Updated: Jul 2, 2020
When it was reported that Russians offered a bounty on coalition troops in Afghanistan, many were astounded. When it was revealed that this was reported to Donald Trump in early 2019, most were shocked. When Trump denied that he received an intelligence briefing on the issue, the reaction was, here we go again!
The thing is, Trump DID get a written report on the Russian bounty. The problem is, he didn’t take the time to read it. Which begs the question, how much more has been missed because he hasn’t read the intelligence briefings? What danger are we in because of this?
Following 9/11, the move was to unite the country. Despite this, there were grumblings that President Clinton missed the opportunity to kill Osama bin Laden. And he took his intelligence briefings seriously.
Only time will tell what damage Trump’s lack of interest in these briefings will have on our country.
In 1955, the book Why Johnny Can’t Read revolutionized education and led to the special education programs that have allowed so many students to succeed when they have previously been called dumb, even by educators. Trump is a product of this generation, yet seems to not have taken advantage of the programs that grew out of this movement.
Intelligence briefings have been a vital part of national security since 1961. They were previously known as the Daily Summaryunder President Harry Truman at the onset of the Cold War. Now called the President’s Daily Briefing, these meetings with the heads of each of the intelligence agencies served as a vital source of information of threats, or even perceived threats, to American interests worldwide.
No one knows how many crises were averted due to these briefings. And every president, from Kennedy to Obama received these reports, in both written and oral form, on a daily basis.
At one point it was reported Trump received only 17 briefings in 85 days. How much damage was done in this time?
Instead of attending these briefings, Trump prefers to watch Fox News to get his daily spin on what is happening in the world. It is this slanted view that forms his worldview.
Those in the inside say Trump shows “a willful ignorance” to intelligence briefings. Remember, during the 2016 campaign he claimed to know “more than the generals” and quickly rebuffed the findings of his intelligence community when they reported Russian interference in the 2016 election. His view of the intelligence community is that of the same paranoia that causes him to attack anyone who disagrees with him.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany took the unprecedented step of defending her boss, insisting that Trump does read, calling him “the most informed person on the planet”.
The facts belie this statement.
Trump’s disdain for reading is nothing new. But, his job demands it. He cannot continue to be a part time executive. It’s time to send him into permanent retirement.
In fact, as of now, he should read the writing on the wall.