NBC’s “Today” Show welcomed Leon Panetta and he did not hold back on telling President Trump what he ought to be doing differently.
Leon Panetta, for those not familiar with him is a staple in Washington. He began his political career in 1977 as a Representative for California until 1993, then moved to be the Director of the United States Office of Management and Budget, to White House Chief of Staff under President Clinton, to Director of the CIA to his most recent post as the United States Secretary of Defense from 2011 to 2013. If anyone knows anything about how to work the White House, it’s Panetta.
President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that President Obama (and Britain somehow) wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 presidential election are well known to nearly everyone by this point. We know Trump is a liar and loves “alternative facts” but why is there never-ending support by the White House of those claims? When Kellyanne Conway famously invented a fake terrorism attack entitled the “Bowling Green Massacre,” she got fact-checked to within an inch of her life, and she apologized.
With this claim however, they’ve been fact-checked; they’ve requisitioned information from the intelligence community and the Senate and House Intelligence Committees, and they exceeded the deadline to provide evidence. Now, they absolutely have to ‘nut up or shut up’ and issue an apology to the American people for perpetuating conspiracy, and to President Obama for essentially, slander.
To the “Today” hosts, Panetta explained that even he has no idea what they’re trying to accomplish with continuing this:
‘I don’t get it, and I don’t think America gets it.’
He further urged the president to just move on from it, and focus on the real issue at hand, and highlighted that he should perhaps start with the problems in the American Health Care Act (the garbage GOP replacement for the Affordable Care Act).
He didn’t however, endorse the idea that the claims should be left to drift into obscurity, as he asserted that the president ought to apologize.
‘The time has come for the president to accept the responsibility that he made a mistake.’
Beyond this, Panetta’s greatest cause for concern that was raised during this interview is one that many Americans share. He articulated the ways in which these claims and other forms of misinformation by the Trump administration hurts our reputation in the global community and inhibits our ability to collaborate with our allies, to be taken seriously and to ensure national security. Frankly, by implicating Britain in this off-the-wall claim about surveillance, it’s no wonder that he’s damaged U.S./Britain relations.
President Trump and his administration must turn this around, and it starts with an act that is probably virtually impossible for the narcissist-in-chief: admitting he was wrong.
Feature Image via Getty Images.