During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day”, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said she was “stunned” by President Donald Trump’s public schooling of the nation’s chief intelligence officials over their congressional testimony.
“It blows my mind, frankly… I worked for presidents that actually were interested in knowing what was going on and knew what the role of the intelligence community is and was. And so I am stunned by this, and I think it only proves something that troubles me deeply is that this president is someone that doesn’t want to learn. I think that part of being a responsible public servant and a leader is to listen to different opinions and to understand and to ask in depth what is going on instead of putting them down”.
On Wednesday, Trump took to Twitter to slam intelligence officials as “extremely passive and naïve” and suggested they “should go back to school” after they presented their annual Worldwide Threat Assessment in Congress that appeared to be at odds with POTUS’s claims.
He alluded to a statement by CIA Director Gina Haspel, who said that Iran was complying with the landmark nuclear treaty, which Trump has thrashed as “horrible” and “disastrous” before ultimately leaving it.
The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! When I became President Iran was making trouble all over the Middle East, and beyond. Since ending the terrible Iran Nuclear Deal, they are MUCH different, but….— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 30 January 2019
….a source of potential danger and conflict. They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran. Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 30 January 2019
Among other statements that seemingly contradicted his views, was an observation made by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who said that the threat from Daesh* remains. Trump, however, still intends to withdraw US troops from Syria, claiming that the terrorist group has been defeated.
When I became President, ISIS was out of control in Syria & running rampant. Since then tremendous progress made, especially over last 5 weeks. Caliphate will soon be destroyed, unthinkable two years ago. Negotiating are proceeding well in Afghanistan after 18 years of fighting..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 30 January 2019
But just a day after he dressed down the intelligence community, he abruptly reversed course, saying that he and spy officials “are all on the same page”. Instead, he bashed the media for “distorting” the testimony:
Just concluded a great meeting with my Intel team in the Oval Office who told me that what they said on Tuesday at the Senate Hearing was mischaracterized by the media — and we are very much in agreement on Iran, ISIS, North Korea, etc. Their testimony was distorted press…. pic.twitter.com/Zl5aqBmpjF— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 31 January 2019
….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) 31 January 2019
This is not the first time that Albright has taken a swing at Trump: last April, she claimed that the Trump presidency’s volatility and retreat from global leadership had given fascism a “fresh chance to strut around the world stage”.
Albright, who served as ambassador to the United Nations and secretary of State under former President Clinton, infamously said in 1996 that the price of the estimated 500,000 Iraqi children who died as a result of US-backed UN sanctions against Baghdad were worth it.
*Daesh, also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS/Islamic State, is a terrorist group banned in Russia and many other countries.