The sometimes-sinister spirit of Richard M. Nixon apparently has returned from the dead to whisper in the ear of Donald J. Trump.
The current president mirrored the former president’s enemies list by revoking the top security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. In a remarkable fit of petulance, pique and piggishness, the president did this to punish Brennan for what he called “erratic behavior.”
Did the former CIA boss reveal any national security secrets? Did he blab classified information to enemy states? Did he in any way compromise our ability to defend ourselves against foreign foes?
No to all of the above.
Brennan’s “sin” is to criticize the president.
What is wrong with that? Oh, nothing at all. It’s protected speech, according to the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But you see, Donald Trump just won’t have any of that. He just cannot stomach the idea of a former CIA director, a man with immense national security chops — who could be of invaluable assistance to the president’s national security team — speaking negatively about administration policy.
The New York Times reported: In a tweet this week, Mr. Brennan criticized Mr. Trump for the language that the president used to attack Omarosa Manigault Newman, his former top aide, who he called a “dog.”
Mr. Brennan wrote, “It’s astounding how often you fail to live up to minimum standards of decency, civility, & probity. Seems like you will never understand what it means to be president, nor what it takes to be a good, decent, & honest person. So disheartening, so dangerous for our Nation.”
Years ago, President Nixon developed an enemies list comprising members of the Democratic Party, radical left-wing protest groups, certain members of the media and, frankly, damn near any prominent American who spoke ill of him in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Nearly five decades later, his most recent presidential descendant has resurrected that notion by revoking the security clearance of a dedicated public servant and a man with tremendous knowledge of all things relating to protecting this great nation.