Trump’s U-turns after backing Putin in Helsinki leave critics confused

In Helsinki on Sunday, US President Trump followed his heart when he accepted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s strong denial of election meddling and called the ongoing investigation by Robert Mueller a disaster for the US.

Back in Washington on Monday, Trump, under fire, listened to his mind and reversed the view while talking to media. The president said he misspoke in Helsinki during the joint press conference with Putin.

Trump clarified that what he meant was he saw no reason why it ‘would not be’ — and not ‘would be’ — Russia that interfered in presidential election.

He then took a U-turn again by saying “other people” could have meddled in the election without naming them. In any case, Russia’s actions did not influence the voters, he added.

He assured Americans that his administration would not allow such meddling to happen in November mid-term elections.

He ignored a call to publicly condemn Putin. Instead, he described his meeting with Putin a “tremendous success.” He reaffirmed there was no collusion between his campaign and Russia.

Trump’s clarification seemed like an exercise to silence his critics on the Helsinki event. In the end, it left them more confused.

After Trump’s successful Helsinki summit, US Defence Secretary James Mattis has said he is open to the possibility of the first talks since 2015 with his Russian counterpart, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu, Reuters reported citing its sources.

If Mattis and Shoigu are going to meet, it would prove that Trump generated a great chemistry with Putin.