President Donald Trump is a new breed of commander-in-chief. The 70-year-old has never held political office and is not accustomed to the slow-moving wheels of Washington D.C. His young presidency has been marred by backslides; after one of his strongest weeks — when he managed to pass a health care bill through the house, a barrage of stories caused a whirlwind of controversy.
Trump has continuously spoken out against leaks and members of the intelligence community who speak to reporters. A bombshell story out the New York Times on Tuesday even leveled the allegation that Trump suggested to former FBI Director James Comey that the lawman “consider putting reporters in prison.”
But the intelligence community is not the only group leaking to the press. Staffers and aides inside the White House are also frequently quoted in stories. On Wednesday, Reuters published a story quoting a litany of sources close to Trump and painted a portrait of a president who “doesn’t understand” the presidency.
As Trump prepares to go abroad to the middle east, his staff is working hard to make sure he is up-to-speed on the issues that he will face. One staffer said that he doesn’t think Trump “understands [the Israeli-Palestinian conflict].” Michael Singh, a Bush foreign policy adviser pointed out Trump’s preference to “personal relationships” with foreign leaders, a style which contrasts with most diplomats.
The most stunning revelation from the Reuters article was a source close to National Security Council officials who “include Trump’s name in as many paragraphs [of briefings] as possible.” He explained that “Trump keeps reading if he’s mentioned.” Sources also say that Trump prefers short memos with graphs and images over the longer, wordy files given to other leaders.