Trump’s pick for CIA Director Mike Pompeo praised former CIA Director John Brennan as a “devoted patriot” in a message to agency employees, which is a sentiment far removed from Trump’s previous remarks on Brennan.
In a move reminiscent of Secretary of Defense James Mattis, specifically his conciliatory gesture to the intelligence community in his first official statement, Pompeo gave full respect to former CIA chief John Brennan, despite Brennan’s numerous run-ins with Trump.
“I am humbled by having been entrusted with this post, and I feel deeply privileged to be given the opportunity to serve with you. Likewise, I am mindful that I follow the directorship of a distinguished CIA veteran, consummate intelligence officer, and devoted patriot,” Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo noted that in his preparation for accepting the position as chief of the CIA, he had met with almost every living former director.
“Each of these leaders has been so kind to help me prepare for this day,” Pompeo added. “They love you. They know your strength comes from many sources: a legendary can-do spirit, sophisticated tradecraft, and rock-solid integrity, among others.”
Pompeo’s statement is perhaps an additional attempt to put an end to the supposed feud between Trump and the intelligence community. In his recent visit to CIA headquarters Saturday, Trump delivered a speech meant to smooth over some of the conflict generated in the last several weeks relating to a dossier of unverified allegations published by BuzzFeed about Trump’s alleged scandalous activities in Russia. Trump speculated publicly just over a week ago about whether Brennan himself might be responsible for the leaks.
In his speech Saturday, Trump emphasized that he was behind agency employees “1,000 percent” and blasted the media for creating the appearance of a conflict. But Trump’s subsequent political remarks in the speech, namely questioning how many people in the room voted for him, angered CIA officers and also Brennan.
“Former CIA Director Brennan is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes,” Brennan’s former deputy chief of staff Nick Shapiro said. “Brennan says that Trump should be ashamed of himself.”
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