When U.S. Sen. John Barrasso jumped into the fray on Fox News and defended President Trump’s unhinged performance at the U.S.-Russia summit Monday, the Wyoming Republican tried to take the audience on a trip to Fantasyland.

That’s where GOP officials go when they feel duty-bound to agree with everything the president says, whether it’s totally wrong, an outrageous insult or just plain goofy. In this case Barrasso went the extra mile for Trump and just made stuff up.

Barrasso’s constituents all know that he likes to appear on national TV and pontificate on literally any subject in the news. Perhaps that’s part of his job as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, which makes him the fourth-highest-ranked member of the GOP leadership.

Trump shocked the world after he met privately with Vladimir Putin for more than two hours at the Helsinki summit with only a translator at his side. At a joint news conference he later said he believed the Russian president’s claim that his nation didn’t interfere in the 2016 U.S. elections because Putin’s denial was “extremely strong and powerful.”

On Fox News Barrasso tried to downplay Trump’s follies, the first of which was his decision to meet alone behind closed doors with Putin. Days later Americans still have nightmares about what crappy and/or dangerous deals Trump may have made with Putin, but they have no way of knowing what the leader of the free world did in their name.

Barrasso admitted he doesn’t know what Trump did either, but he imagined a fanciful scenario in which everything turns out perfectly OK. “I hope he has said, ‘Look, we know you did this [election interference] in 2016, you better make sure you don’t do it in 2018 because this is the punishing response, it’s going to happen. I’m not Barack Obama, and I’m going to act,’” was likely Trump’s warning, according to Barrasso.

I wonder if Trump repeatedly poked Putin in the chest while he was delivering the scolding comments Barrasso envisioned.

Fiction live on Fox News

There are quite a few problems with Barrasso’s fictional account. Yes, Trump certainly sounds forceful and in command of the tense situation in Barrasso’s fantasyland, but that’s exactly opposite of how he acted when the two leaders shared the stage a couple hours later. If Trump was going to be the tough guy with the alleged “punishing response,” shouldn’t he have given Putin and the rest of the world some idea what would happen if Russia didn’t heed America’s warning? Or at least shared it with his own national security adviser?

Barrasso had one thing correct: Trump is certainly not Obama. The former president, like all others before him, would never have agreed to meet with a thuggish dictator who has his enemies killed in all sorts of wicked ways, without being accompanied by someone to record or transcribe what happened. After all the provable lies Trump has told since his inauguration — more than 3,000 according to an analysis by CNN — does he really expect anyone to believe anything he says?

It would be funny, if it wasn’t so serious, to hear Barrasso’s final fairy tale to Fox viewers. Believe it or not, the senator gave Trump credit for fixing any problems caused by Russian interference in the coming election — the crimes the president later said he doesn’t believe Putin is deviously working to commit right now — without lifting a finger because he’s so tough.

“So if nothing happens in 2018 then my hat’s off to President Trump for privately telling Vladimir Putin to stay out,” Barrasso concluded. Perhaps Trump’s Cabinet will give its boss a shiny gold medal for his “accomplishment.” Heck, just give it to him now. Barrasso practically promised that Trump will come through for us.

In a year filled with incredibly silly GOP excuses for Trump’s childish, narcissistic behavior, that’s my pick for the most ridiculous one.

At the White House on Wednesday Trump declared that he’s “the toughest president Russia has ever faced.” Many Republicans and political pundits nodded their heads and agreed that in this area he has done his job well.

I suppose that’s why Trump begrudgingly signed the sanctions against 19 Russians and five entities Congress passed nearly unanimously last August. The president’s deadline to put the sanctions in place was in January, but his administration blew it off until mid-March. Let’s also not forget that after the 2016 election members of Trump’s inner circle tried to assure the Russians that existing sanctions would soon be lifted after the inauguration.

Recounting his recent overseas diplomatic disaster, Trump modestly hailed his performances at the European Union and NATO meetings as brilliant. Barrasso and many other members of Congress didn’t bother to counter his ludicrous claims. Don’t they have television sets? Merely perusing the nightly news should have told them that Trump greatly insulted Germany Prime Minister Angela Merkel and other EU nations. When he got to the NATO summit he really shined, immediately blasting other members for being deadbeats and forcing the U.S. to pay their bills, which was another lie. None of the other nations were in arrears.

NATO is a vital defense organization that depends on every member coming to the aid of others that are attacked. Trump believes the U.S. can unilaterally withdraw such support whenever it feels like it.

Trump’s meeting with Queen Elizabeth in London was a microcosm of everything that went wrong on his journey. He showed up late, didn’t follow royal protocol by bowing, then proceeded to view the British troops with her highness. He was supposed to stay behind her, but instead he just obliviously bumbled along ahead.

When Trump got to Helsinki he was asked to list our nation’s greatest enemy. He could have picked Russia, North Korea, Iran or a number of other countries, but instead he shockingly selected our greatest ally, the E.U.

Trump was particularly impressed during the summit that Putin offered to let Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team of investigators enter Russia and interview the 12 indicted spies who allegedly hacked Hillary Clinton’s email servers to help Trump win. The only catch, which Trump didn’t indicate was a problem, was that the U.S. would have to open up its secret files so Russia could search for American spies.

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Barrasso isn’t the only one who knows what Trump will do whenever he meets his Russian counterpart. My crystal ball reveals that Trump will OK this deal and join Putin at a Moscow checkpoint as Mueller and his team drive up in their jeeps.

Putin will check Mueller’s Russian spy indictments and hand them back in an attempt to control him telepathically, too. “These are not the computer hackers you are looking for,” Putin will say. “Move along.”

Kerry Drake

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and...

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  1. Seems you also have a flair for fantastical writing Mr. Drake. I went to your CNN link. Which itself pointed to a WaPo link. It wasn’t 3000 distinct lies as you infer, but rather a count of every time Trump said something they disagreed with. 13 times he said this. 53 times he said that. Disagreement with a statement doesn’t make it a lie. And your obvious bias towards Trump makes your whole article an amusing piece of fantasy.

    1. This statement by CB Raney is incorrect: one must doubt that Raney actually read the Washington Post piece (linked by CNN). The over 3000 falsehoods documented by The Washington Post are statements Trump has said that are VERIFIABLY not true (not, as Raney claims, a count of things that someone disagrees with). The Post’s method of verification and standards for fact-checking are stated clearly on their website.

      For the common good of our Wyoming community, when posting comments please be sure you are factually correct.

  2. Barrasso has overstayed his welcome. McConnell needs a new head on his right shoulder.

  3. 2018 should be the last year that Sen. Barrasso is in the U.S. Senate. Let’s vote him out of office. Wyoming deserves better.

  4. Barasso needs to go back to Philly. C’mon Wyoming, you take such glee in telling foljs they are interlopers and 13th hwn elect a trust fund Philly Doctor and the trust fund Virginia wife of a lobbyist. Golf clap, true westerners…..

  5. The day after the Trump-Putin debacle , I sent Sen. Barrasso a succinct comment to his Senate website.
    Paraphrasing, ” You can either defend the Republic and the democracy that runs it , or you can defend Trump. Pick one ( only one ). As a Republican this day you cannot do both… ”

    It appears Barrasso chose to defend Trump that same evening.

    That was 4-5 days ago in news cycles ; an eternity in Trumpland. But it seems more relevant now than then.

  6. Given that he chaired the Republican platform committee in 2016, I wonder if Barrasso has been interviewed by Mueller et al on what he knew about Manafort and changes the Russians wanted in the platform? Maybe this would be a good time for the senator to explain what he saw and did there.