Then Trump's advisers quickly jumped to his defense, dismissing his comments as "ironic" and insisting that the President had been joking. In an interview that aired Monday, given the opportunity to tell himself if he was serious, Trump covered it up, telling CBN News that his comment was "half-mocking."
Then, Tuesday morning, speaking to reporters before boarding Marine One, Trump completely contradicted his advisers and flatly denied that his comments were a joke. "I'm not kidding," Trump said. "By having more tests, we have more cases. We have made 25 million. Therefore, we have more cases."
The incident is a prime example of a phenomenon that has been a hallmark of the Trump presidency: Over and over, he will say something as untrue or outrageous, aides and allies will try to explain it on the grounds that he was joking, only for Trump They undermined his efforts by suggesting that he was serious.
Other times, Trump himself will play the "prank" card after saying something controversial.
Since the start of his presidential campaign, Trump himself has claimed at least 50 times that he has been joking or using sarcasm, according to Factba.se, a website that tracks every word spoken or tweeted by Trump and other politicians.
Sometimes it's obvious when Trump is being sarcastic, like when he tweeted
on Representative Justin Amash considering a presidential bid. But often it is not, and the explanation & # 39; joke & # 39; comes after the fact.
Examples of the president's so-called jokes and sarcasms span the gamut, from suggesting people inject themselves with disinfectant to asking Russia to search for emails from Hilary Clinton. But the starting point is almost always the same: Trump only lets the public tell the joke later, usually after some embarrassing comment has attracted unwanted attention.
I was joking, of course. Wasn't it obvious?
Although tactics and circumstances differ, Trump's use of "prank" and "sarcasm" cards is simply an extension of his habit of making misleading statements, sowing confusion, and making false claims. And it puts the public in a difficult position having to gauge the president's intention behind certain statements.
Here are some recent examples, starting with a closer look at Trump's comments on the evidence.
After the demonstration, an administration official told CNN that the president was "obviously joking" about ordering a slowdown in coronavirus testing. Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany insisted that Trump's comments were "joking."
However, the president not only made similar claims before suggesting that no further evidence is needed, he turned to Twitter after the rally to clarify your belief
it just seems like EE USA It has more cases of coronavirus than other countries because "our coronavirus tests are much larger (25 million tests) and much more advanced."
Two days after the rally, when I ask
To clarify his comments on the tests, the President did not say he had been joking and instead doubled down on the idea that the United States has such a high number of coronavirus cases "because we do more tests than any other country." Arguably in itself given the lack of reliable and available data from other countries.
In an interview, the president admitted that he told his administration that fewer tests for coronaviruses would make the United States look better, undermining McEnany's insistence that his comments were "joking." On Tuesday morning, Trump did it again, tweeting
"Cases are increasing in the US. Because we are testing much more than any other country, and we are expanding every time. With smaller tests we would show fewer cases!" While higher case numbers can sometimes be attributed to better evidence, experts say recent increases are outpacing the increase in evidence.
The president has a tendency to get out of the script, which can sometimes bite him again. That's essentially what happened on April 23, when he suggested during a coronavirus briefing that "tremendous" amounts of UV or disinfectant light could somehow be a potential cure for the virus.
The comments prompted manufacturers to issue warnings warning people against consuming chlorine and other disinfectants. Poison control centers across the country reported an increase in calls.
When asked about the incident the next day, Trump tried to correct the record, claiming that he had made the comments sarcastically. His explanation itself was full of falsehoods and other attempts to reframe his comments. It was a classic example of Trump saying something confusing and potentially dangerous, and then playing like sarcasm when given a chance to explain what he was trying to say in the first place.
The border wall in Colorado
In October 2019, when Colorado Governor Jared Polis and others expressed confusion
Given the president's announcement that the United States was apparently building a wall in Colorado as part of its border protection efforts, Trump played it as if he had been joking. He tweeted
that he had been joking and that his comments were actually referring to the people of Colorado who benefited from the border wall that was being built elsewhere.
Ukraine and China investigating the Bidens
Trump told reporters in early October 2019 that he thought Ukraine and China should investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. With these comments just a week after Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment investigation into the President, prominent Republican lawmakers jumped to her defense. House of Representatives minority leader Kevin McCarthy, Representative Jim Jordan and Senator Marco Rubio promoted the narrative that Trump's comments should not be taken literally. But when the president was directly asked if he had been joking, he declined to confirm that narrative, replying instead that any investigation would be "up to China."
A free Rolls-Royce
At a 2018 campaign rally in Arizona, Trump joked that Democrats want to give undocumented immigrants a free Rolls-Royce. At a rally the next day in Nevada, Trump naturally stated that Democrats want to give undocumented immigrants cars and driver's licenses. But when the media verified Trump's statements about Democrats, immigrants, and cars, he criticized them in later meetings for failing to make a joke.
At an October 2018 rally, the president praised Republican Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte who had assaulted a journalist while campaigning the previous year. Trump said "there is nothing to be ashamed of," adding that "any man who can do a body shot … he is my man." The next day, Whip's representative of the majority of the house, Steve Scalise defended
the president's comments as "clearly a joke" saying
that Trump was just "attacking" Gianforte. However, hours later, when Trump was asked if he regretted his comments on Gianforte, he said "not at all" and called Gianforte "a great guy."
China's business practices
Trump's refusal to accept others' interpretation of his intentions dates back to his first year in office. In November 2017, the President praised China's business practices, the same tactics he had previously criticized as unfair. Speaking to business leaders in Beijing, Trump said "I don't blame China" for taking advantage of the United States, but instead blamed the growing trade deficit on previous US administrations. Later then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that the president's comments were "ironic", only to be contradicted
soon after for a cheep
of the President publicly reiterating the position he had expressed that same day.
"Russia, if you are listening"
In particular, the President has tried to rewrite history claiming in multiple occasions
ever since he was elected he was joking when he made his infamous "Russia if you're listening" request during the 2016 presidential campaign. CNN has verified this alternative narrative several times before and the facts clearly show that when Trump asked for his help getting emails Eliminated from Hillary Clinton, neither he nor the assembled audience laughed.