Donald Trump is as thin-skinned as they come. He has to be 100% right, 100% of the time. But he’s not.
When it comes to politics and world affairs, the Pumpkin-in-Chief rarely gets it right. And that’s created some awkward situations with our intelligence agencies.
The latest (as I write this) is with the DHS – the Department of Homeland Security.
Trump asked the DHS for a report on Muslim terrorism. His wanted backup for his travel ban on seven Muslim-majority nations.
But the DHS report doesn’t up the President. DHS said country of origin isn’t a good way to ID terrorists. Instead, they say, “… country of citizenship is unlikely to be a reliable indicator of potential terrorist activity.”
The report says terrorists looking to attack the U.S. over the last six years came from 26 different countries.
But The Orange One can’t accept any view other than his own. So he rejected the report.
Donald Trump’s Intelligence Strategy: If You Don’t Like Reality, Just Deny It
Trump and his surrogates swiftly attacked the DHS report. Just as they’ve attacked every other intelligence report that doesn’t fit Trump’s worldview.
Just look at his original “not-a-Muslim-ban” ban. He claimed it was to protect the U.S. But the conservative Cato Institute pointed out the ban was poorly targeted. Nobody from any of the countries Trump targeted has killed a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil since 1975.
Trump also has no business interests in any of these Muslim-majority countries.
But he does have investments in three Muslim-majority nations left off the list. And terrorists from these three nations have killed U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.
Saudi, Egyptian, and Emirati (U.A.E.) citizens have killed nearly 3,000 Americans since 1975 – mostly in the infamous 9/11 attacks.
According to the New York Daily News, Trump admires the Saudis. “They buy apartments from me,” the News quotes him as saying last year. “They spend $40 million, $50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”
It seems property sales count more with Trump than actual risk.
Trump’s Pattern of Rejection Should Be a Red Flag
We should have seen this coming…
- After the election, Trump chose not to receive daily intelligence briefings.
- When an embarrassing intel report leaked, he blamed the intelligence community. And he compared them to Nazis.
- Trump regularly insults our intelligence organizations in his tweets. Including suggesting the outgoing CIA director has leaked sensitive information.
And, of course, there’s the Russian interference thing. The entire U.S. intelligence community agrees Russia tried to influence last year’s presidential race. But Trump’s first reaction was to call the idea “ridiculous.”
This is more than a little spat. The man with his finger on the nuclear button consistently ignores and insults our intelligence community. But he accepts “information” from the likes of Fox News and Breitbart.com at face value.
Stay tuned for a very hairy four years.
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Postscript: I wrote the above before the latest Trump-Russia ties were revealed. Flynn, Sessions, and Kushner all appear to have had inappropriate contacts with Russian officials.
The current Russian government has crushed opposition media, murdered political opponents, and plundered that nation’s wealth. They annexed Crimea, sponsor a rebellion in eastern Ukraine, and may have meddled in Moldova’s recent elections.
These are all red flags to our intel community. But seemingly not to Trump.
Watch closely in the coming months. Don’t be surprised by a leak of Trump’s financial ties to Russian oligarchs. And it will have to be a leak. In spite of promises to the contrary, Trump now says he won’t release his tax returns.
DeMarche, E., “Trump rejects DHS intelligence report on Muslim ban,” FoxNews.com. Feb 25, 2017.
Sommerfeldt, C., “President Trump’s Muslim ban excludes countries linked to his sprawling business empire,” New York Daily News. Feb 1, 2017.
“Trump rejects CIA intelligence of Russian hacking, lawmakers vow probe,” The Denver Post. Dec 11, 2016.
Herszenhorn, D.M. and Baker, P., “Russia Steps Up Help for Rebels in Ukraine War,” The New York Times. Jul 25, 2014.
Mutler, A., “Moldova official says Russia meddling in presidential race,” Associated Press, via U.S. News. Oct 4, 2016.