Columnist

Bad, terrible, gloomy news, citizens! Rend your garments and lament with loud groans.

Donald Trump had found, for once, someone who matched his level of intelligence. After many years of futile struggle against the intelligence community, who contumaciously persisted in contradicting his belief that all that is worth knowing about the world can be extracted from a careful daily viewing of "Fox & Friends," he had at last found someone who shared his point of view.

Finally, the thick clouds of information were parting and a great white light of perfect clarity was breaking through. Donald Trump had tapped Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.) to become the director of national intelligence. Unlike the outgoing director, who preposterously claimed that Russian meddling was a real threat (It is neither! Though if it were real, we ought to be flattered!), Ratcliffe was no mere pushover who imbibed all facts without prejudice. He stood firm against any piece of information that would suggest Donald Trump was less than perfectly wonderful or innocent. And now he is withdrawing!

Weep, America! The LameStream Media, alas, is to blame (it is always to blame, citizens). And so Ratcliffe will continue to serve on committees that have failed to hold his interest or inspire him to look deeply into things, instead of bringing this attitude to the intelligence community where true patriots would have welcomed it with overdue relief.

After the momentary comfort of thinking he had found someone who understood that a belligerent farrago of Fox News talking points was, indeed, intelligence — what chaos faces the president now.

To whom can he turn to validate his opinions, on foreign policy, or anything?

The search continues. The parameters for a new chief are clear. He must be an expert in counterintelligence, or, at least, in countering intelligence, which is much the same. He must understand that the president has never done anything wrong, ever, in his life.


Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.), paragon of intelligence matters. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

He must have, at best, a slapdash command of facts. People with a greater-than-slapdash command of facts are always so frustrating. They are forever insisting that your gut feelings are wrong, when you know the opposite to be true. An ideal director of national intelligence, when the president tweets, “I may be wrong, but I believe that Chariman [sic] Kim has a great and beautiful vision for his country, and only the United States, with me as President, can make that vision come true,” would admit that he was absolutely right and declare this the final word on the subject.

Whoever assumes this position of power must understand that facts are to be punished for insubordination. He must believe in the president’s perfect and total innocence as axiomatic, must quite reasonably admit no evidence to the contrary, must demand total exoneration in spite of what those fractious facts would suggest. He must simultaneously have boasted about rounding up 300 immigrants, and yet, objectively, not have done so.

But the next director must have the integrity to say no to the president should the need arise. Donald Trump does not want to be surrounded at all times by a chorus of mindless yes men; sometimes, Donald Trump says no to things, and at those times, he wants those around him to say no, too.

Most critically, the next director of national intelligence must be ready to begin his duties post-haste. The most pressing threat Donald Trump — and, by extension, this nation — faces is having too much reliable, good information. Such a dire prospect threatens one’s narratives about reality. It can suggest that what one portray as an attack on America or its way of life, in fact, is not; that what one embraces as virtue is vicious and dangerous; and that what one say is good is in fact causing enormous harm. Fact is a nightmare against which Donald Trump has battled from Day 1. He needs a director of national intelligence who shares these values. Alas, citizens, he has had to send one away.

We can only hope another will come along.

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