We have known for a long time that the president of the United States doesn’t like to read. We’ve been told that he prefers bullet points, lots of graphics, bottom-line only digests, and constant references to himself.
But Friday, the Washington Post reported that for the past year, Donald Trump has refused to read the President’s Daily Brief (PBD), which compiles information from US intelligence agencies.
This is an astounding break with tradition. Instead, Trump gets an “oral briefing of select intelligence issues.”
A brief one.
It has been reported that Trump is very thin-skinned at these oral briefings. He’s reportedly complained that the intelligence community is “talking down to him,” one of the Post’s sources said, and he’s accused Obama-era intelligence officials of playing up Russian interference in the 2016 election in order to “delegitimize his presidency.”
On top of that, according to Leon Panetta, a former CIA director and defense secretary for President Barack Obama, it’s possible that “something will be missed” if Trump is depending on the oral briefing:
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.
In his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White Housepublished last month, Michael Wolff wrote, “Trump didn’t read”:
He didn’t really even skim. If it was print, it might as well not exist. Some believed that for all practical purposes, he was no more than semiliterate.
Others concluded that he didn’t read because he didn’t have to….He was postliterate—total television.
In light of the book, MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough, in an op-ed for the Post, wrote that there was “awkward silence” when in 2015 he asked Trump, “Can you read?”