It’s well documented that Donald Trump rarely or never reads his President’s Daily Brief (PDB), which – as Natasha Bertrand of Politico pointed out on Thursday – consists of about a dozen different articles per day covering various hotspots and national security threats the president should be aware of.
But according to Bertrand, Trump can’t even get through his verbal briefings without going off on tangents – especially if the briefer brings up Russia.
“His intelligence briefers have essentially internalized this notion that if you bring up Russia around him, he’s just going to explode,” Bertrand said during an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber. “He doesn’t want to hear anything about Russia.”
“He doesn’t want to be second guessed about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and whether or not that may have impacted the 2016 election,” she added.
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) July 2, 2020
There’s essentially become this kind of two-tiered briefing system inside the White House where you have the PDB, which includes probably a dozen articles per day that the president’s expected to read about major hotspots, about national security threats that just need to be on his radar. And then you have his intelligence briefer who only has a few minutes with him every day, has a very limited amount of time, especially given the president’s tendency to go off on tangents and kind of rant during these briefings. And they need to choose what to prioritize in that moment so that the president can know what is the most urgent thing that he needs to attend to that day in the realm of national security. So with regard to the Russia matters, his intelligence briefers have essentially internalized this notion that if you bring up Russia around him, he’s just going to explode. He doesn’t want to hear anything about Russia. He doesn’t want to be second guessed about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and whether or not that may have impacted the 2016 election. And to that point, he’s already called this intel a hoax on Twitter. He has not actually said that he believes it and that he is working on it and that he is coming up with a response with the national security council, with his administration. So this is more of a clear pattern of his intel agencies just really struggling to get through with him on this issue.
The commander-in-chief should be required to read the daily briefing
It is impossible for a commander-in-chief to uphold his or her oath to defend the United States if they refuse to inform themselves about the major threats facing the country.
Over the past three years, Donald Trump hasn’t just shown that he is grossly uninformed about issues, foreign and domestic, but he has shown absolutely no willingness to learn what he doesn’t know.
Whether it’s ignoring briefings about the coronavirus outbreak or dismissing intelligence about Russia paying cash to have U.S. soldiers killed, Donald Trump’s intellectual bankruptcy has repeatedly put the American people in harm’s way.
It shouldn’t have to be said, but the American people deserve a commander-in-chief who actually reads his daily briefing – not one who throws tantrums because he doesn’t like what’s in it.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.