According to the New York Times, President Donald Trump is unable to keep his attention during intelligence briefings. In an attempt to keep him interested, intelligence officials have to explain international relations in terms of ‘winning and losing’ economically.
Trump frequently asks the same questions over and over again as if he cannot remember what he had just discussed. He has also shown a growing disinterest in terrorism and terrorist plots.
The Times said officials do not criticize the president's economic focus but "question whether those interests are crowding out intelligence on threats like terrorism and the maneuvers of traditional adversaries, developments with foreign militaries or geopolitical events with international implications."
Trump finds information regarding secondary foreign officials a bit too boring, former officials said, preferring instead to hear about the leaders of countries.
One leader he has taken particular interest in is German Chancellor Angela Merkel, questioning why she will not "cut a deal with him on military spending despite his advisers’ explanation that the German government’s coalition agreement constrains Ms. Merkel’s ability to increase defense funding."
The president also remains confused by Germany's decision to allow Russia's gas pipeline to move forward if the country is truly worried about Russian aggression.
Though intelligence officials must always adapt their briefing style to meet the needs of each individual president, the Times noted that Trump presents the intelligence community with a unique challenge in that he "views the intelligence agencies with deep skepticism."
Trump has not only blasted his intelligence officials publicly but also complains about them in private, according to the Times' sources.
One former administration official said the president has complained after national security briefings that, “My generals don’t understand business."