- John Brennan, a former CIA director, said some of Trump’s personal qualities were worrying to see in a president.
- He thinks some of Trump’s advisers have dealt with him well, but also that some enable rather than inhibit the president’s bad tendencies.
Former CIA Director Director John Brennan was blunt about his lack of confidence in President Donald Trump in an interview with The Atlantic.
Brennan — who served both the Bush and Obama administrations and is credited with creating the “playbook” on US counterterrorism policy as well as being the mastermind behind Obama’s drone program — suggested Trump was better suited for campaigning than governing.
“There’s never been a previous president, at least in my lifetime and experience, who had the impulsivity that Mr. Trump exhibits,” Brennan said. “He frequently will tweet or say something or act upon his gut instincts, which apparently served him well in business. And it clearly served him well as far as the campaign. But he is woefully inexperienced in international affairs.”
When asked for more detail about his reservations with the president, Brennan elaborated on what skills and qualities he felt Trump did not have.
“There are his traits, his personal qualities that are a concern,” Brennan said. “There is the lack of deliberate thinking that’s a concern. There is a lack of understanding and knowledge that’s a concern. And then there is this bullying tendency that compounds all of the other deficiencies.”
Brennan believes that President Trump tends “to do things in a very spontaneous fashion.”
“And when you’re talking about international security issues, that could have tragic consequences, both in the near term as well as over the longer term,” he added.
Brennan said that some of Trump’s advisers — who he called “governors” — have worked well with the president, preventing him from making some rash decisions, such as completely scrapping the Iran nuclear deal.
Brennan cited Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis and Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, who is chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “It’s critically important that they continue to explain to the president and to others just how fraught some avenues are, because they have seen war up close and personal,” Brennan said.
Brennan does believe that while the “governors” are doing a good job so far, he thinks some in the president’s inner circle enable rather than restrain his bad instincts. Those advising Trump need to provide expertise but “stop far short” of sycophancy.
“They need to make sure that they don’t lose sight of their north star and their professional responsibilities and their ethical standards as they try to do what they can to keep our national security on an even keel,” he said.
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