The United States is undergoing a unique adventure in surreal governance. Its president has assembled a team of advisors and cabinet department heads that he is publicly assailing as ignorant and lacking the knowledge and abilities to perform the jobs to which he appointed them. Donald Trump is literally calling his own Intelligence chiefs incompetent.
This is the sort of breakdown that would be laughably unbelievable in political fiction. If Trump has such little respect for the people he appointed, why does he keep them in their jobs? Wouldn’t a sane president remove people who he thought were getting everything wrong so that they wouldn’t continue to put the country at risk? Would a mentally stable leader tweet that his “Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive,” and then follow that up with another tweet saying that they “should go back to school,” and then allow them to keep their highly sensitive jobs in national security?
Trump was long ago proven to be a malignant narcissist who regards himself as the most brilliant expert at whatever he happens to be talking about at the moment. Despite having evaded military service with five phony deferments, he said that he knows more about military affairs than “his” generals. And on Thursday morning when he was asked a question about his Intelligence team, it resulted in this bizarre exchange (video below):
Reporter: Do you have confidence with [CIA Director] Gina Haspel and [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coats to give you good advice?
Trump: No, I disagree with certain things that they said. I think I’m right, but time will prove that. Time will prove me right, probably.
So Trump has no confidence in his CIA director or his director of National Intelligence. And he followed that up with a rambling array of nonsense regarding Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, and North Korea. Literally none of it had any resemblance to reality. Trump has cloaked himself in a shroud of fantastical fiction that he either has convinced himself is true, or is deliberately lying about in order to advance some perverse narrative that is contrary to the interests of the nation. When John Brennan, a former CIA director who had the confidence of his boss, heard about Trump’s remarks, he tweeted that it “shows the extent of [his] intellectual bankruptcy” and that “All Americans, especially members of Congress, need to understand the danger [Trump] poses to our national security.”
So if Trump isn’t getting his advice on these critical issues from the experts he appointed, where is he getting it? Is it coming from his pal Vladimir Putin, with whom he’s been meeting in secret without any other Americans present to record their conversation or refer it to professionals for analysis? Or is he getting it from his shadow cabinet at Fox News: Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Steve Doocy, Lou Dobbs, Jeanine Pirro, etc.? Could there be a more pathetic batch of know-nothings in such positions of power?
Thursday afternoon Trump returned to his Twittering to announce that he had a meeting and that everything was now copacetic with his intelligence team. He said that the media “mischaracterized” what they said during the Senate hearing on Wednesday. But it was Trump who said that he had “no confidence” in his team, not the press. And he’s been saying it for quite a while. These tweets are obviously an attempt to repair the damage his big mouth got him into. But anyone who’s buying it is terminally naive.
….I would suggest you read the COMPLETE testimony from Tuesday. A false narrative is so bad for our Country. I value our intelligence community. Happily, we had a very good meeting, and we are all on the same page!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 31, 2019
In the end, it’s America that is losing out by Trump’s reliance on foreign adversaries and propaganda shills at State TV (aka Fox News). Trump is selling out the nation for reasons that are not fully known yet, but probably have something to do with his indebtedness to Russian oligarchs, his clandestine conspiracy with Kremlin operatives to steal the election, or some other means by which he has been compromised and forced to serve as a puppet to our foes. And at this point, the only reason that the Intelligence community hasn’t resigned en masse is that they feel a patriotic duty to shield the country from the potential harm that Trump represents as its most virulent national security threat.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.
REPORTER: Do you have confidence with Gina Haspel and Dan Coats to give you advice?
TRUMP: "No, I disagree with certain things they said. Time will prove me right, probably." (via MSNBC) pic.twitter.com/f9nJ1qaUtI
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 31, 2019