We have not been shy around here in pointing out embarrassing rationalizations, excuses and out-and-out lies from Republicans in defense of Donald Trump. His erratic and bizarre views, overt bigotry and monumental ignorance have provoked widespread intellectual dishonesty on the right as they try to explain or minimize their candidate’s utterances.

The examples are so numerous as to defy quantification. But there are some that stand out for their sheer sophistry and unintended hilarity. Not unlike the inadvertently comical Iraq information minister for Saddam Hussein during the initial stages of the Iraq War, Mohammed Saeed Sahhaf (fondly named “Baghdad Bob”) some Republicans will risk mockery for their defense of the indefensible. It seems appropriate that on each Friday before the November election we will pick the “Baghdad Bob” Republican of the week. As one conservative policy wonk observed, I will never run out of material.

Now, we must exclude figures such as Sean Hannity, Trump surrogates such as Jeffrey Lord and the outlets such as Breitbart that should be inducted into the hall of fame for intellectual corruption. They are without peer in their defense of Trump, incurring no small amount of ridicule and disdain from Republicans and Democrats alike. We will therefore focus on the less obvious Trump spinners.

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With that background, the winner this week is Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who once worried about giving Trump the nuclear codes, slammed Hillary Clinton for the Russian reset and deplored the president’s lack of resolve in checking Russian aggression in Europe and meddling in the Middle East. Rubio has made his name as a GOP hawk, human rights advocate and severe critic of Obama administration appeasement of international bullies. However, when asked about Trump’s remarks about the possible Russian connection to the hack of DNC computers he replied:

I do not support encouraging the Russians to hack anyone in the United States. When I read those comments [Wednesday] I called the Trump campaign and they made it clear to me that what he said [Wednesday] was not a policy proposal. It was a use of sarcasm to draw attention to this issue of the emails and the fact that there are still thousands, tens of thousands, of missing emails from Hillary Clinton that the American people want to know about.

No, honestly, that’s what he said. It was fine because it was not a policy proposal to — what? — support Russian interference in our elections. Had Trump said this during the primary campaign or had a Democrat made the comment, Rubio would have roared in disapproval. It’s a particularly awful response in that he told us he called the Trump campaign to get its excuse. In other words, he’s acknowledging he is a mere conduit for Trump’s irresponsible, clueless rhetoric about Vladimir Putin, whom Rubio’s candidate Trump admires and with whom he wants to get along.

All we can we say is: SAD!

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