In a powerful letter to CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, former CIA Director John Brennan offered a searing condemnation of Donald Trump's repugnant response to Charlottesville — and an alarming warning for the country's future.
Former CIA Director John Brennan has not been reticent about sharing his honest thoughts on our current political climate.
This week, he issued his strongest warning yet about the path our nation is on under Donald Trump, saying that Trump “is putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk.”
Brennan had already sounded an alarm back in May, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing on the Russian investigation task force, when he spoke forcefully about the damage done to our democracy by foreign interference in our election.
“Our ability to choose our elected leaders as we see fit is, I believe, an inalienable right that we must protect with all of our resources and all of our authority and power,” Brennan stated.
He continued with a rallying call: “And the fact that the Russians tried to influence that election so that the will of the American people was not going to be realized by that election, I find outrageous and something that we need to, with every last ounce of devotion to this country, resist.”
And in the wake of the horrific bigotry-driven violence in Charlottesville, Virginia — and Donald Trump’s offensive and unhinged press conference Tuesday in response — Brennan has again shown the kind of moral character of which the current White House is utterly bereft.
Tuesday night, CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer spoke movingly about his family’s experience during the Holocaust, noting that all four of his grandparents died at the hands of the Nazis, and giving voice to the critiques of Trump’s baffling attitude — a man with a Jewish son-in-law and a daughter who converted — toward those who despise Jews.
My parents similarly came to this country after the Holocaust. All four of my grandparents were murdered during the Holocaust. And what I don’t understand, and maybe you can explain this to me, is how the president of the United States has a daughter who is Jewish, a son-in-law who is Jewish, grandchildren who are Jewish, his son-in-law, his grandparents were Holocaust survivors at the same time. i don’t understand how he isn’t moved by that to simply condemn this group shouting out, “Jews will not replace us.” It’s hard to believe that we’re hearing this in this day and age.
The next day, Blitzer read on air a letter he received from Brennan in response to his family’s story.
Brennan was heartfelt about his sorrow for what Blitzer’s family had suffered under Hitler. And he called out Trump in no uncertain terms for “the pain inflicted by [Trump’s] despicable words.”
Brennan called Trump’s statements a “national disgrace” and “ugly and dangerous.” And he professed his fear that Trump “is putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk.”
The letter in full reads:
Just watched your interview with Senator Blumenthal when you mentioned that you lost all four of your grandparents to the unspeakable evil of Nazism. I just want to extend my sympathies not only for their deaths but also to you and your family–and countless others–for the pain inflicted today by the despicable words of Donald Trump. Mr. Trump’s words, and the beliefs they reflect, are a national disgrace, and all Americans of conscience need to repudiate his ugly and dangerous comments. If allowed to continue along this senseless path, Mr. Trump will do lasting harm to American society and to our standing in the world. By his words and his actions, Mr. Trump is putting our national security and our collective futures at grave risk.
No person of conscience could bear witness to the terrifying, hate-filled violence unleashed in Charlottesville last weekend, and the reactions from Trump which ranged from inept to petulant to morally repugnant, and disagree in the slightest with Brennan’s assessment.
A woman lost her life, murdered by a neo-Nazi in public in America in 2017. People who espouse and proudly proclaim the exact same toxic worldview as Hitler rampaged in the streets, causing death, injury, destruction, and nationwide horror.
And Trump’s response has been not simply lacking, but thoroughly despicable.
Brennan is exactly right about the danger Trump poses, and the need to confront it immediately.