When President Trump spoke about Russia in a press conference shortly after taking office, he dismissed the notion that his campaign had ties to the country as fake news, declaring, “I have nothing to do with Russia. To the best of my knowledge, no person that I deal with does.” That was blatantly untrue, I pointed out last week, citing evidence unearthed by Robert Mueller’s FBI investigation as well as Russia ties known to the public even at the time of the briefing.
My article concluded by asking his remaining supporters why they don’t care about the president’s dishonesty on this subject. Today, I’ll engage with some of their answers. Below are emails from four people who were kind enough to correspond, each with a distinct take. All appear to be heavy news consumers, not cloistered partisans in a right-wing echo chamber; at a minimum, they had made it to the end of my article, which set forth what Trump said beside a detailed account of why it wasn’t true. I withheld their last names to protect their privacy, and tried to address each of their arguments after giving them their say.
Here they are in their own words.
What About Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama?
For a reader named Paul, the president’s behavior has been better than that of Democrats:
You base your article on the assumption that the president knew all about his people’s contacts and associations at the time he was running. Isn’t it likely that he didn’t? Who knows everything that everyone around them is or has done? On the the other hand, we now have PROOF that the Clintons stacked the election against Bernie Sanders and the Obama administration knew about Russian interference during their time in office and did nothing! Why don’t you write about that, or are your bosses keeping you muzzled like a good dog??
For the record, I have extraordinary freedom to choose what I write about; relatedly, it is my understanding that good dogs are typically free to go without muzzles.