This Is How Trump’s NatSec Aides Get Him To Pay Attention To His Briefings

Ron Sachs/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

It appears that four months into his presidency, Donald Trump hasn’t developed any keener of an interest in his daily national security briefings.

According to a report published Wednesday by Reuters, Trump is more likely to read national security briefing materials if his name is mentioned in as many paragraphs as possible.

Unnamed officials who have briefed the President and others familiar with his learning processes told the publication that Trump still prefers one-page memos and visual aids.

One unnamed source told Reuters that since Trump “keeps reading if he’s mentioned” in briefing materials, officials on the National Security Council have learned to insert the President’s name into “as many paragraphs as we can.”

The New York Times had reported a day earlier that three anonymous administration officials agreed they couldn’t publicly offer the most honest defense of Trump’s disclosure of highly classified information during a meeting with top Russian diplomats in the Oval Office: that he is simply too ignorant of — and uninterested in — how the intelligence in his briefings is gathered to divulge it on purpose.

That slapdash admission adds dimension to Trump’s Tuesday tweet in which he copped to sharing “facts” with the Russian diplomats.

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster offered a similar, albeit more flattering, defense of Trump from the White House briefing room on Wednesday.

“The President wasn’t even aware where this information came from,” McMaster said. “He wasn’t briefed on the source or method of the information either.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK