Panetta says ‘loose cannon’ Trump ‘needs some grownups around him’

Gabby Kaufman
Reporter
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2014. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta branded President Trump a “loose cannon” Tuesday and slammed the “yes people” surrounding him, saying, “This president needs to have some grownups around him.”

During an appearance on CNN’s “New Day,” Panetta reacted to the recent revelation that Trump shared highly classified information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador during a meeting in the Oval Office.

Panetta praised the White House national security team, but said Trump’s unpredictable nature requires them to “make very clear to the president what he can and cannot do.”

“He’s got to have some lines here,” Panetta said. “He’s got to have some guardrails. The president of the United States cannot just do or say or speak whatever the hell he wants.”

After the Washington Post reported Monday that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats, Trump took to his favorite medium early Tuesday morning to defend that move.

“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” the president tweeted. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

Panetta, who served as President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff, said “the first thing” he would do as Trump’s righthand man would be to ban him from tweeting. Asked if that was worth possibly being dismissed, Panetta was emphatic.

“Absolutely — that’s why you’re there,” he said. “If you have a bunch of yes people around the president of the United States, what good does that do? You need to have people that are willing to say to the president, ‘You’re wrong.’”

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