— CNN (@CNN) August 23, 2017
During President Trump’s unhinged and divisive Phoenix rally speech on Tuesday night, he attempted to rewrite the script on his own Charlottesville comments, among other bizarre statements. The speech blew minds throughout the at-home audience, including Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who appeared with CNN’s Don Lemon after the host called the rally “a total eclipse of the facts.” Clapper feels that the speech was a “scary and disturbing” one that does not arrive without consequence.
In the above clip (there’s a much longer one below), Clapper — who has worked in some fashion for every commander-in-chief from John F. Kennedy to Barack Obama — comments upon how the “teleprompter” Trump of the recent Afghanistan speech has yielded to the “real Trump” who went on a rampage against his enemies, real and perceived. As Clapper notes, “I don’t know when I’ve listened and watched something like this from a president that I found more disturbing.” He also wonders whether or not Trump’s bombastic behavior has a hidden motivation:
“I really question his ability to be, his fitness to be in this office and I also am beginning to wonder about his motivation for it. maybe he is looking for a way out.”
The veteran U.S. official feels particularly troubled by knowing that Trump has ready access to the nuclear codes. As he points out, “There’s actually very little to stop him” if the president decides “in a fit of pique” to go after North Korea. Clapper also wonders about the mental clarity and stability of Trump’s supporters, and he asked, “How much longer does the country have to, to borrow a phrase, endure this nightmare?”
Here’s the longer clip of Clapper’s entire discussion with Lemon.