A former spokesman for President Barack Obama has made a clear distinction between the current White House resident, Donald Trump, and his former boss with regard to reports that new Chief of Staff John Kelly is vetting information that gets through to the president. In short, the former spokesman acknowledged that the material Obama saw needed no prior or outside vetting, because Obama was able to “independently vet information” on his own, but he observed that President Trump’s staff “apparently” did not consider Trump up to the challenge of discerning what constituted information worthy of his attention.
One of the reporters that co-authored a recent piece at BuzzFeed, Adrian Carrasquillo, took to Twitter and asked Tommy Vietor, who worked as a former spokesman for the National Security Council and for former President Obama, if “Obama aides jockeyed to get links from liberal sites in front of him [the president].” According to The Hill, Vietor’s answer: They did not. But he suggested there was a difference in the way the two respective staffs treated the presidents.
“President Obama is an adult who can independently vet information so we treated him accordingly,” Vietor replied. “President Trump’s staff apparently believes that he’s too stupid to figure out that Infowars is garbage.”
— Adrian Carrasquillo (@Carrasquillo) August 25, 2017
As The Hill points out, Vietor’s comments follow reports from outlets like BuzzFeed and Politico that White House staffers, particularly Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, were restricting the flow of information that got through to President Trump, who has been criticized for giving credence to what mainstream news has labeled as questionably sourced media outlets, like the National Enquirer and Alex Jones’ Infowars.
A case in point: Jones recently promoted the conspiracy theory that NASA was running a child slave colony on Mars, an assertion made by an ex-CIA officer. The story gathered so much traction that the space agency, according to the Inquisitr, felt the need to issue a statement noting that only rovers were currently on Mars, but no humans of any age.
According to Politico, the new vetting procedure applies to internal and external policy documents, as well as news stories to which the president might have access.
But as BuzzFeed notes, it might be a bit difficult vetting all the information to which President Trump has access, like material supplied to him by his wife, Melania. In a tweet to BuzzFeed, Paul Joseph Watson, an Infowars editor, concluded that Kelly’s information directives were “pretty futile given that Trump has a direct line” to far right media.
Trump is also known to consume vast amounts of news information from television sources, not to mention being a constant presence on social media.
And Vietor’s comment that the president might be “too stupid” is not the first time President Trump’s intelligence — or his capability to comprehend complex issues and/or make sound decisions — has been questioned. His presidency has been riddled with those questioning his competency to govern, including a call in early July from Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, a professor of constitutional law, to convene a panel to ascertain if Trump was mentally fit to lead the country. Raskin’s move, reported CNN, came after President Trump took to Twitter to engage in personal comments against Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, co-hosts of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, who had questioned Trump’s mental health on their show.
More recently, Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, after the President Trump’s insistence on blaming “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville and his seeming reluctance to condemn the white supremacists involved (not to mention the act of one white supremacist sympathizer who drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing a young woman), stated, according to the Washington Post, that Trump has not “been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to be successful.”
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