Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Thursday she was “stunned” that President Donald Trump publicly chastised top US intelligence officials by saying they were “naive” after they disputed several of his claims of foreign policy success.
“I was fascinated by what happened (on Tuesday) with the lineup of all (the intelligence officials) and talking about what they know from the fact that they’re doing a lot of research, that they understand it,” Albright said to CNN’s John Berman on “New Day,” referring to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.
“And I worked for presidents that actually were interested in knowing what was going on and knew what the role of the intelligence community is and was. And so I am stunned by this,” said Albright, who served under former President Bill Clinton. “And I think it only proves something that troubles me deeply, is that this President is someone that doesn’t want to learn.”
On Tuesday, Director of Intelligence Dan Coats, who was appointed by Trump, told Senate lawmakers that the US intelligence community does not believe Iran is currently undertaking “key activities” needed to produce a nuclear bomb – an assessment at odds with longtime administration claims that Iran is an immediate nuclear threat.
The next day, Trump went on Twitter to chastise the intelligence officials, saying they “seem to be extremely passive and naive” about Iran and suggesting “perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!”
Albright added that she believes being “a responsible public servant and a leader is to listen to different opinions and to understand and to ask in depth what’s going on instead of putting them down.”
Trump’s comments also faced criticism from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who said they were a threat to the public’s trust in national security.
CNN’s Nicky Robertson and Eli Watkins contributed to this report.