On Wednesday evening, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer sent a letter to Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence, calling President Trump’s criticism of the congressional testimony by Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel “extraordinarily inappropriate”, Politico reports.
Schumer went on to suggest that Coats, Haspel, and FBI Director Chris Wray “insist on an immediate meeting” to educate the president and “impress upon him how critically important” a unified stance on national security threats is for the nation.
As The News Blender reported, national security leaders testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday in an annual threat assessment briefing. DNI Coats contradicted President Trump’s national security stances on a variety of fronts.
He testified that, “China and Russia are working together to challenge U.S. leadership in the world, undermine democratic governments and gain military and technological superiority over the United States”. Coats also stated that the intelligence community, contrary to the president’s position, “has determined North Korea is not on a path to surrendering its weapons”.
The DNI’s testimony that thousands of ISIS fighters will continued to “stoke violence” and that “America First” trade policies have “strained traditional alliances” also was at odds with the president’s public stances.
On Wednesday morning, President Trump’s tweets about his disapproval of the testimony given by the intelligence chiefs prompted the harsh letter from Senator Schumer.
Why It Matters
When Senator Schumer stated in his letter that the president’s “ill-advised and unwarranted comments” cannot be allowed to stand because that criticism will “undermine public confidence in the US government’s efforts to protect our national security and preserve US power and influence abroad”, he is correct.
Schumer may be a Democrat and wrong on many policies, but he is correct about this. The level of public criticism of intelligence leaders by the President of the United State is unprecedented and dangerous. Dictators and despots, the very ones President Trump has enthusiastically praised, are watching and laughing as our intelligence community is insulted by the Commander-in-Chief.
It may be beating a dead horse to say so, but if a Democratic president was publicly at odds with his IC chiefs in the way Trump is, Republicans would be demanding his impeachment.
If the Republican leadership can’t, or won’t, demand their president understand the necessity of respecting the meticulous work the intelligence community does, then it is up to the Democratic leadership to demand the President of the United States be educated and assisted in honoring the oath he took when he was sworn in.
The depth of the political tribalism the Republicans are currently engaging in is not just a mortal danger to the future of their own party, but to the nation itself.
Who in the Republican party will step up to defend those in the intelligence community who protect us? Or will they all leave it up to the Democrats?