Trump’s unhinged remarks to the CIA

Yesterday, one day after their inauguration, Vice-Pr*s*d*nt Pence and Pr*s*d*nt Trump addressed the CIA at their headquarters in Langley, perhaps to assure them that the new administration was on board with them. (Trump had been critical of our intelligence agencies during the campaign.)

Politico has posted the full text of both men’s remarks to the CIA, and you should read it if a.) you need confirmation of how clueless Trump is (Pence’s words were pretty tame) or b.) you want a good laugh. I’d use the word “insane,” but that’s considered ableist.

For what we see here is nothing more than a “Trump mind dump.” It’s as if he hadn’t prepared anything, was slightly stoned, and just decided to talk as if he were on a reality show. Not only that, but once again he decided to go after the press. His target was Time Magazine, which had apparently criticized him for removing a bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the Oval Office. Trump says that was untrue, but why the hell did he even bring it up (as well as his general dislike of the media) at a CIA briefing?

I’ll give just two excerpts from The Donald’s remarks. The first refers to Representative Mike Pompeo (a Republican from Kansas), whom Trump has nominated to be head of the CIA. Pompeo, by the way, has told Congress that, if confirmed, he would consider bringing back “enhanced interrogation methods (aka torture), including waterboarding.

Note that the speech is punctuated with laughter, which, given the fact that it wasn’t funny, means that the CIA is full of either Trumpies or toadies.

Here are Trump’s words to the CIA:

But Mike [Pompeo] was literally — I had a group of — what, we had nine different people? Now, I must say, I didn’t mind cancelling eight appointments. That wasn’t the worst thing in the world. But I met him and I said, he is so good. Number one in his class at West Point.

Now, I know a lot about West Point. I’m a person that very strongly believes in academics. In fact, every time I say I had an uncle who was a great professor at MIT for 35 years who did a fantastic job in so many different ways, academically — was an academic genius — and then they say, is Donald Trump an intellectual? Trust me, I’m like a smart persona. (Laughter.) And I recognized immediately. So he was number one at West Point, and he was also essentially number one at Harvard Law School. And then he decided to go into the military. And he ran for Congress. And everything he’s done has been a homerun. People like him, but much more importantly to me, everybody respects him. And when I told Paul Ryan that I wanted to do this, I would say he may be the only person that was not totally thrilled — right, Mike? Because he said, I don’t want to lose this guy.

But you will be getting a total star. You’re going to be getting a total gem. He’s a gem. (Applause.) You’ll see. You’ll see. And many of you know him anyway. But you’re going to see. And again, we have some great people going in. But this one is something — is going to be very special, because this is one, if I had to name the most important, this would certainly be perhaps — you know, in certain ways, you could say my most important. You do the job like everybody in this room is capable of doing. And the generals are wonderful, and the fighting is wonderful. But if you give them the right direction, boy, does the fighting become easier. And, boy, do we lose so fewer lives, and win so quickly. And that’s what we have to do. We have to start winning again.

If I bolded everything that was unseemly in that statement (“the fighting is wonderful,” etc.), it would all be bolded. But wait–there’s more! This followed the remarks above:

You know, when I was young and when I was — of course, I feel young. I feel like I’m 30, 35, 39. (Laughter.) Somebody said, are you young? I said, I think I’m young. You know, I was stopping — when we were in the final month of that campaign, four stops, five stops, seven stops. Speeches, speeches, in front of 25,000, 30,000 people, 15,000, 19,000 from stop to stop. I feel young.

After that one expects to hear something like, “I’ll be here all week, folks. Be sure to try the roast beef!”

Then he takes on the media. Why on earth did he add stuff like this? Read it carefully, as it’s larded with narcissism.

And the reason you’re my first stop is that, as you know, I have a running war with the media. They are among the most dishonest human beings on Earth. (Laughter and applause.) And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And I just want to let you know, the reason you’re the number-one stop is exactly the opposite — exactly. And they understand that, too.

