The Atlantic

Cheapening a Sacred Space

On Saturday, President Trump stood in front of the CIA’s Memorial Wall and gave a speech that said more about himself than those the wall commemorated, or the agency they served.
Source: Carlos Barria / Reuters

On Saturday, in front of the Memorial Wall at the Central Intelligence Agency, President Donald Trump delivered a speech. It was heartening that Trump—along with his vice president and his chief of staff—visited the Agency on his first day in office. After a tumultuous period in which the president-elect had disparaged the Agency as the people who blundered into the Iraq War and compared its employees to Nazis, it was good and right that the president went to mend fences. And had the president delivered his speech off camera, inside “the bubble” at Agency headquarters, the whole thing would likely have gone over very well.

Instead, the president turned the Memorial Wall into a political prop and delivered a campaign speech. The speech was offensive in both style and substance.

It made me think back to

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
Sometimes Even Newspapers Need Poetry
The New York Times tapped a polymath poet to celebrate the 1969 moon landing on its front page.
The Atlantic7 min read
The Origins of the ‘Acting White’ Charge
School integration yielded a disturbing by-product: a psychological association between scholastic achievement and whiteness.
The Atlantic8 min read
The Best Banter From Apollo 11
Between the high-stakes maneuvers, the crew joked around, listened to music, and drank way too much coffee.