Of the potential dangers stemming from a Donald Trump presidency, the most alarming by far is the risk his mental instability poses to national security, Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote.
It is not clear whether he does not comprehend what he is told, does not remember it, does not want to understand or chooses to deliberately mislead. Whatever the cause, the effect is dangerous and deeply harmful.
President Trump continues to reject the judgments of U.S. spy agencies on major foreign policy fronts, creating a dynamic in which intelligence analysts frequently see troubling gaps between the president’s public statements and the facts laid out for him in daily briefings on world events, current and former U.S. officials said.
The pattern has become a source of mounting concern to senior U.S. intelligence officials who had hoped that Trump, as he settled into office, would become less hostile to their work and more receptive to the information that spy agencies spend billions of dollars and sometimes put lives at risk gathering.
From North Korea to Iran to Saudi Arabia, “Trump is operating in an a-factual world, making decisions based on ignorance, impulsiveness and/or disguised self-interest,” Rubin wrote.
Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI official, tells me, “The president is engaging in willful ignorance and placing our nation’s security in peril.” He continues, “Claiming North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat or that the Saudi crown prince is not accountable for a murder may bolster Trump’s false narrative, but in the end, it erodes our standing in the world, gives license to our enemies and diminishes our intelligence professionals.”
Former FBI special agent Clint Watts agrees. “It’s dangerous for the country, because the president is making decisions with insufficient understanding of situations. Whether it’s Russia, Saudi Arabia, China or North Korea, he’s being outplayed in fights he picks because he doesn’t do his homework,” he says. "President Trump lives in a world of his own choosing that is devoid of reality. He has the best intelligence community in the world and it’s not helping inform any of our policies.” He adds, “It’s also demoralizing for those risking their lives at times to get threat intelligence.”
There might well come a day when “the reality gap between Donald Trump‘s personal psychosis” and that which the intelligence community knows to be true will constitute “the true national security threat to the nation,” former intelligence officer Malcolm Nance recently observed.
Rubin holds both Trump and Republicans to blame:
In putting the country in this predicament, Republicans and Trump’s enablers in the White House and Cabinet bear a great deal of responsibility. The Faustian bargain they made — support and defend an unfit president to get tax cuts or judges or whatever — was a moral calamity. We should pray it does not become a national security one as well.