Trump’s distrust of intelligence briefings from communities like the CIA and FBI has been the controversy of note over the past few weeks, becoming more pointed in the days leading to the inauguration. In creating doubt and openly criticizing the credulity of the intelligence communities, and in trusting foreign governments over our own, Trump is starting his administration out on the foundation of deceit.
Trump doesn’t trust the intelligence community of his own country for some reason, and through his tweets and the public statements made during a recent press conference, has begun putting that doubt on display. For a reason unbeknownst to most, he places more faith in Russia’s willingness to tell the truth, saying that if they had found something negative in their cyber espionage, “they would’ve been glad to release it.” Yet if he’s telling the truth and really has had no personal dealings with Vladimir Putin and no interest in Russia, then how could he make this assertion with confidence? If he really doesn’t know Putin well, how can he be one hundred percent sure that our national security is completely safe with a country, notorious for its distaste in America. Trump puts our country in danger by putting blind faith in Russia. In slandering the capabilities of a federal community meant to keep us safe, he’s instead sowing doubt in the minds of people who hang on his every word, and delegitimizing the work this community does.
Trump displayed much of this disrespect in one of his most recent press conferences. The majority of questions asked by the journalists were in connection with Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential Election, which Trump chose to ignore to instead address the leaks he believed happened from our own intelligence community, blaming them for the further spread of fake news. He was asked if he received false intelligence reports, and instead of talking about reports that concern everyone else in this country, he instead continued to condemn the unfounded rumors released by Buzzfeed. He then went on to blame the DNC for being hacked into, saying “the Democratic National Committee was totally open to be hacked. They did a very poor job. They could’ve had hacking defense, which we had”, adding that Russia would be an asset in fighting ISIS.
From this response, it’s clear that journalists are not the only community Trump has no respect for. In this and in any other such case, vulnerability of an institution, a company, a nation, or even a person, does not warrant violation. An unarmed person being mugged on the street doesn’t deserve that fate because they were unarmed, and if it’s true that the DNC was as vulnerable as Trump claims, it does not, under any circumstances, excuse what Russia did. Trump claims he has no personal ties to Russia or Putin, yet he is willing to excuse a likely case of espionage against his own country because it did not hinder him in any way. How is that responsible leadership? How is decision making like that supposed to be trusted?
Trump’s public distrust in the intelligence community reveals his distaste for news that doesn’t benefit him, and that he should have the final say in what is real and what isn’t.
If anything was made clear by this press conference, it is the lack of respect Donald Trump has for information that doesn’t center around his positive achievements. With his distrust in our intelligence agencies and his flagrant disrespect for legitimate journalists trying to pin down the real answers, Trump has signaled an uphill battle with the truth going forward. All signs point to a near dictatorship if the media allows Trump to be the one with the final say on the truth, especially if this repression covers up any future Russian interference. For those who trust Donald Trump completely, the next four years should be no trouble going by what he’s espousing. But for those looking for a second opinion, and looking for honest sources who won’t try and warp the story, it won’t happen unless we demand it.