It seemed as though this day would never come, but it has: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said something so remarkably stupid that he actually had to pretend he wasn’t being serious at the time.
The run up to the 2016 presidential election in November will go down as one of the most bizarre and, quite frankly, sad times in the recent history of American politics. No matter who wins come November, we all lose. Of course, there’s losing and then there’s losing. And speaking of losing, an interesting series of events unfolded this week that forced Trump to finally walk back one of his ridiculous comments — something we really never thought we would see.
Trump is unlike any presidential candidate we’ve ever seen for so many reasons. So, so many. The most interesting among them might be the very manner by which he has managed to stir up so much support. In a nutshell, he says whatever he wants whenever he wants, and almost nothing he says it rooted in reality. Seriously. By some counts more than 90% of the things Trump states as fact are either misguided or outright lies. It’s insane.
That’s not the best part, though. The best part is the fact that his massive following doesn’t care. At all. The media — and not just the liberal media, mind you — constantly calls Trump out on his lies and sheer stupidity, but nothing he does or says has any negative impact on sentiment among his supporters. So Trump sticks to his guns and says whatever asinine thing pops into his head.
But this week, it finally happened. Trump said something so stupid that he had to retract it.
Earlier this week, Mr. Trump called on Russian hackers to illegally obtain and leak private emails belonging to democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. That’s right, the republican nominee for president of the United States publicly asked Russian hackers to hack an American citizen and release the private contents of her personal email account.
“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during a press conference on Wednesday. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.” You can’t even make this stuff up.
Trump knows that a lot of what he says is stupid. Much of it is calculated; he is a showman, not a moron. But this time around, he had to swallow his pride and retract his statement — likely because his public request for Russian hackers to commit a felony is itself probably a felony.
Of course, this is Trump we’re talking about here, so he didn’t apologize. Instead, he pretended he was joking the whole time.
“Of course I’m being sarcastic,” Trump said in a TV interview on Fox. “But you have 33,000 emails deleted, and the real problem is what was said on those emails from the Democratic National Committee. You take a look at what was said on those emails, it’s disgraceful.”