Tags: Donald Trump | Russia | Hayden | Presidency

Hayden: Trump's Approach to Presidency Is Main Issue

By    |   Tuesday, 16 May 2017 10:11 AM

President Donald Trump has the power to share information with foreign leaders, but the real issue is his handling of the duties of office, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said Tuesday.

"We give him a lot of space when he's meeting with foreign leaders to do what he thinks are in the strategic interests of the United States," the retired general, now a principal with the Chertoff Group, told CNN's "New Day" program. "This is more about the person and the performance of the president."

Trump, he continued, "does not seem to prepare in detail, is a bit disdainful, even contemptuous of the normal processes of government," and "kind of flies by the seat of his pants."

That approach, he continued, creates events such as was seen last week, with his decision to fire FBI Director James Comey and with his meeting at the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Further, The Washington Post's report that claimed Trump gave Lavrov and Kislyak highly classified information was a "by-product" of Trump's approach to such meetings, said Hayden.

The retired general said he can live with Trump's inexperience, as everyone lacks experience when they start a new job. However, he said he's more focused on Trump's "seeming lack of humility in the face of obvious inexperience."

"Here is a president who seems to go into these encounters with, frankly, an unjustified self-confidence in the ability of his person to make these things come out right," said Hayden. "He throws away, pushes to the side, and doesn't pay attention to what the institutions of the government have set up for him to be successful."

Trump, continued Hayden, "seems to live only in the moment, the eternal now with no history in front of it and no concern for consequences after it. We are in a period to our friends and adversaries as inconsistent."

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have disputed the report, which came out Monday, and Hayden said Tuesday that he's friends with both McMaster and his deputy, Dina Powell, who also denied that classified information was released.

"I have the highest regard for them," Hayden said. "I think they were put in a very difficult situation and did the best that they could ... I know they told the truth as they saw it."

However, he said he is concerned that Trump's administration is forced to "do things to protect the president, to cover for the president, that I don't think they would want to do in normal circumstances. I don't know that happened here."

Trump is also starting to get silence from his own party, claimed Hayden, and he fears "that's leading us to a bad spot."

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President Donald Trump has the power to share information with foreign leaders, but the real issue is his handling of the duties of office, former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said Tuesday. "We give him a lot of space when he's meeting with foreign leaders to do what...
Hayden, Presidency
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2017-11-16
Tuesday, 16 May 2017 10:11 AM
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