Former CIA Director John Brennan said Sunday it’s “worrisome” that foreign leaders are able to manipulate President Donald Trump by playing on his ego and insecurities.
Brennan blasted Trump Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” for attempting to downplay the conclusions reached by the U.S. intelligence community, namely that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election for the purpose of backing Trump.
For Brennan, such flip-flops by Trump on whether Russia did or did not intervene are a function of foreign leaders playing Trump’s ego and insecurities.
“By not confronting the issue directly and not acknowledging to Putin that we know you are responsible for this, I think he’s giving Putin a pass,” Brennan said, according to The Washington Examiner. “It demonstrates to Mr. Putin that Donald Trump can be played by foreign leaders who are going to appeal to his ego and to try to play upon his insecurities which is very very worrisome from a national security standpoint.”
Brennan was joined on the show by former director of national intelligence James Clapper, who also agreed with Brennan’s assessment that Trump is vulnerable to switching his conclusions based on pomp and circumstance.
“He seems very susceptible to rolling out the red carpet and honor guards and all the trappings and pomp and circumstance that come with the office, and I think that appeals to him, and I think it plays to his insecurities,” Clapper said.
During Trump’s trip to Asia, Trump told reporters that he believed Putin was being sincere when he said at a meeting Saturday in Danang, Vietnam, that Russia had not interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Trump then held a news conference Sunday in Hanoi clarifying his earlier remarks after a major backlash followed.
“What I said is that I believe [Putin] believes that,” Trump stated Sunday.
Following comments from Brennan and Clapper, Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin came on CNN to protest their characterization of Trump.
“Those were the most ridiculous statements,” Mnuchin said. “President Trump is not getting played by anybody.”
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