When We Practice to Deceive

On Saturday, Donald Trump went to the CIA to try to patch up the relationship between him and the CIA after a series of tweets and calling the agency Nazis. But it appears Trump made the situation worse by bragging and preening before the CIA memorial honoring the men and women that gave their lives i the performance of their duty.

Worse yet, tone deaf Trump did not even mention the sacrifices of these officers and only spent a couple of minutes praising the agency and saying he wanted to work with them. The rest of the time he spent trying to tell the agents that he had more attendance at his inauguration than Obama did. The question to ask is “How did the lie go over at the CIA?”

According to CBS news:

U.S. government sources tell CBS News that there is a sense of unease in the intelligence community after President Trump’s visit to CIA headquarters on Saturday.

From Talking Points Memo:

A presidential speech that was intended to thank the intelligence community quickly went off the rails Saturday as Donald Trump talked about himself, his inauguration crowd, the dishonest media and how great his party was.

Here is the entire speech in all of its vainglorius, rambling, narcissism.

Here is the reaction of a former CIA agent to Donald Trump’s speech.

“I mean there’s a sense of outrage, but there’s also such a sense of sadness,” Mudd added. “Those aren’t stars, Wolf, those are people.”

“We have a president who has to talk about how many times he’s been on a Time Magazine cover in comparison to a football player,” Mudd later added. “He has to talk about how many people showed up at his inauguration. He’s got to talk about how many people in the CIA enjoyed his speech. That’s what we get to honor the people who lost their lives.”

And even more bizarrely, CBS news reports that Trump brought along a crew to clap and yell for him. According to CBS, these people sat in the front while the CIA agents and management sat behind them and were mostly silent.

Again from CBS:

Authorities are also pushing back against the perception that the CIA workforce was cheering for the president. They say the first three rows in front of the president were largely made up of supporters of Mr. Trump’s campaign.

An official with knowledge of the make-up of the crowd says that there were about 40 people who’d been invited by the Trump, Mike Pence and Rep. Mike Pompeo teams. The Trump team originally expected Rep. Pompeo, R-Kansas, to be sworn in during the event as the next CIA director, but the vote to confirm him was delayed on Friday by Senate  Democrats. Also sitting in the first several rows in front of the president was the CIA’s senior leadership, which was not cheering the remarks.

Yael Eisenstat is a former CIA officer and lost a good friend, Gregg Wenzel, who’s star is one of the 117 stars on the wall at CIA. Here’s what she had to say about Trump’s visit to CIA last Saturday:

In Mr. Trump’s rambling, 15-minute speech, he made only one reference to the memorial, saying, “The wall behind me is very, very special,” before pivoting to his familiar mode of narcissistic diatribe, peppered with the occasional misplaced joke.

He used my former agency to advance his own delusional vision of grandeur. When I see our president use a wall that symbolizes the ultimate sacrifice as a backdrop for his vanity, I cannot play down its seriousness. And when he borrows a line straight from a dictator’s playbook — “Probably almost everybody in this room voted for me, but I will not ask you to raise your hands if you did” — I cannot remain silent.

And concluding with:

In my years of service, and since, I never imagined that it would be the president himself who would denigrate our very institutions and those who serve faithfully. Mr. Trump’s speech on Saturday was, for me, a terrifying display of the dangerous way in which he will govern. It also showed his complete disregard for the very people we rely on to keep us safe, including my friend Gregg Wenzel.