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WASHINGTON — If you’ve ever had a boss who didn’t listen to anything you said but openly ridiculed you, then you know how the nation’s top intelligence chiefs feel.

Ann McFeatters

Ann McFeatters | Tribune News Service

Chilling. Terrifying. Frustrating. Doesn’t understand what the current U.S. national security issues are. Has put the United States at a disadvantage.

Those are some – just some – of the words used by Donald Trump’s own people who deal with him on a regular basis trying to brief him on North Korea, Iran, Russia, China, ISIS, etc.

Passive. Naive. Need to go back to school. That’s how Trump referred to his five top intelligence chiefs – whom he appointed, who basically disagreed with him on every major danger zone in Capitol Hill testimony last week.

Contrary to Trump’s insistence that North Korea will denuclearize, the CIA, the director of national intelligence and 15 other intelligence agencies concluded that North Korea has no intention of denuclearizing, is beefing up its nuclear research and is modernizing a missile site that could propel a rocket that could hit the U.S. They are worried that at the upcoming second summit with Kim Jong Un, Trump will give away even more than he did the first time, when he canceled military exercises with South Korea.

Trump now has had two private meetings with Russian leader Vladimir Putin that excluded U.S. government officials but included Putin aides. In one case Trump tore up his translator’s notes. Intelligence chiefs refused to discuss publicly why Trump wants to keep his own government from knowing what he is privately discussing with Russia.

After Trump pulled the U.S. out of the historic agreement with Iran designed to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, the intelligence chiefs said Iran is abiding by the agreement still in effect with five other nations. But they also said Iran is using the U.S. pullout to argue that America is untrustworthy.

The people who know Trump best say he is a feelings-not-facts guy. He makes national decisions based on gut instincts, doesn’t care about what he doesn’t know and is bored with being briefed, even on sensitive, complicated issues.

After talking with Turkey’s repressive president Tayyip Erdogan, Trump decided on the spur of the moment to listen to Erdogan and announce he would pull all 2,000 U.S. troops out of Syria against the will of all his advisers.

As if Russia’s cyber attacks on our electric grid and meddling in our elections aren’t grief enough, U.S. intelligence has concluded that Russia and China – our two biggest enemies – are working together to cause dissension and chaos in our democracy.

And Trump is still insisting he wants to pull the U.S. out of NATO, where mutual defense agreements have kept the peace in Europe for more than half a century. Article Five ensured that Europe came together to support the U.S. after 9/11.

Trump declared ISIS had been destroyed. No, said the nation’s intelligence chiefs, it is active with thousands of members.

“People risk their lives for the intelligence (Trump) just tosses aside on Twitter,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.


It gets worse. Trump tweeted that the killer temperatures in the Midwest, 60 below with the wind chill factor, were a record and asked sarcastically where global warming was when needed. Apparently, he missed fifth-grade science where the teacher explained that weather and climate are not the same and that climate change means extreme conditions get more extreme. For example, Chicago is literally freezing and Australia is literally burning. But Trump pulled the U.S. out of the global pledge to combat climate change.

But take a deep breath and try not to worry. After more than 8,000 outright lies and misleading statements in two years, Trump’s pointlessly, mindlessly loyal base is shrinking. Two-thirds of America can’t stand him.

Republican leaders are walking back Trump’s vow to leave Syria and Afghanistan abruptly. Scientists are pulling together to try to make policy leaders understand how serious climate change is. U.S. allies are appalled at the dangerous policies coming out of Washington but doing their best to hold the line against Trump.

Even bullies look pathetic and stupidly short-sighted after you’ve been around them long enough.

We must look on the bright side. Nothing lasts forever, not even Trump’s presidency, and, at the moment, the federal government is open!

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Tribune News Service columnist Ann McFeatters can be reached at


(15) comments


I'd be more relieved if he would spend 100% on executive time, then we could be assured he's totally doing nothing but tweeting & watching Fox fake fawning news on himself. He's less dangerous then.


DMoney is in denial. Trump is in way over his head.


Not much to argue over in this insightful column. It lays out the bare facts of what is transpiring in our White House, and still we have legions of supporters for this most dreadful of presidents. This has to change.


We're called Republicans. We support the platform. Are we to just become Democrats because of one president? I'll agree not a whole lot to argue regarding the column. The Iran deal was a joke but could have been handled differently.


Too bad you don't first regard yourself as American Dmoney. You don't have to become anything because of one president. If you do right by the country instead of a political party you could consider yourself a patriot. but that seems too big a step for some, and I'll never understand why.


I'm about as American as it gets, through action. I gave you a detailed reason of why I'm Republican/conservative on another post. To sum it up, I think and act from the inside out. Me, my family, my local community, my county, my state, my region, my country. If everyone did that, we could flourish with a bare bones federal government.


Dang, D! I have to tell you I had a tear in my eye after reading your 9pm post. I guess I lived my whole life backwards. I always made sure the business of the country was taken care of first, then the region, the state, the county, the city, the ward, the precinct and the PTA, when my kids were in school. After that, I finally had time to concentrate on my family, when I could find them, as they always complained I was never around or paid attention to them, the unpatriotic, un-American ingrates that they are. Sheesh!


Yes, D-bag, you support the platform, and that is the problem. It is a document that espouses greed, racism, sexism and homophobia on every page. And it perfectly reflects the corrupt creature you placed at the top of the ballot who is now dead-set on destroying the nation through his narcissism and willful ignorance. You should hang your head in shame.


agreed homey. Did you see the leak of Trump's daily schedule for the past few months. On average 60% of the time is "executive time". Meaning Trump can just do whatever he wants(probably watching fox news). It is unstructured time with less than fifteen percent of the time in meetings and briefings. No wonder he hasn't a clue on what is going on in the world. Shows his management style, or lack there of. Maybe its better he isn't so involved, he would just mess things up even further.


It's childish to believe every piece of slanderous fake news is thrown out there Martian. The idea the president starts work at 11 and sits around tweeting all day is outrageous and idiotic. You don't become president with those habits.


You are a man of faith, aren't you, D, when it comes to our president? A totally unfounded faith based only on what you want to believe, ignoring all evidence, which is ample and overwhelming.


Evidence?! An unnamed leak is evidence? I can't tolerate the stupidity of this fake news and those who try and perpetuate it. I don't care who it is. You people need to get ahold of yourselves--grown adults believing an unnamed, unverified source. It's incredible that the press has any credibility whatsoever anymore. Passing this garbage as "news".


unnamed sources is what brought out the truth in watergate and many other scandals D. Its one tool the media uses to dig at the truth. It doesn't always work of course, but when it does its a whopper. Many ex employees of Trump's administration basically say the same thing, he doesn't read, is lazy, little attention span, doesn't listen to his experts, makes decisions on a whim. Now you can stand up for Trump all you want, but you are just making yourself look foolish. And the leaked schedule just verifies what is already known about him.


D-bag continuously ignores facts that are inconvenient to his ill-informed opinion. Like Trump, anything that reflects badly on Individual One is instantly derided as "fake news," no matter how truthful.


Well, D, I always take reports based on unnamed sources with a grain of salt, but I never accept or reject them until more evidence comes in. That's what happened with all the allegations against Hillary in the last presidential race. They were discounted, but you continue to believe them. That is called consuming garbage and declaring it delicious. You discount the credibility of the press on the basis of what, my friend?

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