Trump's short attention span puts the country at risk.
As Trump enters his second year in office, his focus on the important parts of his job isn’t getting any better. A new report reveals just how much Trump aides have to struggle to get him to pay attention to national security briefings.
According the Washington Post, Trump, “rarely if ever reads the Presidents Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world.” Since Trump can’t be bothered to read the most sensitive intelligence, collected by Americans around the globe, he receives an oral briefing on select topics not daily, but every two to three days, according to some reports.
Trump’s “impatience with exhaustive classified documents that go to the commander in chief” shows a serious level of incompetence. Intelligence experts warn that Trump’s aversion to digging in to intelligence material makes the country more vulnerable.
Despite the high stakes, Trump demands to be the center of attention at his briefings.
The meetings were often dominated by whatever topic most interested the president that day. Trump would discuss the news of the day or a tweet he sent about North Korea or the border wall or anything else on his mind, two people familiar with the briefings said.
On such days, there would only be a few minutes left and the briefers would have barely broached the topics they came to discuss, one senior U.S. official said.
This behavior is dangerous. “The odds are pretty good that something will arise later on for which he has no intelligence basis for helping him work through it,” said Mark Lowenthal, a career intelligence officer who served as a CIA assistant director for George W. Bush.
In a desperate attempt to keep Trump’s attention, the intelligence agency has taken a tactic never required by a past president, one often employed by parents of unmotivated children: augmenting the discussion “with photos, videos and graphics.”
But even pretty pictures don’t always work. “He often goes off on tangents during the briefing and youd have to rein him back in,” one official told the Washington Post.
Then again, this is the White House Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) once compared the White House to an “adult day care center.”
President Obama famously received his daily briefing material on a secure iPad, which he would read before the briefing so he could ask questions to intelligence officers.
Trump, on the other hand, devotes morning hours to “executive time,” when he famously watches “Fox & Friends” spin wild conspiracy theories and plays on Twitter (much to the chagrin to oft-fired Omarosa).
Trump wants a world where he can play dress-up tinpot dictator at the head of a ludicrous military parade and barely work 35 hours a week. It seems he can’t be bothered to read anything longer than a tweet or a Fox chyron.
His lack of interest in his own job puts the country at risk.