The Slatest

Trump Tweet-Dares Clapper to Release “Beautiful Letter” That Was, in Fact, a Form Letter

I’m still keeping it.

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One of President Trump’s favorite things is to tease private correspondence in public as a form of veiled threat or to sow doubt about whatever he’s peeved at that day—big or infinitesimally small. It’s usually an extortionate bluff from the president that suits his mafia boss mentality when it comes to dealing with other people. The latest such instance came on Thursday morning, when President Trump directed his daily Twitter tantrum at former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Trump’s third person trash talking—fired off before many innocent Americans had had a chance to down their first cup of coffee—called out Clapper for his stinging rebuke of the president to CNN. The former intel chief went on television and questioned Trump’s fitness to run the country following the president’s fuming speech in Phoenix Tuesday night that Clapper characterized (rightly) as “downright scary and disturbing.”

Donald J. Trump, with little else to do as president, took to social media to deploy his “you should see the letter/note/bouquet so and so sent me” technique of conflict resolution.

Will he? Come on Clapper, what about the “beautiful letter?” Release the letter! What are you doing writing beautiful letters anyway, Clapper? Don’t you have a phone like normal people? Too good to text? Sounds fishy. Lock… him… What were we talking about again? Ahh, yes, the letter. Will we ever get to the bottom of this letter thing? Sure, Clapper said. The intelligence veteran then went on CNN and explained the letter.

“The night before the election, we deployed two teams so that we would be ready to provide a PDB brief the next morning to whomever won,” Clapper recounted, referring to the Presidential Daily Briefing. “I hand-wrote almost identical short notes to each of the two candidates to accompany the first brief as President-elect; only one actually got deployed—the one to him.”

The note to Clinton, which went undelivered, congratulated her on her victory and said the intelligence community stood by to serve her with the best intelligence it could muster. The note to Trump said the same thing.

A form letter! Of course. In fairness, Trump may have never received a genuine compliment, so you could see how he mistook the canned sentimentality—from an employee. Clapper said the president thanked him three times for the “beautiful letter” that he also wrote to Hillary Clinton.