Hours after GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump invited the Russian government to hack into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails, the campaign began spinning his comment saying he was being “sarcastic,” after several other explanations were floated.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Trump blurted out, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
Thursday morning, Fox media critic Howard Kurtz picked up the sarcasm explanation and ran with it, blaming the misunderstanding on reporters who mistakenly believe Trump is “insane.”
Writing on the Fox News website, Kurtz said it was plainly obvious to him that Trump was joking and critical response to his comments were a “classic case of media-generated outrage.”
“The lines seemed so obviously sarcastic to me, as I watched Trump’s presser from the Democratic convention here in Philadelphia, that I didn’t see the tsunami coming,” he wrote. “Maybe I’m wrong, but as a longtime Trump-watcher, that’s how it came off to me.”
“But think about the media coverage for a minute. 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,” he continued. “And I do think many journalists and commentators view him as a bit unhinged. That’s why this makes sense to them. They think Trump is so off the wall that it seems perfectly plausible.”
Outside of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trumps attempt at sarcasm seems to have been lost on everyone else, including conservatives including GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan who was forced to issue a statement saying, “Russia is a global menace led by a devious thug. Putin should stay out of this election.”
Prior to working for Fox News, Kurtz was fired from his position as Washington Bureau Chief at the Daily Beast for misreporting a story on NBA star Jason Collins after he came out as gay in a Sports Illustrated cover story.
Later, after that incident, he left CNN for the greener pastures of Fox News.