Let’s take a quick trip back to December. Trump had been president elect for about a month and a half and Politico and its fellow travelers were on a tear about Donald Trump not getting daily intelligence briefings. Take this from USA Today as a sampling:
Donald Trump’s reluctance to receive daily intelligence briefings — and his blunt rejection of the CIA’s assessment of Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election — suggest a rocky start to the president-elect’s relationship with intelligence agencies.
Since the election, Trump has received the President’s Daily Briefing only four times, amid meetings with potential Cabinet secretaries and other transition business. And on Sunday, the president-elect suggested that the rate of briefings won’t change once he’s sworn in next month.
As I pointed out at the time, there is no tradition of a president taking the Presidential Daily Briefing in person: Democrats Are Flip-Flopping Like A Landed Fish On Russia And Trump’s Intelligence Briefings.
Now we are onto the newest criticism.
President Trump consumes classified intelligence like he does most everything else in life: ravenously and impatiently, eager to ingest glinting nuggets but often indifferent to subtleties.
Most mornings, often at 10:30, sometimes earlier, Trump sits behind the historic Resolute desk and, with a fresh Diet Coke fizzing and papers piled high, receives top-secret updates on the world’s hot spots. The president interrupts his briefers with questions but also with random asides. He asks that the top brass of the intelligence community be present, and he demands brevity.
Yet there are signs that the president may not be retaining all the intelligence he is presented, fully absorbing its nuance, or respecting the sensitivities of the information and how it was gathered.
Of course he isn’t retaining it or absorbing its essence. He’s an idiot, right?
As president, Trump now takes briefings nearly every day. In a White House with few steadying mechanisms — and one led by a Washington neophyte who bristles at structure and protocol — the daily intelligence briefing is the rare constant.
The sessions often run past their scheduled time, stretching for 30 or 45 minutes, prompting Trump’s chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to pop into the Oval Office to cut off the discussion: “Mr. President, we’ve got people backing up outside.
Still, Trump tells advisers that he values his daily briefings. Though career intelligence analysts often take the lead in delivering them, Trump likes his political appointees — Pompeo and Coats — to attend, along with national security adviser H.R. McMaster. Pompeo and Coats, whose offices are in McLean, Va., have had to redesign their daily routines so that they spend many mornings at the White House.
Vice President Pence usually attends, while other administration principals join depending on the topic of the day, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly. Senior members of the West Wing staff sometimes float in and out of the Oval Office during the briefings.”
I’m really sure Trump spending a lot of time on the Presidential Daily Brief, and taking regularly, and asking questions, and having his national security team sit in with him is just another sign that Trump has no interest in the job and is an incompetent boob. What other explanation could there be? In fact, the only thing worse than him taking the briefings and paying attention is him not taking the briefings and not paying attention.