It had been two days since Donald Trump said he saw no reason Russia "would" interfere in U.S. elections, and one day since he backtracked and said he meant "wouldn't," and Americans are still trying to figure it out. So Stephen Colbert offered up an explanation, "Schoolhouse Rocks!" style.
After saying that Putin told him Russia was not involved in any election hacking, Trump said, "I don't see any reason why it would be." And so it was crystal clear that he agreed with Russia and not U.S. intelligence agencies who have definitively said it was Russia. A day later, though, Trump went back in time to amend one word, changing the phrase to, "I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be."
"Sort of a double negative," he explained, making it just about as clear as mud. He also didn't do much to amend the other times during the summit he threw American intelligence under the bus and appeared to side with Vladimir Putin, but since the focus is "would" and "wouldn't," we wouldn't be very supportive unless we would keep our focus there.
Colbert tried to use the president's own logic back at him, telling the president that he absolutely believes this new narrative. "I see no reason why you would be a traitor," he told Trump directly into the camera. "Oh, I'm sorry. I meant wouldn't."
"Trump's walk back yesterday was more of a shamble," Colbert said during the broadcast, "and you'd have to be some kind of idiot to buy it."
However, for many people this is still clearly a little confusing. Maybe it's that pesky double negative that's proving too confusing for Democrats and anyone else who isn't back on board the Trump train like all the rank-and-file Republicans in office, so Colbert offered up a nostalgic and educational tool to help everyone else understand this little-used grammatical trick.
It was time for the "Schoolhouse Rocks!" train to pull out of the "Conjunction Junction" station with a new orange-faced train conductor and head for "Double Negative Junction."
"Double negative, what's your function? A desperate way to not side with the Russians," the iconic chorus sang, After breaking down some examples of how a double negative could help Trump sound less traitorous, the ad finally figured out the purpose of the double negative.
Feel free to sing along with that tune we all know. "Double negative, that's your function. Helping to cover mental dysfunction. Like lying and cheating, collusion and treason, locking up babies, touching those ladies, Aryan rootin' and bowing to Putin."
The ad wrapped with the most concise explanation yet: "Trump can't never won't tell the truth!"