Source: James Barrett
On Wednesday, President Trump unloaded on his intelligence officials after they gave testimony to a Senate panel on Tuesday about the current situations in Iran, North Korea, and areas in which ISIS operates, saying the officials were being “extremely passive and naive” about the threat of Iran and needed to “go back to school.” But following a meeting with his intelligence leaders on Thursday, Trump issued another series of posts, this time blasting the press for having “mischaracterized” and “distorted” what was said at the hearing.
“America’s top intelligence official on Tuesday publicly broke with President Donald Trump on several critical foreign policy fronts, saying North Korea is not likely to give up its nuclear weapons, Iran is not yet seeking a nuclear weapon and the Islamic State terrorist group remains a forceful presence in Iraq and Syria,” Politico reported Tuesday, a summary of the testimony echoed by several outlets. On Wednesday, Trump responded with emphasis.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran,” Trump wrote Wednesday (tweets below). “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 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!”
In response, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Trump’s “back to school” tweets as “extraordinarily inappropriate.” Such disrespect for the intelligence officials, said the Democratic senator, threatens to “undermine the public confidence in the U.S. government’s efforts to protect our national security and preserve U.S. power and influence abroad.” The Democratic leader then called for an “immediate meeting” between Trump and his intelligence officers so they could “educate” the president about what’s really going on with national security.
But after having huddled with his intelligence team on Thursday, Trump’s tenor changed dramatically — but not for the reason Schumer had perhaps hoped.
“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,” Trump wrote in the first of two tweets. “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!”
In its report on Trump’s Thursday posts, ABC News expressed dismay at his “remarkable claim,” which the outlet said he made “despite the fact that the remarks and assessments Haspel, Coats and the other intelligence officials made were either carried live by tv networks or extensively replayed and quoted widely in newspapers and in online news accounts.”
Trump’s tweets below: