Speed Reads

not comforting

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper questions Trump's fitness for office

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper found President Trump's speech Tuesday night in Phoenix "so objectionable on so many levels," and said he worries about Trump's "access to the nuclear codes."

Speaking to CNN's Don Lemon, Clapper said that he worked in some capacity or another for every president from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama, and he can't ever recall watching something "like this from a president that I found more disturbing." Unlike the Trump who spoke Monday night about his strategy in Afghanistan, using carefully scripted words, his rant in Arizona was just like his "unglued" press conference following Charlottesville, where he equated white supremacists to protesters. "This was the real Trump," Clapper said.

Clapper told Lemon he questions Trump's fitness to be president, and is starting to think Trump's outrageous reactions to major events are part of something larger. "Maybe he is looking for a way out," Clapper said, adding that he doesn't "understand the adulation" of Trump's supporters. Above all else, Clapper said, he's concerned about Trump's close proximity to the nuclear codes, and the fact that there is "very little to stop him" if he decided to target North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a fit of pique. "The whole system's built to ensure a rapid response if necessary, so there's very little in the way of controls over exercising a nuclear option, which is pretty damn scary," Clapper said.