James ClapperJames Robert ClapperBuck Wild: 'Is President Trump paranoid or is the Deep State out to get him?' Clapper: Trump was serious when he said he wants citizens to act like North Koreans do for Kim Clapper: It's getting 'harder and harder to believe' Trump didn't know about Russia contacts MORE, a former director of National Intelligence, compared President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want to use 'adversary' to describe Russia Comey urges Americans to vote for Democrats in midterms Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism MORE's contrasting speeches Tuesday and Wednesday to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, calling the sudden character shift "disturbing."

"What caused concern is this sort of ... Jekyll-Hyde business, where he'll make a scripted teleprompter speech, which is good, and then turn around and negate it by sort of the unbridled, unleashed, unchaperoned Trump," Clapper said on CNN.

"And that to me — that pattern — is very disturbing," he said.

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Trump delivered a fiery speech reminiscent of his days on the campaign trail during a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday night, in which he berated the media, threatened to shut down the government over funding for his proposed border wall and defended his statements in the wake of violent white nationalist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va. 

But the president took a sharply different approach to a speech on Wednesday at the American Legion's national convention in Nevada. There, he called for unity and urged Americans to work to heal the nation's widening political divide.

Clapper said that contrast has hindered Trump's ability to lead and advance his agenda, and he could salvage his presidency if he began showing a genuine desire to promote unity. 

"I think it would have a profound impact on the country, if he can, in an unguarded moment, convey sincerely his scripted appeals for unity, so that the body language matches the words," Clapper said.

"And so far, there's a discord there. They don't necessarily compute."