Is Trump Punishing Former Officials For Not Being 'Nice' To Him?

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President Donald Trump may try to revoke several former officials' security clearances. But his tweet on Tuesday suggested being "nice" to him could help.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper speaks into a microphone.

Is President Donald Trump trying to tell us something? In a tweet he made Tuesday morning, Trump seemed to say that he removed former CIA Director John Brennan’s security clearance in part because he wasn’t “nice” to the president.

Trump praised comments made by former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who said Brennan’s harsh criticisms of the president “have become an issue in and of itself.”

Responding to these words from Clapper, Trump sent out a tweet to rhetorically ask whether the former head of DNI was trying to be nice in order to keep his own security clearance.

“Even James Clapper has admonished John Brennan for having gone totally off the rails,” Trump wrote. “Maybe Clapper is being nice to me so he doesn’t lose his Security Clearance for lying to Congress!”

Trump said he revoked Brennan’s security clearance last week due to his lying to Congress, as well as his criticisms of the president becoming an issue of national security.

But is Trump also going after individuals who are merely being critical of his leadership style? His suggestion that Clapper trying to be “nice” to him alludes to as much.

Other individuals whom Trump is considering revoking security clearances for — including former FBI Director James Comey, former President Barack Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, and former deputy Attorney General Sally Yates — have all admonished Trump’s many egregious gaffes and initiatives that have gone against their former agencies’ policies in the past.

Clapper is among those whom Trump is considering revoking security clearance for. Clapper has, in fact, been critical of the president in the past, stating that he believed Trump was being manipulated by Russia President Vladimir Putin, for example.

But him being “nice” seems to have made the president reconsider, at least briefly, the punishment of revoking his clearance, which should set off alarm bells for anyone paying close attention to this whole ordeal. Some people have even speculated that Trump is treating security clearances more like a reality show prize than a true distinctive honor.

Americans should ask the question: Is Trump prone to punish others who don’t speak highly of him? Revoking security clearances is one thing, but how far will it go on, beyond these individuals? If that’s what is going on here, then it’s a grave misuse and abuse of the office that Trump currently holds.

Constituents across the nation, and lawmakers in Washington, should not allow this kind of behavior to go unchallenged. Americans deserve a president who can handle criticism from time-to-time, without resorting to retributive actions against others.

Any president who acts out of frustration and pettiness is not looking out for our nation’s interests. More likely, he’s simply looking out for himself.

Banner/thumbnail image credit: Leah Millis/Reuters

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