Former Acting CIA Director John McLaughlin said on MSNBC’s For The Record With Greta that although he can’t analyze the reaction, he has been told that the people applauding for Trump during his speech at the CIA were not CIA employees.
McLaughlin said, First, anytime a president goes to CIA, a president is going to be welcomed politely and with applause. It’s in the DNA out there, because if you’re in the CIA, the president is customer number one, period. We don’t know who was applauding. If you look at pool reporters, who were there. They say the applause came mostly from the entourage that went out there with the president. His staff and other people who were there with him. CIA leadership was in the first couple rows, and I understood they stood politely, but kind of impassively through that…I would not try to analyze the reaction frankly. We did not see it. We heard it, but I am told this was not the CIA everyday employees standing up and cheering wildly.”
Former acting director McLaughlin’s answer was very fair, but it was also quite revealing. The CIA is pushing back hard on the spin coming from the White House that the CIA loved the President, and he received a loud and wild five-minute standing ovation.
The truth is likely that the CIA was polite to Trump, but the loud cheering and laughing came from the studio audience that the president brought with him. McLaughlin’s insights match up with the CBS report that the cheering was coming from Trump’s cheering section.
The rift between Trump and the CIA clearly hasn’t been repaired. In fact, the White House’s insistence on exaggeration is probably making things worse, not better.