John O. Brennan can’t say he didn’t ask for President Donald Trump’s extreme attention.

For obvious reasons, Trump would have to be the last person on the planet deserving of our sympathy after being roughed up by a trash-talker. But for the better part of a year, the former CIA director has been giving it to the president harder than the president gives it to anybody. Brennan has repeatedly picked, prodded and poked Trump about his Russia connections, seemingly determined to provoke a reaction. Appearing on CNN on November 12, 2017, Brennan said he thought Trump was “giving Putin a pass” by not confronting him directly about election tampering. “So it’s either naiveté, ignorance or fear in terms of what Mr. Trump is doing vis-a-vis the Russians,” Brennan continued.

Trump responded, calling Brennan and other national security types who oppose him “political hacks.” But the career spy was undeterred. In the early spring, Brennan escalated, telling MSNBC, “If we have somebody in the Oval Office who is unstable, inept, inexperienced and also unethical, we really have rough waters ahead.” Days later, his tart comments turned acidic as he dunked the president in a vat of aqua regia: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. … You will not destroy America. … America will triumph over you.” In April tweets, he wrote, “your self adoration is disgraceful” and “Your hypocrisy knows no bounds.”