Following the revelation that Donald Trump is not receiving the Presidential Daily Brief that his predecessors used, but rather a re-branded version of his own devising, it turns out that Trump is paying scant attention even to that meager offering, in favor of promoting his family's business interests.
As we have previously noted, Donald Trump’s daily schedule does not contain the “Presidential Daily Briefing” that his predecessors received. But even during his so-called “daily intelligence briefing,” it seems he is barely paying attention. Actor and former Obama administration White House staffer Kal Penn flagged this disturbing bit of activity Wednesday morning:
White House schedule says his Daily Intelligence Briefing was at 10:30am. This was the tweet he sent at 10:51am. 😂 https://t.co/THnW6IQ8G9
— Kal Penn (@kalpenn) February 8, 2017
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
Nordstrom recently dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, and Trump appears to have been more interested in retribution for that slight than in whatever intelligence on which he was supposedly being briefed.
After we noted the change in language on Trump’s schedule, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was asked about it, and in his response, Spicer lied about the PDB (which is not “raw data,” and which he repeatedly erroneously referred to as the “PBD”), described the new briefing procedure, and most disturbingly, conspicuously failed to confirm that Trump even reads the PDB, let alone receives an oral briefing on it:
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) February 3, 2017
REPORTER: The President’s daily briefing has been renamed the daily intelligence briefing. Can you tell me how that differs at all from the PDB? Is the President receiving his intelligence briefing in writing or orally, and who is giving it to him?
SPICER: He did receive an intelligence briefing today. Congressman — or Director Pompeo was here. General Flynn, his national security advisor, his briefer. So he receives an intelligence briefing and the PBD every day.
REPORTER: Is there any sense that we should get out of the renaming of it from the PDB?
SPICER: I think it is a more comprehensive — again, I think — we went through this during the transition period, right? There is a difference between the raw intelligence and the analysis, and I think he is constantly updated by his national security team and other intelligence officials. But every single day, he does receive the PBD. And then I think, on top of that, he is receiving intelligence briefings from his team.
REPORTER: But the oral briefing does not necessarily happen every day?
SPICER: Well, I can get back to you on that. He does get the PBD every day and on a daily basis meets with his intelligence team, yes.
Trump’s abandonment of the PDB is disturbing on its own, but his disinterest in what intel briefings he does receive is a great deal more concerning, not to mention the use of his office to interfere with his family’s business interests.
Unfortunately, it is also quite in character for a “leader” who skipped his first military raid as Commander-in-Chief to compose petty personal attacks on Twitter.