Trump Has Clapper Worried About Nukes; 2 Reactions

Former national intelligence director leery of president's temper after Phoenix rally
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 23, 2017 10:26 AM CDT
Former Intel Chief Worried About the Nuclear Codes
Former National Intelligence Director James Clapper testifies on Capitol Hill in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

President Trump's Tuesday night rally in Phoenix, during which he unleashed a familiar rant about the media, has brought out his critics in force. But perhaps the critic drawing the most attention is former National Intelligence Director James Clapper. "I really question his ability to be—his fitness to be—in this office," Clapper said in an appearance on CNN. He described the president's speech as "downright scary and disturbing" and brought up the fact that Trump has access to the nuclear codes. "In a fit of pique he decides to do something about Kim Jong Un, there's actually very little to stop him," Clapper said. "There's very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary." Two reactions:

  • 'Unprecedented': Clapper, who has served presidents from both parties, has previously been critical of Trump, but his latest comments are "extraordinary and perhaps unprecedented," given his credentials in the intel community, writes Rachel Chason in the Washington Post.
  • Oh, come on: Clapper's criticism is "quite an indictment from a man who repeatedly misled Congress and the American people about the extent of domestic surveillance taking place in the US until the theft of evidence from the NSA exposed him," writes Ed Morrissey at Hot Air. Trump got elected as an outsider "precisely because of the failure of the 'normals' like Clapper on the inside of government to be truthful, honest, and law-abiding."
(More James Clapper stories.)

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