. . . We had another one [a supposed lie by the media] yesterday, which was interesting. In the Oval Office there’s a beautiful statue of Dr. Martin Luther King. And I also happen to like Churchill, Winston Churchill. I think most of us like Churchill. He doesn’t come from our country, but had a lot to do with it. Helped us; real ally. And, as you know, the Churchill statue was taken out — the bust. And as you also probably have read, the Prime Minister is coming over to our country very shortly. And they wanted to know whether or not I’d like it back. I say, absolutely, but in the meantime we have a bust of Churchill.

So a reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on there cover, like, 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time Magazine. Like, if Tom Brady is on the cover, it’s one time, because he won the Super Bowl or something, right? (Laughter.) I’ve been on it for 15 times this year. I don’t think that’s a record, Mike, that can ever be broken. Do you agree with that? What do you think?

But I will say that they said — it was very interesting — that Donald Trump took down the bust, the statue, of Dr. Martin Luther King. And it was right there. But there was a cameraman that was in front of it. (Laughter.) So Zeke — Zeke from Time Magazine writes a story about I took down. I would never do that because I have great respect for Dr. Martin Luther King. But this is how dishonest the media is.

Now, the big story — the retraction was, like, where? Was it a line? Or do they even bother putting it in? So I only like to say that because I love honesty. I like honest reporting.

Certainly he does, so long as the “honesty” is favorable to himself.


h/t: Matthew Cobb


  1. Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Apparently the laughing toadies were Trump’s men, not the CIA.

    Who has appeared most often on the cover of ‘Time’? Nixon.

    • Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      There’s also such a thing as nervous and embarrassed laughter.

      • Derek Freyberg
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

        I think that’s a lot more likely for the CIA employees at the event than “Trumpies or toadies”; which is not to say that the orange baboon didn’t bring a few of them along to pack the audience – as it seems he and his press secretary did/intend to do in press conferences.

        • Ryan
          Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

          Several reporters have suggested that he did indeed bring his own entourage, and that they where generally the people laughing and clapping. Sorry don’t have the links on hand

          • Sue Sommers
            Posted January 24, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

            It crossed my mind while watching that someone inserted a laugh track.

    • ploubere
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Out of about 1,500 CIA employees there only a few dozen showed up for this. I doubt he’s very popular there.

      • Steve
        Posted January 23, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

        I’m sure that (somewhere) there are photos of the hundreds and thousands who attended, just like inauguration day!

  2. Phil_Torres
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    As for the TIME reporter, here’s what happened:

    “Miller initially reported the King bust was missing. But minutes later he sent out a correction, saying the bust had been obscured by a door and a Secret Service agent.

    He then sent out more than a dozen tweets correcting the mistake and apologizing, including one directed to White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who had called it “a reminder of the media danger of tweet first check facts later.”

    “This is on me, not my colleagues. I’ve been doing everything I can to fix my error. My apologies,” Miller tweeted at Spicer.”

  3. Art
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    “And the generals are wonderful, and the fighting is wonderful.”

    When I was in Vietnam, the generals were idiots, and the fighting sucked. I guess that has all changed now.

    • Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Trump learned a lot from his time in the military leading our troops to one beautiful victory after another. Oh, wait…….

      Great comment by Art.

    • yiamcross
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      The fighting is always wonderful when ot’s not you or yours who have to do it. He’s got that in common with the politicians and elitists he claims to hate so much.

    • Jim Knight
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Yea, the generals were idiots for the most part, especially Westmoreland, and the fighting REALLY sucked! Trump tells every vet just how much he knows about the military when he says something as stupid as that.

      I don’t know about the generals these days, but I’ll bet the coombat still sucks…!

      • veroxitatis
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        Trump appears to have forgotten that Gen. Mattis disagrees with Pompeo that waterboarding is an appropriate or useful tactic.

