After starting Day 2 of his presidency with a prayer service at the National Cathedral, Donald Trump’s motorcade, complete with Vice President Mike Pence, headed to the CIA headquarters in Langley, VA to deliver a speech to a gathering of 400 CIA employees, all that could be crowded into the available space.
Video of Trump:
Pence introduced Trump as a great “strategic thinker” who would “make America safe again,” but in fact, Trump could not even stay on topic unless that topic was a dishonest media and repeated lies about the small size of his inaugural crowd.
In a rambling address, Trump complained about the “dishonest media,” a theme he would return to again and again between moments of praise for the CIA and for himself.
While he seemed eager to praise the CIA, telling them “I am so behind you” and “you’re going to get so much backing you’ll say…please, Mr. President, we don’t need so much backing,” he seemed more interested in bragging about the size of the crowd at his inauguration.
“We’re on the same wavelength. We’re going to do great things.” With a swipe at President Obama, he claimed, “We have not used the real abilities we have. We have to get rid of ISIS. We have no choice. Radical Islamic terrorism has to be eradicated off the face of the earth. This is evil. Evil.”
“We’re going to end it. It’s time…you have somebody coming on who is extraordinary…We had a great transition…an amazing team of talent.” Which led to excessive praise for his nominee for CIA director, Mike Pompeo and complained “they’re doing little political games with me,” Trump’s derisive term for due diligence and the democratic process.
“Trust me, I’m like a smart person,” he told the CIA. “Everything” Pompeo has done, he claimed, “Has been a home run…you’re going to be getting a total star, a total gem, you’re gonna see.”
Trump said “We don’t win anything anymore” and repeated his lie about opposing intervention in Iraq, claiming “We got out wrong” and repeated his oft-criticized claim that “We should have kept the oil.” He said the CIA will “make us winners again.”
“I can only say I’m with you a thousand percent,” he said, and in almost the next breath returned again to his war with the media, “the most dishonest people on earth” who “made it sound like I have a feud with the intelligence community and it’s exactly the opposite.”
Then he returned to his lie about the “massive field of people…packed” that did not in fact exist. The photos, Trump implied, were faked by the media.
This was supposed to be a speech to the CIA, as an important first step in healing the breach between the Trump administration and the intelligence community after Trump repeatedly slammed their findings in favor of what he was hearing from Vladimir Putin.
It was not. It was a speech about the media. In this, it was, in fact, no different than any other Trump speech we’ve heard over the past year, full of bragging, whining and complaints about imagined persecution, bereft of facts and full of lies.