Trump Just Ripped The Rug Out From Republicans Who Claim He Was ‘Joking’ When He Asked China To Investigate Biden

Lately, Trump has taken his attempts to pressure foreign governments to investigate his political opponent public, which has complicated the defense strategy from his supporters in Congress. They can’t claim he didn’t do it since he literally appeared on camera doing it, so Republicans have been forced from a defense of “this didn’t happen” to “it happened, but he’s just kidding.”

The always courageous Marco Rubio kicked off the “just a joke” defense last week when he chided reporters for taking Trump seriously when he said to the entire world “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

“I don’t think it’s a real request,” Rubio said. “I think he did it to provoke [reporters] to ask me and others and get outraged by it.” Rubio followed up his brush-off of what many are calling an impeachable offense with a smug tweet insisting he wasn’t going to “keep getting played.”

Staunch Trump defender Rep. Jim Jordan continued the “just a joke” defense on This Week. Asked if it was appropriate for the president to ask China to investigate Biden, Jordan laughed it off.

“I think he’s got you guys all spun up,” Jordan told host George Stephanopoulos. “I don’t think he really meant go investigate.” Jordan went on to say “I think Senator Rubio had it exactly right.” Pressed further Jordan pivoted to saying Trump was “doing his job” by calling for investigations into Biden.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri also echoed the “just a joke” defense, saying “I doubt the China comment is serious.”

Unfortunately, because Donald Trump apparently can’t resist incriminating himself, the “just a joke” defense was dead on arrival. Trump defended his calls for Biden to be investigated on Twitter and let everyone know he was serious.

So for those keeping score at home Republicans have moved from “the president’s call for an investigation was just a joke” to “the president call for an investigation is him fulfilling a solemn duty.”

This, of course, won’t prevent Trump’s defenders from continuing to argue that the president was joking as it’s not really a part of any coherent defense strategy at all. Trump and his allies in Congress have continued pushing the misguided notion that there was something nefarious about the Ukraine whistleblower offering “secondhand” information or meeting with Rep. Adam Schiff, despite the fact that Trump is currently—right now in front of our very eyes—pushing Ukraine and China to investigate Biden.