While much of the mainstream media reported Sunday that President-elect Donald Trump said he gets intelligence briefings when he needs them, what many outlets are not making clear is the context in which said it.
The president-elect sat down with Fox News host Chris Wallace for an exclusive interview that aired Sunday, and what followed was an onslaught of negative headlines, falsely implying that Trump is refusing intelligence briefings because he already knows what’s in them.
“Trump Says He Doesn’t Need Daily Intelligence Briefing Because He’s ‘Smart,'” the Huffington Post headline from the interview reads.
Business Insider published a similar heading: “TRUMP: I’m a ‘smart person,’ don’t need intelligence briefings every single day.”
Meanwhile, CBS News took this angle: “Donald Trump on less-frequent intelligence briefings: ‘I get it when I need it.'”
And the examples could go on and on.
But if you listen to the context in which Trump made the comment, you wouldn’t necessarily come away with the idea that the president-elect is somehow making light of national security. Trump said he does receive the classified briefings less frequently than other presidents-elects or presidents have, but offers what appears to be a perfectly reasonable explanation.
“I get when I need it. First of all, these are very good people that are giving me the briefings. And I say if something should change from this point, immediately call me. I’m available on one minute’s notice,” Trump said.
“I don’t need to be told … the same thing every day, every morning ― same words. ‘Sir, nothing has changed. Let’s go over it again.’ I don’t need that,” he added, noting that Vice President-elect Mike Pence and others on his team are receiving daily intelligence briefings.