National Security

Obama’s DHS Secretary: ‘Donald Trump Has the Potential to Be a Great President’

Former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who served in the Obama administration, said Wednesday on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that President Donald Trump has the "potential to be a great president."

BBC reporter and "Morning Joe" panelist Katty Kay asked Johnson what he thinks about Trump and his administration's handling of national security issues.

"I actually believe that Donald Trump–and I told him this when I met with him in December–I actually believe that Donald Trump has the potential to be a great president in sort of the Nixon-goes-to-China way, or Reagan-goes-to-the-Soviet-Union way, if he can find a way to rein in some of the more unhealthy impulses, listen to his staff, bring on a full complement of political appointees who will help him govern," Johnson said.

Johnson also defended the Trump administration's recent emergency order that bans travelers from "carrying laptops and other large electronic devices from some countries," Politico reported.

Johnson noted that the Department of Homeland Security has "been concerned for some time now" about explosives in electronic devices. He mentioned that the United Kingdom is implementing a similar ban, calling the British "good company."

Obama's former DHS chief also criticized Trump for his frequent tweeting, calling it one of the president's "unhealthy impulses."

"I'm very concerned about the tweets and very concerned about the direction we're taking in a lot of national security areas," he said.

Johnson also said he is worried the government is, "when it comes to homeland security, fighting the last war."

"We may be responding to the terrorist attack of 10 years ago, as opposed to the next one," Johnson said. "I used to tell my people, ‘Don't respond to the last terrorist attack, prepare for the next one,' and given where we are right now with the current threat environment, we need to focus on home-grown, home-born violent extremism."