President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE on Saturday denied any feud between himself and the U.S. intelligence community, casting the notion as a rumor made up by the media.
Speaking at CIA headquarters in his first address to a federal agency as president, Trump blasted reporters and affirmed his support for the nation’s intelligence agencies.
Trump maintained that “there is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump.”
“As you know I have a running war with the media,” Trump said. “They are among the most dishonest human beings on earth. And they sort of made it sound like I had a feud with the intelligence community. And just want to let you know that the reason you’re the No. 1 stop is exactly the opposite.”
Trump said he would give the agency “so much backing,” and vowed to get rid of so-called restraints that have hampered the country’s massive national security complex.
Trump has criticized the U.S. intelligence community for weeks following revelations that Russia tried to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in his favor.
Trump renewed that criticism earlier this month, accusing intelligence officials of leaking classified information to members of the press.
Since winning the presidency in November, Trump has foregone many of the daily intelligence briefings typical of the office, saying instead that he does not need to receive the briefings every day, because he’s "a smart person."
Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me.Are we living in Nazi Germany?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 11, 2017
"I don't have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years,” he said in an interview with Fox News in December. “Could be eight years — but eight years. I don't need that."
Trump used his appearance Saturday at the CIA to also drum up support for his pick to lead the agency, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.), who is currently awaiting Senate confirmation.
"But you will be getting a total star," Trump said. "You're going to be getting a total gem. He's a gem."
“Trust me, I’m like a smart person,” President Trump tells the CIA pic.twitter.com/FhliMHrOEL— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) January 21, 2017
Rep. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffJan. 6 panel subpoenas four ex-Trump aides Bannon, Meadows Schiff: Criminal contempt charges possible for noncooperation in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Biden jumps into frenzied Dem spending talks MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democratic on the House Intelligence Committee was quick to condemn Trump's speech at the CIA, saying Trump had missed a vital opportunity to renew relations with the intelligence community.
"While standing in front of the stars representing CIA personnel who lost their lives in the service of their country – hallowed ground – Trump gave little more than a perfunctory acknowledgment of their service and sacrifice," Schiff said in a statement. "Instead he argued at length about the size of the crowd at his inauguration, set out his favorites in the media, meandered through a variety of other topics unrelated to intelligence, and made the astounding claim so belied by the evidence – 'I love honesty.'"