Thursday, January 31, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He accused TV cameras of being fake news.

On Tuesday, at a House intelligence committee hearing, Trump's lies or misunderstandings about subjects ranging from Iran to North Korea to ISIS were contradicted by his own appointees to intelligence services, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel.

On Wednesday, Trump found out about this, and blew up on Twitter, saying that the U.S. intelligence community was "wrong" and needed to "go back to school."

This morning, Trump was asked if he still had confidence in Haspel and Coats. He responded, "No. I disagree with certain things that they said. I think I'm right. Time will prove me right, probably."

This afternoon, after meeting with them behind closed doors, Trump changed his story, saying that Coats and Haspel had said that "they were totally misquoted and they were totally — it was taken out of context."

The hearings were televised live.

So what?

  • Presidents who actually sit through intelligence briefings are less likely to be contradicted about intelligence matters by the people who provide him with intelligence.
  • You can't misquote someone by broadcasting their words live.