CIA chief: Ludicrous to claim Trump 'unfit', totally absurd

Director of CIA Mike Pompeo slams claim that 'everyone' around Trump believes he is 'unfit for presidency'. 'This is ludicrous.'

David Rosenberg,

Mike Pompeo
Mike Pompeo
Jonathan Ernst, Reuters

Mike Pompeo, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, blasts claims Sunday that President Trump is somehow “unfit” to serve – an assertion repeated by the president’s critics following the release of a controversial book which claims to document the first nine months of the Trump administration.

On Friday, USA Today writer Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House was released, drawing criticism from the White House, which labelled the book “tabloid trash”.

"This book is filled with false and misleading accounts from individuals who have no access or influence with the White House,” said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “Participating in a book that can only be described as trashy tabloid fiction exposes their sad desperate attempts at relevancy.”

The book first gained widespread media attention last Wednesday, when excerpts of it were released by New York Magazine. Wolff quoted former Trump strategist Steve Bannon as saying that Donald Trump Jr. and the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had engaged in “treasonous” behavior by meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016.

The White House claimed that Wolff was “denied access to the White House repeatedly” Sanders claimed, challenging Wolff’s assertions of regular access during the first nine months of the Trump administration.

Wolff claims to have interviewed more than 200 people in the Trump administration, stating that “they all say ‘He is like a child’,” Wolff told NBC. “It’s all about him.”

But some of the sources Wolff claimed to have consulted were quick to deny the quotes attributed to them.

Former British premier Tony Blair rejected claims he told Trump that Britain’s MI6 had leaked details of alleged contacts between Trump officials and the Russian government.

“This story is a complete fabrication form beginning to end,” Blair said, according to The Daily Mail.

Former White House Press Secretary, who was also cited in Wolff’s book, denied the quotes attributed to him.

“There's a lot of the quotes that I know are attributed to myself and to other people that, frankly, never happened,” Spicer told CNN.

Even The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman, pointed out that much of Fire and Fury is “factually wrong”, calling it part of Wolff’s ‘modus operandi’, and noted how quotes cited by Wolff differed in the book from his column.

On Sunday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo blasted Wolff’s portrayal of the president, and subsequent claims by critics, including Democratic lawmakers, who’ve questioned the president’s mental fitness.

“Those statements are just absurd,” Pompeo told Fox News.

“Just pure fantasy … The president is engaged, he understands the complexity, he asks really difficult questions of our team at the CIA so we can provide any information that he needs to make good, informed policy decisions.”

“It’s just a ludicrous question. These are from people who just have not yet accepted the fact that President Trump is the United States’ president. I’m sorry for them.”

This is not the first time critics have attempted to cast aspersions on a president or presidential nominee’s mental fitness.

During his 1964 presidential bid, Republican Barry Goldwater was accused of being “unfit to serve” by the lead article in the now-defunct Fact magazine.

The piece, which was later cited by other publications including TIME magazine, claimed that “1,189 PSYCHIATRISTS SAY GOLDWATER IS PSYCHOLOGICALLY UNFIT TO BE PRESIDENT!”

None of the psychiatrists named in the survey had actually examined Goldwater, and the fiasco eventually prompted the American Psychiatric Association to enumerate what has since been dubbed the “Goldwater Rule”, requiring doctors to conduct examinations before offering opinions.

President Ronald Reagan faced similar accusations both during his 1980 presidential bid, and later during his second term in office.

Critics of President George W. Bush were quick to hail Dr. Justin Frank’s 2004 Bush On The Couch, which claimed the 43rd president exhibited signs of “megalomania”, “sadism”, and an inability to show compassion.

McCain, the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, also faced questions regarding his mental health, including from mainstream media outlets like CNN.

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