What Does Donald Trump Know? Anything?

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.


At about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday, China agreed to return the US Navy drone they had seized in the South China Sea. Four hours later, Donald Trump tweeted his thoughts about this: “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters?rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.” Then, a few hours later, he bizarrely changed tack: “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!” Did Trump know when he wrote those tweets that the Chinese had already agreed to return the drone?

That information would have been known to Trump had he received the “Presidential Daily Brief” prior to posting his first tweet. Whether he did that Saturday, or whether he or his staff even bothered to check with the State Department or the Pentagon about the status of the matter before weighing in, is unknown. Officials in Trump’s transition office did not respond to queries from the Huffington Post.

Trump has said that he finds the PDB repetitive and that he does not need a daily briefing because he is smart. His staff has said Trump is receiving the briefing about three times a week.

That’s from S.V. Date, and I love the second excerpted paragraph. It makes Trump look like the idiot he is, but there’s nothing objectionable about it. That’s exactly what he said. Trump can hardly cry foul at this characterization.

He will, of course, because he and his team have made a whole new profession out of grievance mongering. You’d think that he expected to govern without criticism or something—and judging by the remarkable volume of whining out of Trump and his team, maybe he did. But since he refuses to speak with the press, and his staff does nothing but kvetch and tap dance, we may never know.

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you'll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

ONE MORE QUICK THING:

Or at least we hope. It’s fall fundraising time, and we’re trying to raise $250,000 to help fund Mother Jones’ journalism during a shorter than normal three-week push.

If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate