week.

Trump’s explanation that he misspoke was welcomed by some GOP lawmakers eager to move the party past one of the most controversial events of Trump’s presidency. But others, questioning Trump’s sincerity, were not quelled.

Experts said Trump would not have been able to put the episode behind him without fully endorsing intelligence officials’ assessment that Russia engaged in an election interference campaign, and proving that he can be tough on Putin.

“People wanted to hear him say he backed the conclusion of the nation’s intelligence community and that he thinks the Russians meddled in the 2016 election,” said Republican strategist Ford O’Connell.

For some Republican lawmakers, Trump’s pivot yesterday was welcome.

“I’m just glad he clarified it,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I can’t read his intentions or what he meant to say at the time. Suffice it to say that for me as a policymaker, what really matters is what we do moving forward.”

But for Democrats and some Republicans, the change in tone was not only insufficient, but predictable.

Democrats accused Trump of political gaslighting.

Read more from Kimberly Atkins at the Boston Herald

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Analysis & Political Strategy