Give it a rest, Mr. POTUS … you won the ’16 election!

Donald Trump is not the first president to win the office by virtue of the Electoral College while losing what’s called the “popular vote.”

He is the first president, though, to keep yapping, yammering and blathering about the popular vote “loss.” He won’t give it a rest.

Uh, Mr. President? You won the damn election in 2016. The U.S. Constitution allows candidates to score enough Electoral College votes to win the election even if they fail to garner enough of the people’s actual votes to make it a clean sweep.

He won’t let go of the idiocy he keeps repeating that “illegal immigrants” cast votes for Hillary Clinton.

Good grief, dude. President Bush lost the popular vote in 2000 to then-Vice President Al Gore. It boiled down to counting those ballots in Florida. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled eventually that the ballot counting needed to stop. When it did end, Bush had 537 more votes than Gore had in Florida. He won the state’s electoral votes and, thus, Bush was elected president. It was done according to what the Constitution allows.

Did the 43rd president bitch and moan about losing the popular vote nationally to Al Gore? No! He took office and went to work immediately.

It’s too late for Trump to get to work now that he’s more than halfway through his term. He will keep griping about the alleged voter fraud. He won’t offer any evidence, or provide a shred of proof. He’ll just keep bloviating about it.

Donald Trump only validates the belief of many of us that political career is as fraudulent as his business career.

Memories of JFK’s death came pouring forth

DALLAS — Exhibits such as the one my brother-in-law saw today have this way of triggering so many memories.

We ventured to the Sixth Floor Museum, the one overlooking Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas, where the 35th president of the United States, John F. Kennedy, was murdered in front of the world.

The exhibit has been improved greatly since first time my wife and I visited it in the mid-1980s. It contains many more pictorial displays, more text, a wonderful audio tour, film and, of course, the window where the gunman fired on the president and Texas Gov. John Connally.

I was struck by the amount of attention paid at this museum to the slew of conspiracy theories that have kicked around since the Warren Commission filed its report in 1964. The new president, Lyndon Johnson, appointed Chief Justice Earl Warren to lead the panel to examine every detail it could about the assassination.

It returned with what I believe is the soundest plausible explanation: Lee Harvey Oswald, the disgruntled Marxist, sat in the window on the sixth floor of the Book Depository Building and fired three rounds from a bolt-action rifle, killing the president and wounding the Texas governor.

I was not quite 14 years of age when the world got the news.

My own theory in the moment was cut and dried: The Russians killed the president and were going to attack and invade the United States at any moment. That was how a 13-year-old mind worked in real time way back then. I guess I forgot that we would have a new president within minutes of the 35th president’s declaration of death. That’s what happened aboard Air Force One, when U.S. District Judge Sarah Hughes swore in President Johnson, who then asked for strength and prayers from the nation he was about to lead through this horrific tragedy.

I never have paid attentin to the idiotic conspiracy theories. I don’t believe any of them. I have retained faith in the commission headed by the nation’s chief justice.

Still, I was impressed to realize that the museum organizers saw fit at least to give many of those conspiracies a sufficient airing to at least present the many “other sides” of this most intriguing tragedy.

I remain convinced today, though, that Lee Harvey Oswald pulled the trigger … and that he did it all by himself.

Bush library and museum produces a delightful surprise

I made a trip into Dallas today with my brother-in-law to show him the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum. But when we walked in I received a peculiar surprise from one of the docents who greeted us.

She asked where we lived. I told her I live in Princeton and said my bro-in-law lives in Dripping Springs. Then I said, apparently with a joking tone in my voice, that I go back a ways with President Bush. “Oh, really?” she answered. “Tell me about that.”

I told her about the time in the spring of 1995, while I was working at the Amarillo Globe-News, I had the chance to interview the then-Texas governor in his State Capitol Building office in Austin. I mentioned that we chatted for more than an hour and that I came away impressed with the governor’s grasp of Texas government policy; he had been elected only a few months earlier and took office that January, the same month I started work as editorial page editor of the Globe-News.

She then told me to fill out a special card and give it to one of the receptionists at the welcome desk. They would forward it to the president’s staff and perhaps, maybe, possibly the former president himself might see it and respond in some personal manner to what I had written on the card.

The card asked for my name, address, phone number, e-mail address and then asked me to tell my “story” on the space provided at the bottom of the card. I mentioned that I interviewed the president, that we chatted for a good while and that it was “one of the highlights of my career.”

I mentioned to the docent that I doubted the president would remember my name, but that he might remember it he were provided some context associated with my name. She agreed, assuring me that President Bush is “very good with names.”

My wife and I visited the exhibit during the Christmas holiday to see a special display provided there. I did not fill out the card that I filled out today. Hence, the surprise at visiting the George W. Bush library and museum.

We shall see if he responds. As I told the docent, “If the president still drank, he is the kind of guy I would love to have a beer with.”

I won’t hold my breath. Still, it was nice to relive that true story.

