It’s become a pattern: President Trump says something outrageous. He later grudgingly retracts his statement, or members of his administration retract it on his behalf. And then he quickly undermines the retraction.
It happened with the attacks by white supremacists in Charlottesville and with other race-baiting issues. This week alone, the pattern has been visible multiple times, on Russia and NATO.
So what explains it? What could Trump possibly be accomplishing with this blatant dissembling?
Something important and devious, actually. He is sending two different messages, each intended for a different audience.