When it comes to President Donald Trump, Republicans will tie themselves in knots as they try to defend even his most indefensible words and actions.
Case in point: New York GOP Congressman Chris Collins, who was asked by CNN host Alisyn Camerota about Trump’s remarks on Monday that Democrats who didn’t applaud during his State of the Union address last week were “treasonous.” Collins told Camerota:
“I think that says it all when it comes to the Democrat response. They were stoic, sitting on their hands. They did not want to applaud at any turn…it was just a very partisan reaction. And I’ve sat through some of former President Obama’s states and we were–”
Camerota then played video of State of the Union addresses made by former President Barack Obama in 2010 and 2013. On that video, Republicans could be seen not applauding. Some were even shaking their heads. Camerota asked Collins:
“Why wasn’t that embarrassing?”
Collins replied that it was a matter of “degrees” between the two reactions:
“Democrats were more subdued.”
But Collins nearly turned into a human pretzel when Camerota brought up the matter of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouting out “you lie!” during the 2009 SOTU. Collins told the CNN host:
“I would say it was an emotional response, much like [Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)] storming out of the chamber. It is what it is, what it was, for that moment in time, where Joe Wilson was reacting to something he thought was not truthful and Gutierrez was reacting to the president saying we should respect our flag.”
As Gutiérrez later explained, he walked out because he had promised to give an interview about the president’s address and, because Trump ran late with his speech, he would have been late for the interview if he stayed any longer.
Camerota, however, used the words Collins had just used against him, commenting:
“Hmm. I see, so Joe Wilson’s was an emotional response but not Gutiérrez. OK. Thank you.”