Breaking News Emails
The president-elect has attended only a handful of intelligence briefings in the past month, and says it's no big deal — but Donald Trump and future White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon’s far-right-wing media arm once criticized President Obama for the same.
Trump opined on Twitter (stated as "Fact") in September 2014 that Obama "does not read his intelligence briefings..." and mocked the president as “Too busy I guess!”
Not only was Trump’s claim without merit, it was based on a dubious report from the conservative Government Accountability Institute — which was co-founded by Bannon.
The GAI report claimed that Obama had only attended 42 percent of his briefings between Jan. 20, 2009 and Sept. 29, 2014, pulling its data from the president’s public schedule as reported by WhiteHouse.gov and Politico.
The president-elect also shared a Washington Post op-ed written by former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen that used the GAI's report’s data and questioned Obama’s priorities.
The Washington Post’s fact-checkers later investigated Thiessen and the Government Accountability Institute’s claim and awarded it "Three Pinocchios" — meaning that it contained significant factual errors and/or obvious contradictions.
Nevertheless, Breitbart — the alt-right-leaning news outlet which offered Trump resounding support before and after the site's executive chair, Bannon, left to run Trump's campaign in August 2016 — called the report “alarming” in a 2014 article and said it signaled a “lack of engagement and interest” by the president.
The Breitbart piece noted that the Presidential Daily Briefings would "allow the Commander-in-Chief the chance for critical followup [sic], feedback, questions, and the challenging of flawed intelligence assumptions."
Now, two years later, Trump has changed his tune and told Chris Wallace in a “Fox News Sunday” interview that he does not need the daily briefings.
"You know, I'm, like, a smart person," the president-elect said. “I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years. Could be eight years — but eight years. I don't need that. But I do say, ‘If something should change, let us know.'"