    • eric
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Trump is using the George Carlin method of opining; the further away he is from war, the more wonderful it is.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    At this rate, PCC(E) will need to hire a separate team just to cover the US Presidency – there’s too much and already more.

    In the meantime, a Tw##t by Garry Kasparov:

    “Obvious lies serve a purpose for an administration. They watch who challenges them and who loyally repeats them. The people must watch, too.”

    • Ann German
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      When watching all of this real time enactment of the Emperor’s New Clothes, I am heartened by the fact that some of Nixon’s confederates were actually prosecuted, convicted and went to jail for conspiring with Tricky Dick. These enablers, like Spicer, will come to rue the day they covered for this narcissist pussygrabber.

      • Ann German
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        In his “press conference” yesterday, Sean Spicer said (re: the numbers of folks at pussygrabber’s inaug.) “the grass elminated the visual,” thus confirming that they’re all stoned . . . .

    • Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      I was just about to post that on the free thread. I think it can’t be repeated often enough.

      Two people I’ve found most insightful and usually one step ahead of Trump have been Kasparov and Anne Applebaum — both highly knowledgeable about Russian totalitarianism.

  5. Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Trump is treating war as less than a video game

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Just-departed CIA head John Brennan has scraped some skin off of Trump’s ass over these remarks.

    • Walt Jones
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      From that article:
      Trump “meandered through a variety of other topics unrelated to intelligence.”

      What else is new.

  7. Chris Lang
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s not surprising that Trump’s performance at the CIA did not go over very well at the agency:

    >Mr. Trump’s appearance at the C.I.A. touched off a fierce reaction from some current and former intelligence officials.

    >Nick Shapiro, who served as chief of staff to John O. Brennan, who resigned Friday as the C.I.A. director, said Mr. Brennan “is deeply saddened and angered at Donald Trump’s despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of C.I.A.’s Memorial Wall of Agency heroes.”

  8. serendipitydawg
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    The entirity of the administration’s representatives who appear on UK news seem fixated on fake news, whether it be DT’s comments on the CIA (faked by the media, readily available Tw**ts not withstanding) or the photos comparing crowds (totally not real, this was the best attended inauguration ever – direct quote, can’t remember whose but was on the 18:00 BBC news).

    Wasn’t it DT who was fixated on President Obama’s country of birth? I guess the next 4 (hopefully) years are going to be a case of truth being whatever the Donald announces it to be.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s as if he hadn’t prepared anything, was slightly stoned, and just decided to talk as if he were on a reality show.

    The drunken-wedding-toast style of national public discourse.

    Demosthenes, he’s not.

    • Robert Bray
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      He needs to put his marbles in his mouth and practice.

      • Sarah
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        You’re assuming he has all his marbles.

        • Robert Bray
          Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

          I was crediting him with two.

          • Sarah
            Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            Don’t tell me he’s bought the Elgin Marbles now!

            • Robert Bray
              Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

              No, these two he was born with. They hardened into little marbles later in life.

              • Sarah
                Posted January 23, 2017 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

                I’m more worried about the functioning of the organ inside his skull.

    • Larry
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      I think he and Sarah Palin took the same correspondence course from a rogue juvenile Toastmaster’s group. Both have a striking inability to form coherent thoughts when they string words together.

    • Kevin
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

      It’s as if he hadn’t prepared anything, was slightly stoned, and just decided to talk as if he were on a reality show.

      • Kevin
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

        That is Trump.

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    1) Kids wanting employment at McDonalds need to submit urine samples. So do big rig truck drivers. And Olympic athletes. Why in the HJHMFC are presidential candidates not required to do the same?

    2) Whoever that is is in the pic above yesterday first foisted palpably untrue assertions on the press re inaugural turnout. Then he would have us believe the Boss Tweet got a 5min standing ovation. I expect that’s untrue, too (haven’t had time to check yet and hadn’t read any of the text till just now), but if he did, it surely must have been to keep him from saying anything more.

  11. rickflick
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Good grief.

