Two influential Republican senators on Sunday admonished President Trump for squabbling with his top intelligence officials – with one calling it “troubling to all of us.”
“There’s an awful lot, there’s so much tradition, and history and complexity to some of these foreign policy issues, you have to rely on people who have been working these issues for decades,” Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said on “Fox News Sunday.”
“It’s just imperative that you actually listen to, for example, the CIA chief, the director of national intelligence,” Johnson, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, continued. “These people have the real knowledge and you have to listen to them.”
Sen. Richard Shelby, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, agreed that the president must respect the experience of his intelligence chiefs.
“These are professional people. The president’s briefed every day on it. He’s not an intelligence officer. None of us are. But they – the people on the front lines, the people who analyze who gather and disseminate intelligence information to our higher-ups – we should respect them,” Shelby said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“It’s troubling to all of us but I think there’s got to be real good communications between the president and the director of the CIA and the director of national intelligence,” Shelby of Alabama added.
Trump was blasted for dismissing the testimony of FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and suggesting in a tweet that they “should go back to school.”
Testifying to Congress last week, they predicted the Islamic State would reconstitute itself if US forces leave Syria, noted Iran is abiding by a 2015 nuclear deal that Trump withdrew from last year and agreed that North Korea would not denuclearize – positions contrary to Trump’s claims.
After meeting with his intelligence officials last Thursday, Trump said they told him their remarks at the hearing were “mischaracterized by the media” – even though their testimony was aired live.