"Considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor."
A day after Donald Trump lashed out at U.S. intelligence leaders over the ongoing Russia probe, former CIA Director John Brennan responded to the attack, saying he considers it a “badge of honor” given the source.
Brennan’s response came just 24 hours after Trump defended Russian President Vladimir Putin and attacked the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One Saturday, Trump shamefully attacked several former U.S. intelligence officials by name, including Brennan, as well as former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former FBI Director James Comey.
“I mean, give me a break, they are political hacks,” Trump said, referring to the three career intelligence officials who all served under both Democratic and Republican presidents.
Asked to respond to the criticism Sunday morning, Brennan told CNN’s Jake Tapper it was an “honor” to be named alongside Clapper and Comey.
Following up with some spectacular shade, Brennan added:
“And considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor.”
TAPPER: The president also called both of you and FBI director Comey ‘political hacks.’ All three of you worked in senior levels in the Obama administration, although you also worked during the Bush administration. How do you respond to the charge?
BRENNAN: First of all, he was referring to us as political hacks because he was trying to delegitimize the assessment done. Jim Clapper, Jim Comey, and John Brennan did did not write that assessment. It was written by the professional intelligence officers and law enforcement officers of this great country. Secondly, I feel very honored to be associated with Jim Clapper and Jim Comey in the same category. And considering the source of the criticism, I consider that criticism a badge of honor.
And third, I found it particularly reprehensible that, on Veterans Day, that Donald Trump would attack and impugn the integrity and the character of Jim Clapper, who served in uniform for 35 years, who responded to the call of his country to go to Vietnam, flew in over 70 combat support missions over Vietnam, and like Senator McCain, really did put his life at risk because of this country’s national security. And to impugn the character of somebody like Jim Clapper on Veterans Day, who has dedicated so much of his life to this country, I just find that outrageous, and it’s something that I think Mr. Trump should be ashamed of, but it doesn’t seem as though anything he does, he feels any shame whatsoever.
Trump also said on Saturday that he believes Putin “means it” when he denied that the Kremlin interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
As Brennan pointed out, Trump should be ashamed of his unpatriotic attacks on the U.S. intelligence community. But that would require him to be a patriot in the first place — something Trump has never come close to resembling.