After letting outrage bubble for a couple of days, President Trump went into his safe cocoon on Fox News to try to tamp down on the blowback to his remarks that he would listen to opposition research from foreign governments, which wouldn’t be interference but would only be “information.”

Yet his walk-back was so incoherent and lacking in self-awareness as to be laughable, if it were not all so terribly frightful. Despite the fact that Russians repeatedly offered his campaign “dirt” on Hillary Clinton (and that Trump defended his son’s meeting in Trump Tower under the impression that he would be receiving such dirt), the president insisted, “I don’t think anybody would present me with anything because they know how much I love the country.”

Please. He loves America so much that he’d lie about doing a real estate deal during the campaign. He loves it so much that he encouraged Russia to release Clinton emails and proclaimed his love for the Russian cutout WikiLeaks. He loves it so much that he wouldn’t dissolve his businesses or stop taking foreign monies. He loves it so much that he never expressed outrage that former members of his campaign committed felonies.

Trump continued in his mangled syntax: “Nobody’s gonna present me with anything bad, and No. 2, if I was — and of course, you have to look at it, because if you don’t look at it, you won’t know it’s bad, but, of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to attorney general or somebody like that.” He added: “But of course you do that — you couldn’t have that happen with our country, and everybody understands that and I thought it was made clear.”

No, it wasn’t “made clear.”

Trump must have realized, or someone close to him must have finally convinced him, that his stated intention to break the law and renunciation of his oath to defend the Constitution would be a problem. He therefore spewed gobbledygook in an effort to wipe away the memory of his appalling comments.

Let’s keep in mind a few things. First, legions of Trump loyalists were willing to defend his original statements, statements so awful that even Trump now has walked them back. These hapless lackeys reveal daily how little moral or intellectual integrity they possess.

Second, you can see why Trump would never testify under oath to special counsel Robert Mueller. Trump doesn’t know what is incriminating and what is not, who lies to cover up his own egregious remarks and who, in any case, is practically indecipherable.

Finally, despite daily evidence of his abject unfitness, no elected Republican — save perhaps Rep. Justin Amash, of Michigan — would dream of denying him the nomination for another four years of his constitutional rampage. As is often the case, Trump’s defenders wind up getting their legs cut out from under them when Trump finally does an about-face. They, like Trump, are without shame. The only way to protect our democracy (not to mention our collective sanity) is to vote them all out.

© 2019 WASHINGTON POST NEWS SERVICE

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