Donald Trump “declines to participate” in reading the Presidential Daily Brief, breaking from his previous seven predecessors and potentially “hampering his ability to reposed to crises,” the Washington Post reports.
A source told the Post that reading the top-secret document offered to the president every morning is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning.”
As the Post notes, shortly after he took office, intelligence analysts crafted a method to brief Trump–who prefers photos and graphics to large swaths of text. As he told Axios last year, “I like bullets or I like as little as possible. I don’t need, you know, 200-page reports on something that can be handled on a page.”
Eventually, ”Trump made clear he was not interested in reviewing a personal copy of the written intelligence report,” the Post reports. Instead, he opts for an oral briefing.
Former CIA director Leon Panetta told the Post that Trump’s reliance on oral briefings means he’s missing critical nuance that’s easier to grasp with written intelligence details.
“If for some reason his instincts on what should be done are not backed up by the intelligence because he hasn’t taken the time to read that intel, it increases the risk that he will make a mistake,” Panetta warned.
“You can have the smartest people around you—in the end it still comes down to his decision,” he added.
Despite aides’ assurances that Trump receives a briefing nearly every morning, the president’s public Trump’s schedule indicates he receives an in-person intelligence briefing every two to three days, on average. Meanwhile, top officials receive “versions of the president’s written intelligence briefing,” the Post reports.
Trump sometimes complains briefers are “talking down to him,” one source told the Post. He also “often goes off on tangents during the briefing and you’d have to rein him back in,” a person said.