President Donald Trump said he should have said “wouldn’t” instead of “would” to clarify remarks made in Helsinki as he stood with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The clarification came after 24 hours of intense criticism, including that from members of his own party.
On Monday, President Trump was asked about Russian interference in the 2016 election. He said, “I have President Putin, he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this, I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
At the White House on Tuesday, the president read from a prepared statement: “In a key sentence in my remarks I said would instead of wouldn’t. So I thought it would be unclear in the transcript or maybe on the video. It should have been I don’t know why it wouldn’t be Russia.”
Senator Johnny Isakson issued a statement Monday saying every intelligence reports points to Russian interference.
“Russia has done nothing to deserve our trust and they should receive no special treatment,” said Isakson.
Senator David Perdue told a reporter on Capitol Hill Tuesday afternoon that “we (the U.S.) know what the Russians have done in Eastern Europe so we have to take a tough stance with Russia. President Trump has always said that in private.”
Perdue went on to say that 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal is controlled by the U.S. and Russia so “we need to be talking to each other.”
Tuesday, President Trump didn’t say if the intense criticism had motivated his new statement.
1st District Congressman Buddy Carter’s office sent these comments:
“I applaud President Trump for speaking with President Putin directly on critical matters. As the president said himself, it would be much easier to refuse to meet with Putin. Instead, President Trump is engaging with other countries on difficult issues.
However, I have said many times that Russia is not our friend or ally. It has been a fact for years that Russia, and before it the Soviet Union, has tried to undermine the United States in various ways. Multiple intelligence assessments, including those from the Congressional intelligence committees, have all led to the fact that Russia took action to meddle in our elections. When dealing with Russia I believe we must stand firm, hold them accountable, and implement sanctions accordingly.
In addition, with the exception of a few bad actors, I know our intelligence community does a tremendous job every day to keep our country safe and it must be recognized that they are firmly committed to our country’s well-being.”