The Wall Street Journal in an editorial published Sunday criticized President Trump for the comments he made Saturday at the Central Intelligence Agency, saying he came away looking “small and insecure.”
The publication said Trump made a “smart move” in visiting the CIA on his first full day in office.
“But he and his staff are going to have to raise their game if they want to succeed at governing,” the editorial said.
“This was not a presidential performance.”
The editorial said that Trump’s visit made sense to “repair any misunderstandings from the campaign and the transition.” It pointed to times when the president appeared to accuse the intelligence community of leaking an unverified dossier alleging Russia had compromising information on Trump.
The editorial then commended the president for his comments about the respect he has for those in the CIA.
But then, the editorial said, Trump took a turn.
“Mr. Trump also couldn’t resist turning the event into an extended and self-centered riff about the size of his campaign rallies, the times he’s been on Time magazine’s cover and how the ‘dishonest’ media misreported his inaugural crowds,” the paper wrote.
“He all but begged for the political approval of the career CIA employees by suggesting most there had voted for him.”
“Such defensiveness about his victory and media coverage makes Mr. Trump look small and insecure.”
The editorial said that Trump’s remarks to the CIA employees undermines his visit by “suggesting the visit was really about him, not their vital work.”
“Mr. Trump may think he’s succeeded by breaking the normal rules of politics and that he can keep doing it,” the paper wrote.
“But he’s now President, and Americans expect a level of seriousness and decorum that is consistent with the responsibility of the office. He should meet their high expectations, not live down to the media’s.”
During his visit to the CIA, the president accused the media of lying about the size of the crowds at his inauguration, saying he had a “massive field of people” at the event.
“I get up this morning and I turn on one of the networks and they show an empty field,” Trump said.
“I said wait a minute, I made a speech, I looked out, the field was, it looked like a million, a million and a half people. They showed a field where there were practically nobody standing there.”