Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz thinks the uproar over Donald Trump urging Russia to release emails from Hillary Clinton if that frenemy nation had hacked her private sever is just another case of “media-generated outrage.”
“To believe that the Republican nominee was dead serious in urging an adversary of the United States to commit or complete an act of espionage against his Democratic opponent is to believe that Trump is clinically insane,” Kurtz wrote.
Trump said in a free-wheeling Wednesday press conference that he hoped the Russian government had accessed emails from Clinton’s server and that he would “like to have them released.”
Pressed by an NBC reporter if he had any “qualms” about asking a foreign government to hack into a U.S. politician’s emails, a seemingly irritated Trump said, “No, gives me no pause.”
The real estate mogul sent a tweet after the presser ended encouraging “Russia or any other country or person” who has accessed the emails to share them with the FBI, which completed an investigation into Clinton’s private server without recommending any charges against the former secretary of state.
Trump’s surrogates struggled to come up with a unified response to the backlash over the remarks, which left national security experts and pundits from both sides of the aisle in disbelief.
Jason Miller, Trump’s senior communications director, said that Trump was “clearly saying” anyone who had the emails should hand them over to the FBI, even though Trump made no mention of the FBI during his remarks. Adviser Rudy Giuliani argued the same, while ally Newt Gingrich claimed the comments were a “joke.”
Trump told Fox News on Thursday that he was “of course” being sarcastic.
Kurtz wrote that “as a longtime Trump-watcher,” he could tell right away that the real estate mogul wasn’t being serious.
He noted that most “professional politicians avoid sarcasm” so they don’t become embroiled in situations like this, but that Trump “delights in it.”