Donald Trump has a lot of “catching up to do,” according to a senior intelligence official.
The president–elect is apparently reluctant to take up the responsibilities that come with being the commander-in-chief of the world’s most powerful nation. Trump has received only two classified briefings since his election victory more than two weeks ago., which is a significantly lower number than his predecessors.
The president-elect was given his first briefing within days after his election. He participated in the second in New York before leaving for Thanksgiving. He has declined any other calls for briefings.
In comparison, Vice President-elect Mike Pence has reportedly received briefing almost every day since the elections.
Officials in Trump’s transition team have dismissed the concerns, saying the president-elect has been preoccupied with forming his cabinet, meeting with world leaders and filling key national security posts, which they claim is his “No. 1 priority.”
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Trump is actually taking his responsibilities very seriously.
“Look how many leaders he’s met with, how many phone calls he’s done, positions he’s filled. People who are being critical need to get a life,” he said.
However, others think it is just another indication of Trump’s indifference, a president-elect who largely showed disdain for the country’s intelligence agencies and their capabilities during his campaign run.
Michael Morell, former deputy CIA director, said Trump’s last three predecessors made use of the briefings to "to literally study the national security issues that they would be facing and the world leaders with whom they would be interacting with as president."
“The president-elect is missing out on a golden opportunity to learn about the national security threats and challenges facing our nation,” said Morell, who was a Hillary Clinton supporter.
“Knowledge that would be extremely valuable to have when he takes the oath of office and when he steps into the Situation Room for the first time," he added.
Michael V. Hayden, who was the CIA director when Obama was elected, also criticized Trump’s behavior and compared him to Obama, who not only took part in regular briefings but also took dove deep on key subjects including the campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan and Iran’s nuclear program.