Trump just completely reversed his attack on the intelligence chiefs — showing he has no idea what's going on
President Donald Trump drew attention on Wednesday for declaring war on his own intelligence officials, calling them "passive and naive" people who need to "go back to school":
The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong… https://t.co/PEJcIG3Gde— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1548856255.0
....a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very c… https://t.co/mRkmWRRcKi— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1548856560.0
The tantrum, posted in response to the coverage of Tuesday's Worldwide Threat Assessment presented to Congress by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel, and FBI Director Christopher Wray, takes issue with facts inconvenient to his political narrative, including that North Korea is unlikely to denuclearize (something Trump promised is underway), that Iran is currently still abiding by the terms of the multilateral nuclear deal (their supposed cheating was Trump's basis for pulling the U.S. out of the agreement last year), and that there is no national security threat at the southern border (which Trump shut down the government over and is threatening to do again).
It is nothing new for Trump to proclaim himself right and the experts wrong, of course. He's been contradicting his own government officials' reports on everything from climate change to Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election. But there is something fundamentally chilling about the President of the United States throwing aside major national security facts reported by his handpicked intelligence chiefs because it doesn't match with what he has been telling the public.
And even Trump himself seemed to realize how bad this looked. Because on Thursday, in an exchange with a reporter, he abruptly switched from saying his intelligence officials are stupid, to saying that intelligence officials actually say he's right.
Q: "Did you talk to your intelligence chiefs today about the displeasure you had with their…" President Trump: "I… https://t.co/KZ6fLAXhVb— CSPAN (@CSPAN) 1548971965.0
Bear in mind, the World Threat Assessment is available for the public to read, and the intelligence testimony to Congress available for the public to watch, and all of it clearly contradicts Trump. And just 24 hours ago, Trump called the intelligence chiefs "passive and naive" for writing it. But now, we're supposed to believe there was no daylight between Trump and the intelligence community and it was all "fake news."
Trump wants to gaslight the American people about the national security assessments of his own administration. It is hard to overstate the potentially disastrous consequences this could have to our nation's credibility, and its capacity to plan for threats at home and abroad.