  12. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Trump reminds me of coke heads I have known.
    It would explain a great deal about his personality.

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Yup, just what I was thinking.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        There WAS all that sniffing…

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    “Now, I know a lot about West Point.”

    What Trump knows about military service is that he dodged it when he was eligible for the draft. Like Dick Cheney, Trump obtained five deferments, the last of them for a non-existent bone spur in his foot — or at least for a bone spur that never kept him from making his starting time for 18 holes at the country club, and which seems to have gone into miraculous remission the moment he was no longer eligible for the draft. (When questioned about it later, Trump couldn’t remember which foot had the spur.)

    I have so much more respect not just for those who served, but for somebody like Muhammed Ali who refused to be drafted, or for guys who actually went to prison for draft resistance, or for someone like Jerry who sought CO status, or for the guys who picked up and went to Canada — or even for Dubya, who at least served in the champagne unit of the air national guard — or, hell, even Bill Clinton who, Bubba-like, at least outsmarted his draft board. Donald Trump took the smarmy rich-kid’s way out of having his daddy to purchase a phony medical excuse from a shady physician.

    Takes a primo chicken-hawk to stand in front of a memorial for those who died serving their country and talk about how “wonderful” fighting is.

    Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori — at least for other people’s kids, huh Mister President?

  14. Mark R.
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink


  15. Claudia Baker
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Sometimes he refers to himself in the 3rd person; the ‘Royal We’ approach. Good grief.

    Churchill would not have given him the fucking time of day.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

      “At the tone, the time in Moscow will be …”

    • somer
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink


  16. Denise
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Now that saying something is insane will get you jumped on, I’m having a hard time expressing myself sometimes. Likewise with stupid. Some things are simply insane and some are simply stupid. I haven’t found any substitute words that are considered acceptable and still convey my meaning.

    Can we get through the next four years without using either word? I don’t see how.

  17. Merilee
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:03 pm | Permalink


  18. Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    My word, what a narcissistic buffoon.

    • Posted January 22, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. Does anyone know of a symptom of narcissistic personality disorder that our minority president does not display?

  19. M&S
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s almost 100% certain that Churchill would have though that Trump is a cretin.

    • veroxitatis
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

      And a quizically raised eyebrow from the always polite MacMillan. But Lord knows what he would have been saying in the Carlton Club and in other places!

  20. Posted January 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    I am afraid we have elected a self-absorbed, petulant man-child who is factless and doesn’t care ! No one truly knows his policies. Foreign governments are confused, and worried. He lies and flips constantly, “if you say it enough people will believe it” It is not a good sign for the U.S. and the world !

    • Frank Bath
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

      ‘If you are going to tell a lie tell a big one.’ Goebbels.
      The Donald tells monsters as a habit.

    • Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Right, Roger, and of course, millions of us KNEW that in the first week of his candidacy. Hell, I still talk to Trump supporters who say exactly this in so many words, indicating they know it and accept it, too–and DON’T CARE!

  21. keith cook +/-
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    One thing is for sure, paying attention to what he says is going to be different to what he actually does… let’s hope in a perverse way, it is very little.
    Just as in his campaign and election as President he may surprise us all… will it be good bad or otherwise? it’s hard to know with all the ‘noise’ he makes and the circus that follows him around.

    • somer
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      For decades he’s expressed admiration of dictators. His election campaign was abominable. His personal and business history is very unattractive. He has numerous business interests in countries with complicated relationships with the US which he has not distanced himself from and indeed bought many of them in the last year. His behaviour as President elect was abominable. He’s appointed a horror cabinet, except for Mattis. And his first few days as president are hardly propitious. I think we are all strapped in for the ride.

    • eric
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      Trump signed his first executive order a couple hours after being inaugurated. It throws ACA under the bus, directing HHS to delay or stop any part of the ACA that causes an “economic burden” to anyone.

