According to HP, President-elect Donald Trump on Sunday claimed that he does not need to attend daily intelligence briefings from U.S. officials because, as he put it, “I am, like, a smart person.”
Trump has reportedly been receiving the classified briefings only about once per week, when typically, presidents receive them six days per week.
“I get it when I need it,” he told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “I don’t need to be told … the same thing every day, every morning ― same words. ‘Sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.’ I don’t need that.”
But Trump used to complain about President Barack Obama skipping the briefings — in typical Trump fashion, tweeting his criticisms.
Priorities–while fundraising and campaigning on our dime, Obama has skipped over 50% of his intel briefings http://t.co/IhiIaKPa
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 11, 2012
Fact–Obama does not read his intelligence briefings nor does he get briefed in person by the CIA or DOD. Too busy I guess!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2014
Obama has missed 58% of his intelligence briefings. But our president does make 100% of his fundraisers.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2014
While the classified briefings are not mandatory, presidents usually opt to receive them regularly, as they provide important information about national security matters, particularly in areas of conflict. Trump’s dismissal of them is alarming, given his lack of foreign policy knowledge and experience, and his propensity to bypass government protocol.
Trump’s previous criticisms of Obama missing his briefings were greatly exaggerated. The claims originated from conservative columnists and then were picked up by right-wing sites, like Breitbart.
In reality, Obama does receive regular briefings, though he sometimes opts for just a written version, rather than an in-person briefing, as the White House told the Washington Post in 2012 in response to the claims. Other presidents have also chosen between reading briefing memos or receiving the briefing in person, depending on their management style.