Donald Trump’s first official agency stop as president was a visit to CIA headquarters – a move we can interpret as an attempt to patch things up with the intelligence community – during which he delivered a speech to nearly 400 agency employees at the CIA Memorial Wall.
Trump reiterated the importance of eradicating radical Islamic terrorism. “We have to get rid of ISIS,” he said on Saturday. “We have no choice.” After a private meeting with top CIA officials, he said that the nation had been “restrained” by President Obama in the fight against ISIS.
Trump told the CIA to expect “so much backing,” and praised incoming CIA Director Mike Pompeo as “a total star.”
“Everything he’s done is a home run. People like him. People respect him,” said Trump.
Pompeo, who graduated from Harvard Law School and served in the Army before becoming a House Rep. for the state of Kansas, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate this Thursday.
Trump also used the opportunity to brag about his appearances in Time magazine and criticize the media – blaming them for the ‘rumor’ that he wasn’t playing nice with the intelligence community after he refused to believe that Russia played a role in the presidential elections.
“I have a running war with the media,” he said. “They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth.”
“Nobody feels stronger about the intelligence community than Donald Trump,” continued Trump. “I love you. I respect you. There’s nobody whom I respect more. We are going to start winning again.”
The unusual speech didn’t sit well with some, and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) says that the new president will need “to do more than use the agency memorial as a backdrop if he wants to earn the respect of the men and women who provide the best intelligence in the world.
Editor’s note: Hopefully Trump was able to make the point that the battles were against political appointees not the rank and file. The CIA has a lot of work to do in the next four years, these are some of the most intelligent and dedicated people in America.