      Its vague, impossible, and will likely send health care corporations running for the hills, because they hate legal uncertainty probably even more than a small profit margin.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted January 23, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        Where does the subsidy money come from? Every single citizen? I am suspecting that in essence, the highest tax brackets pay for it.

  22. Woof
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    It’s Sarah Palin’s word salad with a comb-over.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      Which raises the question, is Trump as dumb and ignorant as Sarah Palin? Probably not. More unpredictable? Almost certainly.

      But for all of you who think Trump is the worst thing that could possibly have happened – I think Sarah Palin would have been worse.


      • Woof
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

        I’d say that he’s slightly less “dumb” than Caribou Barbie. They both seem proud of what they don’t know.

        Meanwhile, one knows about shooting moose (“a m00se once bit my sister!”) and the other one is real good at bankruptcies.

        • Posted January 23, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          I personally don’t think of Trump as terribly stupid – just an incredible narcissist (in the ordinary sense, not the technical sense), so the resulting effect is President Dunning-Kruger Effect.

  23. Hempenstein
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    As far as the 5min ovation they would have us believe, you get the impression that these people think that Aldrich Ames is still with the Agency.

  24. veroxitatis
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    All hail the literate and coherent George W Bush.

  25. Posted January 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Trump had an uncle who was a professor at MIT, which of course establishes Trump’s intellectual credibility.

    • Kevin
      Posted January 22, 2017 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

      Orange chaos monkey vs. Semi-automatic Bible bumper.

      • Kevin
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

        Meant to be reply about Trump v Palin

    • Robert Bray
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      He used this same ‘good genes’ story at least once previously during the campaign. It was inappropriate and incoherent then as well. I recall a small group of friends and I, over pints, choosing one of us to read the paragraph aloud, dissolving into convulsive laughter, and achieving a minor catharsis.

      Now he is the president. We can no longer laugh, and the beer tastes a bit off.

  26. thegarlicks
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Sorry. That was supposed to be to my daughter. New mail came in just as I was clicking on her previous email, so the click went kablooey…

  27. nicky
    Posted January 22, 2017 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    I wonder, Alzheimer’s runs in the Trump family (as it does in my own, btw 😢). He’s 70 years old, about the time that Alzheimer’s kicks in (at least the classical ‘late onset’ form). Wandering away into side issues, not having a clear thread, contradicting himself within minutes, etc.
    Of course, one cannot really make a diagnosis from public statements, but his physician should take serious note.
    [And, on a side note, I suspected Ronald R had early Alzheimer’s, which was confirmed later].

    • Posted January 22, 2017 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

      Except he’s always been so. Early onset at maybe 20.

      • Merilee
        Posted January 22, 2017 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

        Beat me to it

      • nicky
        Posted January 23, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

        Was he? I know he was always kinda callous, but was he this unhinged?

    • eric
      Posted January 23, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Yeah but consider the likely outcome of that – either Pence is effectively running the country, or Trump’s children are. The first is far-right-wing bad. The second is anti-democracy bad.

      I don’t want him to have Alzheimer’s. I fear the result of that more than I fear him.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 23, 2017 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        I suppose the relevant question in the second case (in practical terms rather than theoretical/constitutional ones) is, how bad (or good) are Trump’s kids? They don’t necessarily have to be as daffy as their father.


        • Woof
          Posted January 23, 2017 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          As mentioned on the Professional Left podcast of a couple of months ago, “the ass doesn’t fall far from the hole”.

          Just think of them as Uday and Qusay.

    • Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      That physician of his is probably crazier than tRump himself. I’m not sure he even takes “serious notes.”

  28. Mike
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The man shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office, he’s unstable.

  29. Posted January 23, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    No wonder he’s a fan of the abbreviating Twitter. How many coherent thoughts do we see right there?! Egads.

  30. merilee
    Posted January 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Must share this:

  31. Posted January 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  32. Posted January 24, 2017 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    These are the words of a petulant man-child. Not worthy of a statesman. It’s embarrassing.

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