Panetta: Trump ‘Forgot That He Was President’ In Off-The-Rails Speech At CIA

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Former CIA director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Monday that he was “concerned” about President Donald Trump’s Saturday remarks at the CIA and suggested that Trump should spend less time “embellishing himself.”

“I was concerned about the remarks that he made at the CIA in front of that wall,” Panetta said in an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

He described the CIA Memorial Wall that Trump spoke in front of, which commemorates employees killed in the line of duty, as “hallowed ground” and compared it to Arlington Cemetery.

“I think to go off and start talking about the press, talking about how many people were at the inauguration, I just think that frankly that was not appropriate,” Panetta said. “I just think that the President needs to understand that he is president of the United States now. He’s not just a candidate. He doesn’t have to spend time embellishing himself or what he did.”

In his Saturday remarks at the agency, which were intended to thank the intelligence community, Trump talked about himself, his inauguration crowd, the dishonest media and how great his party was.

On Saturday night, former CIA Director John Brennan’s spokesman wrote that he was “deeply saddened and angered at Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement.”

Top Trump staffers were quick to fire back on Sunday, suggesting that Brennan was “bitter” and saying he “sounded like a partisan political hack.”

Panetta said Monday that he would express “some of the same concerns” as Brennan.

“I just got the impression when he was speaking there that somehow he forgot that he was president of the United States,” Panetta said. “That was not the appropriate place to start whining about what was happening in terms of numbers at the inauguration and what have you.”

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  1. ""While President Donald Trump brags about how hundreds of CIA employees gave him standing ovations during his Saturday visit, it should not have come as a surprise.

    He never told them to sit.

    The 400 agency staffers were standing when Trump entered the room, were still standing when he came to the lectern, and then remained standing through his 15 minutes of remarks.

    “You know that the CIA will not sit down until the president tells them to,” said Yael Eisenstat, who spent more than half of her 13-year career in counterterrorism and intelligence work at the agency.

    On Sunday morning, Trump tweeted: “Had a great meeting at CIA Headquarters yesterday, packed house, paid great respect to Wall, long standing ovations, amazing people. WIN!”

    It’s unclear whether the new president understood that federal employees, regardless of the agency ― but particularly in national security fields ― will likely remain standing until he tells them otherwise. Military audiences, in the presence of their commander in chief, will absolutely remaining standing until instructed to sit.

    “I’m amazed by the fact that he doesn’t understand basic protocol,” said Rick Wilson, a former Pentagon staffer with a background in military intelligence. “There’s no Miss Manners in this group. There’s no one telling him, ‘Here’s what you need to do.’”

    Even more offensive to many in the intelligence world than Trump’s lack of understanding about protocol, though, was the content of his remarks ― a rambling, campaign-style speech that attacked the news media for their coverage of the inauguration, a boast about his own intellect, and a claim that almost everyone in the room had voted for him ― all of it while standing in front of a memorial wall honoring the 117 CIA agents who have died in the line of duty over the decades.

    “Unbelievable,” Wilson said. “It’s like going to do standup in Arlington Cemetery. I know how much that wall means to the people in the agency. I know how sacred that space is. It was a graceless display.”"

    From Huffington Post

  2. Avatar for nymund nymund says:

    We’ll have to cut Trump some slack. Being a lowly POTUS must seem so trivial next to his day time occupation as God-Emperor of the Known Universe!

  3. I’m trying to forget he’s president. You know, that guy with the nuclear codes!

  4. “I just got the impression when he was speaking there that somehow he forgot that he was president of the United States,” Panetta said.

    I just got the impression that he’s a dumb, classless hillbilly who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near the White House.

  5. Avatar for brd813 brd813 says:

    1, Get the press to hate you - check
    2, Get the intelligence community to hate you - check
    3, Let it be known how unhappy you are with the way you are treated - check
    4, Commit an illegal act - looks like the emoluments clause has been violated - check

    well he’s already gone 4 for 4 when does the impeachment start?

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