Former CIA Director John Brennan has penned a scathing criticism of Donald Trump’s presidency, calling out Trump's divisiveness, his tendency to lie and his disrespect for the institutions that serve the American people. In the piece, published by the Washington Post, Brennan notes that he expressed a deep admiration for Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama when he served under them while working for the CIA, but writes that his esteem for the presidency "was dealt a serious blow" when Trump took office.
Brennan, who served as CIA Director under President Obama from March 2013 to January 2017, has been an outspoken critic of President Trump since he took office. Following Trump's visit to the CIA the day after he was inaugurated, Brennan called the president's speech to the agency "a despicable display of self-aggrandizement in front of CIA's Memorial Wall of Agency heroes."
He would go on to call Trump's travel ban "simplistic and misguided," express concern about his campaign's possible connections to Russia and worry that Trump's aides might at some point have to talk the president out of going to war. Most recently, Brennan criticized Trump’s demand for the Department of Justice to investigate whether the FBI spied on his campaign for political purposes, the final tweet of a weekend spent peddling conspiracy theories.
“Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error.”— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) May 20, 2018
Marcus Tullius Cicero, (106-43 BC)
Senator McConnell & Speaker Ryan: If Mr. Trump continues along this disastrous path, you will bear major responsibility for the harm done to our democracy. You do a great disservice to our Nation & the Republican Party if you continue to enable Mr. Trump’s self-serving actions. https://t.co/uAhgL6wfIC— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) May 20, 2018
Trump responded the following day by tweeting a lengthy quote from Fox News talking head Dan Bongino about how Brennan is "panicking" and "worried about staying out of jail."
...they then used to start an investigation about Trump. It is that simple. This guy is the genesis of this whole Debacle. This was a Political hit job, this was not an Intelligence Investigation. Brennan has disgraced himself, he’s worried about staying out of Jail.” Dan Bongino— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2018
Brennan’s op-ed in the Post is his harshest invective yet against the president. "Mr. Trump, however, has shown highly abnormal behavior by lying routinely to the American people without compunction, intentionally fueling divisions in our country and actively working to degrade the imperfect but critical institutions that serve us," Brennan wrote after expressing his respect for the four presidents under which he served.
"Mr. Trump charts his every move according to a calculus of how it will personally help or hurt him," he added. "His strategy is to undercut real, potential and perceived opponents; his focus is to win at all costs, irrespective of truth, ethics, decency and – many would argue – the law."
Brennan then explained how in three decades of working for the CIA he was able to study the ways in which corrupt dictators and authoritarian leaders preyed on their people in order to enrich themselves. "It never dawned on me that we could face such a development in the United States," wrote Brennan.
Though Trump tweeted Tuesday that he would be focusing on pertinent issues like North Korea, he's spent most of his time since complaining about the Russia investigation, bragging about the size of the crowd at his latest rally, demanding an apology from ABC CEO Bob Iger and calling for talk show host Samantha Bee to be fired. If the op-ed happens to make it onto Fox News, it wouldn't be a surprise if Trump dedicated a tweet or two to Brennan as well.