The astonishing thing about Donald Trump’s response to Robert Mueller’s recent indictments is his inability to recognize that Russia’s interference in the 2016 election is about something bigger than him. Look closely at Trump’s tweets.
February 16: “Russia started their anti-US campaign in 2014, long before I announced that I would run for President. The results of the election were not impacted. The Trump campaign did nothing wrong - no collusion!”
February 17: “General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!”
February 18: “I never said Russia did not meddle in the election, I said “it may be Russia, or China or another country or group, or it may be a 400 pound genius sitting in bed and playing with his computer.” The Russian “hoax” was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!”
Each tweet makes basically the same point: “Sure, Russia may have tried to undermine American democracy. But what really matters is that I never colluded with Putin and won the presidency fair and square.” Even if you believe that Trump is right—that his campaign never assisted Russia’s efforts to swing the election in his favor and that Russia’s efforts had no material effect on its outcome—the narcissism is breathtaking. It’s like Franklin Roosevelt going before a Joint Session of Congress on December 8, 1941, and declaring: “Sure, Japan bombed Hawaii. But there’s no evidence I knew the attack was coming or that my decision to impose oil sanctions on Tokyo contributed in any way.” Or George W. Bush declaring the day after September 11: “Sure, Al Qaeda just took down the Twin Towers. But there’s nothing my administration could have done to stop it. If anyone deserves blame, it’s my sleazy predecessor, Bill.”