In an article penned by Dianne Feinstein and Ben Cardin, two Democratic Senators known for their intellectual heft as members of the foreign and intelligence committees, both expressed concern regarding President elect Donald Trump’s conduct and approach to national security issues. One of the many areas of alarm expressed by the Senators was Trump’s indifference to intelligence briefings.
These two veterans of the Senate attempted to help Trump understand that active participation with the intelligence community helps a president understand domestic and international threats, the nuances of coalitions and challenges of globalization. So far, their outreach to Trump has fallen on deaf ears. Trump has attempted to defend his lack of intellectual engagement regarding the nation’s intelligence by minimizing the importance of the content, insisting he has the natural ability to master intelligence summaries without much effort because “You know, I'm like a smart person.”
This is all malarkey. Donald Trump avoids intelligence briefings because he’s intellectually limited and he knows it.
For most of his life Trump has tried to hide his compromised brain capacity through false bravado, insults, verbal and emotional abuse of others and the marketing of his name. Trump has mastered the art of deflection of his business incompetence, along with his personal insecurities and fears. He took this model and ran for president, winning by convincing enough Americans to find fellowship in the dark message of his own narcissism.
After his presidential win, Donald Trump is starting to realize the gravity of the office he is about to hold. The presidential intelligence briefings prior to him being sworn is clearly scaring the shit out of him. The complexity of it must be frightening to a man who lacks rudimentary intellectual capability, so Trump is simply avoiding intelligence briefings. Trump is afraid to ask questions because it will reveal the depth of his ignorance.
In the intelligence world, some of his deficiencies could be mitigated by the likes of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Administration that could devise simplistic ways to present Trump with information. NPR indicated in a column that presidents have the presidential daily briefings (PDB’s) modified to the intellectual level and preference of that particular president. Given Donald Trump is arguably the lowest intellectually functioning president we’ve ever had, intelligence agencies may need to get creative in how they present information to him (and if you add Trump’s short attention span, the CIA may have to resort to 3 X 5 cards and coloring books).
There are millions of Americans with varying intellectual abilities who manage to navigate their lives by harnessing their strengths and weaknesses in a way that allows them to contribute greatly to society. However, what makes Trump particularly dangerous is his refusal to acknowledge his limitations. This coupled with an alarming lack of interest in the outside world makes his presidency a national security risk.
The intelligence community likely feels the same way many Americans do. They must have a real sense of dread and uncertainty about a man who does not appear to be mentally, emotionally or intellectually ready to become President. Because all of the bluster, pretense and excuse making will come to an abrupt end on January 20th and we will all soon find out what it means to have an intellectually disabled man with minimal curiosity run our country.