Less than an hour after his boss backtracked on fingering President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as the "founders" of the Islamic State militant group, a Donald Trump surrogate went on CNN to pick up the pieces.
Michael Cohen, an executive vice president in the Trump Organization, appeared on CNN less than an hour after his boss tweeted that his claims, which he repeatedly insisted were serious, were actually just a mystifying attempt at sarcasm.
Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) "the founder" of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON'T GET SARCASM?— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1470997580.0
CNN's Chris Cuomo asked Cohen to explain Trump's comments, and the campaign spokesman accidentally betrayed that he'd been sent to appear on "New Day" with no idea of what his boss wanted him to say.
"I think the best thing would be if Mr. Trump called in (and) had the conversation with you himself," Cohen said.
Cuomo quickly interjected, saying he welcomed the Republican presidential nominee's explanation "anytime" -- which seemed to surprise Cohen.
"I mean, there's nobody better to answer Mr. Trump than Mr. Trump," Cohen said.
Cuomo asked if the candidate's strange explanation for his conflicting claims about a deadly serious topic should sow any doubts in voters' minds about Trump's trustworthiness.
"I think you do take him at his word for everything," Cohen said.
"But that's how we got into this situation," Cuomo responded.
After a pause, Cohen said he watched Cuomo grill another campaign surrogate Thursday on Trump's claims about Obama, Clinton and ISIS.
"I watched your show yesterday with Mayor (Rudy) Giuliani, and what he was talking about is how the mainstream media wants to pick on every single word," Cohen said. "Again, I think Mr. Trump will answer this question better than anybody else."
Trump, according to a follow-up tweet posted more than an hour later, seems to prefer being inscrutable.
I love watching these poor, pathetic people (pundits) on television working so hard and so seriously to try and figure me out. They can't!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1471002223.0