Washington (CNN)Former CIA Director Leon Panetta said Monday it was inappropriate for President Donald Trump to use his speech to the agency as an opportunity to complain about reports on the crowd size at his inauguration.
Panetta to Trump: CIA is 'not the appropriate place to start whining about' inauguration crowd size
"I just got the impression when he was speaking there, that somehow, he forgot that he was President of the United States and was speaking to the intelligence officers that spend their lives trying to serve this country. That was not the appropriate place to start whining about what was happening in terms of numbers in the inauguration," Panetta told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Monday.
Trump had stopped at CIA headquarters Saturday to deliver the speech in front of the CIA Memorial Wall where fallen operatives are remembered.
"That wall contains the stars of CIA officers who have given their life to this country. That's about as close as you can get to hallow ground at the CIA. It's the equivalent of speaking at Arlington Cemetery," Panetta said.
Trump had told the CIA: "There is nobody that feels stronger about the intelligence community and the CIA than Donald Trump, there is nobody."
But he also spent time telling the hundreds of CIA employees that the media were among "the most dishonest human beings on Earth" and claimed news reports lied about the size of his inauguration crowd.
"To go off and start talking about the press, talking about how many people were at the inauguration, I just think frankly, that was not appropriate. I just think the President needs to understand, he's President now. He's not just a candidate, he doesn't have to spend time embellishing himself or what he did, he's President of the United States," Panetta told Blitzer.
The former CIA director said Trump may be having trouble getting out of campaign-mode, and transitioning to his new role.