WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that President Donald Trump has failed to pay attention to warnings from his own administration about threats posed by North Korea, Iran and other countries.
Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that intelligence officials were “courageous” in speaking “truth to power” by publicly contradicting Trump in congressional testimony this week.
“One dismaying factor of it all is that the president just doesn’t seem to have the attention span or the desire to hear what the intelligence community has been telling him,” Pelosi said, calling Trump’s comments “cause for concern.”
Trump lashed out at intelligence agency leaders Wednesday after they told Congress that North Korea is unlikely to dismantle its nuclear arsenal and that the Iran nuclear deal is working.
Trump tweeted that intelligence officials were “extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran.” He added: “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
Pelosi said Trump’s comments were “stunning.”
“It’s important for the Republicans in Congress to recognize they have to weigh in with the president to say, ‘You can’t act without knowledge,'” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s comments came as Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said it was “past time” for U.S. intelligence officials to stage an intervention with Trump.
In a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Schumer called Trump’s criticism of intelligence agencies “extraordinarily inappropriate” and said it could undermine public confidence in the government’s ability to protect Americans.
Schumer urged Coats and other officials to “educate” Trump about the facts and raw intelligence underlying threat assessments so the administration can speak “with a unified and accurate voice about national security threats.”
At a hearing Tuesday, Coats said intelligence information does not support the idea that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will eliminate his nuclear weapons.
Trump later insisted on Twitter that the U.S. relationship with North Korea “is the best it has ever been.” He pointed to the North’s halt in nuclear and missile tests, the return of some U.S. service members’ remains and the release of detained Americans as signs of progress.
U.S. intelligence agencies also said Iran continues to work with other parties to the nuclear deal it reached with the U.S. and other world powers. In doing so, they said, Iran has at least temporarily lessened the nuclear threat. In May 2018, Trump withdrew the U.S. from that accord, which he said would not deter Iran.
“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran,” Trump tweeted. “They are wrong!”