Day 52: Trump (Again) Holds National Security Meeting in Open Dining Room

The president continues to conduct open strategic sessions in unsecured locations

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Donald Trump hit Hillary Clinton hard on the campaign trail for what he categorized as her recklessness in handling classified information by having a private email server.

Four weeks ago, Trump held a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the middle of the Mar-a-Lago dining room. Conversations were held in full view of the private club members and hackable cell phones were used to illuminate documents, presumably about the military since North Korea had just unexpectedly test fired a number of missiles. Notably, Mar-a-Lago has a specific room for such discussions to take place since national security interests are at stake and shouldn’t be discussed over a steak.

This week, Trump is continuing his nonstop assault on conflict of interest lines, explicitly and implicitly promoting his brand while raking in the profits at the same time.

More concerning than a mere round of golf —which is not a problem, though Trump’s hypocrisy of excoriating Barack Obama for doing so and simultaneously proclaiming he’d never play golf as president must be noted —is that Trump doesn’t seem to have learned anything from the Mar-a-Lago dining room experience.

Attendees at the meeting included Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Press Secretary Sean Spicer and Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin in addition to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and some of the group’s significant others.

According to Spicer, “[Trump] wanted to take some key members of his team out and have a working lunch to talk about the economy [and] some of the issues we’re dealing with with homeland security.”

Discussing homeland security in a dining room at a private golf club sounds awfully familiar.

At this point Trump either a) doesn’t care about the sensitive nature of such meetings or b) doesn’t appreciate the risk of conducting such meetings openly. Spicer’s comment appears devoid of any recognition of a problem with such meetings, but Trump has also surrounded himself with sycophants unwilling to stand up to him.

Either way, Trump continues to be reckless with national security information.

52 days in, 1410 to go


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