Donald Trump caused commotion in the intelligence community shortly after he won the election when he dismissed the daily intelligence briefing as repetitive and confidently said he didn’t need to receive the same information every day of his presidency.
“I don’t have to be told — you know, I’m like, a smart person — I don’t have to be told the same thing and the same words every single day for the next eight years,” the then president-elect told Chris Wallace. “It could be eight years — but eight years. I don’t need that. But I do say, ‘If something should change, let us know.'”
“I mean, there will be some very fluid situations,” he added. “I’ll be there not every day, but more than that. But I don’t need to be told, Chris, the same thing every day, every morning, same words, ‘Sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.’ I don’t need that.”
Presidents have received the daily intelligence briefing — often referred to as the “PDB” — for the better part of 50 years. It is a chance for them to learn more about key international developments and keep tabs on intelligence operations while getting the chance to ask questions from the intelligence community.
Briefing patterns have differed depending on the president. Barack Obama bypassed the in-person briefing most days and instead usually chose to read his on a tablet. George W. Bush received it in person a reported six days a week. According to John Helgerson, Richard Nixon received his in the morning through a memorandum crafted by his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, which he revisited when he had time throughout the day.
Trump receives his briefing in person daily.
When the intelligence briefing was missing from the president’s schedule for five days during his first two weeks in office, press secretary Sean Spicer confirmed that he was receiving it, but did not explain why it was on his schedule certain days and not others.
The PDB has appeared on Trump’s schedule almost every day since, including eight out of the last 11 weekdays.
Last week, Trump launched a missile strike on a Syrian airbase after a chemical attack in the country left more than 80 people dead. Days later, the U.S. military dropped the “mother of all bombs” on an ISIS cave complex in Afghanistan.
The intelligence briefing was on Trump’s schedule both of those days.
The briefings are increasingly relevant now that there is a growing threat of war with North Korea. Visiting Seoul Monday, Vice President Mike Pence issued a blunt warning instructing North Korea not to test Trump’s resolve.
“Just in the past two weeks, the world witnessed the strength and resolve of our new president in actions taken in Syria and Afghanistan,” Pence said in a statement alongside South Korea’s acting president Hwang Kyo-ahn. “North Korea would do well not to test his resolve — or the strength of the armed forces of the United States in this region.” (RELATED: Pence Warns North Korea By Reminding Them What The US Did In Syria And Afghanistan)
The intelligence briefing is on the president’s schedule Tuesday.