DPS getting thrust into even more dangerous work

I have made an important acquaintance. He is a young man who serves as a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

He also has been tapped to serve — along with other DPS troopers — alongside Dallas Police Department officers in some of the high-crime neighborhoods of the state’s third-largest city.

One of those troopers got involved in a shooting today in South Dallas. Residents are calling for a thorough investigation; they deserve to know what happened and I hope DPS and Dallas PD are forthcoming. A Dallas City Council member wants DPS to pull the troopers out.

Well, count me as a Metroplex resident who endorses DPS’s presence to assist Dallas PD combat the rash of violent crimes that have struck the city.

My DPS friend told me he and his trooper colleagues work on traffic enforcement, enabling Dallas PD officers to concentrate more fully on the crime wave.

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered DPS officers to assist Dallas police, expressing concern about the crime spree that has been taking far too many innocent victims’ lives. The governor should be concerned. So should the residents of those neighborhoods affected most directly by the criminals who are doing them harm.

To that end, I stand with DPS — especially my young friend — as they lend a needed hand to quell the spasm of crime that has frightened many Dallas residents.

FEC chair lays it on the line

Donald Trump keeps making specious allegations about voter fraud.

The head of the Federal Elections Commission, Ellen Weintraub, has heard enough from the president of the United States. She wants him to either put up or shut the hell up about allegations of fraud in our nation’s elections.

She wrote the president a letter that includes this: “What I wrote to you in March 2017 is just as true now: Our democracy depends on the American people’s faith in our elections. Your voter-fraud allegations run the risk of undermining that faith,” Weintraub wrote. “Just as seriously, baseless allegations of fraud have been used to rationalize indefensible laws that deter certain U.S. citizens from exercising their right to vote. Words matter, and facts matter.”

Trump alleges vote fraud in N.H.

She wants Trump to produce any evidence of what he has alleged.

Don’t hold your breath, Mme. FEC Chair. It ain’t gonna happen. Nor will the president ever acknowledge that he stepped in it bigly. 

If only he would. If only he could curb his crass instincts. If only the president of the United States, our commander in chief/head of state/leader of the free world would appreciate the dignity that goes with holding the office he now occupies.

None of that will happen, either.

Which is why — among a multitude of other reasons — he needs to be defeated for re-election.

Fox hasn’t changed, Mr. President; some of ’em just doing their job

What do you mean, Mr. President, that “Fox has changed”? And you say you’re “not happy with it”?

If you don’t mind my borrowing a phrase: “Big fu**ing deal.”

Fox hasn’t changed, Mr. President. To my way of thinking, it remains uber-friendly to you and what pass for your policies. You still have your friends hosting those talk shows. “Fox & Friends,” Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jeannine Pirro, Laura Ingraham … am I missing someone? Probably.

It’s just that Fox also has some straight-away journalists who manage to do their jobs. Chris Wallace — who comes from solid journalistic stock, given that his dad was the great Mike Wallace — is but one example of what I mean. Shepard Smith is another. Neither of these men is an apologist for you the way Sean Hannity and the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts have proven to be.

I shouldn’t have to remind you, Mr. President, that answering difficult questions from the media is part of the job you inherited when you won that election in 2016. I know, it’s not written anywhere. But it’s in there, somewhere. Believe me, Mr. President. It’s there.

Your predecessors, every one of them from both political parties, have known that to be the case. You are cursed, though, with the thinnest of skins. As Jack Nicholson’s character, Marine Col. Nathan Jessep, said in “A Few Good Men,” You can’t handle truth!

Maybe you’re upset that Fox has a few token liberal commentators on its payroll these days. I saw where you referred to Juan Williams as “pathetic.” Hey, do you say the same thing about Donna Brazile, the former CNN and ABC News talking head? What about Geraldo Rivera, the grandstander who’s been with Fox since The Flood?

The fact that your perception that Fox has turned on you doesn’t make you “happy” doesn’t mean a damn thing. Presidents cannot dictate how the media do their job. The First Amendment protects the “press” and, by extension, all media from any government interference or coercion. You need to read the Constitution, sir. You took an oath to “defend” it; you damn sure need to know what you swore to protect.

So, my request of you, Mr. President, is a simple one. Pipe down. Shut the hell up. Worry about the important stuff … if you care enough to actually serve all Americans.

Will primary challenge ‘doom’ Trump? Maybe, but …

There once were a few presidential political truisms upon which one could count.

  • Incumbent presidents were almost impossible to defeat.
  • Presidents who faced intraparty challenges on the way to their nominations were damaged goods going into the election; they would lose.

Then along came Donald J. Trump to upset many politically traditional thoughts.

I am looking at the Republican Party challengers that are already running or are considering a run against Trump. Former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld already is in the hunt for the GOP nomination. Former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford might get in.

Will either or both of them be able to inflict enough damage on Trump to ensure he gets beat in November 2020? I wish.

Let’s flash back for a moment. President Johnson got challenged in 1968 by Sens. Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy in the Democratic primary. LBJ dropped out. RFK was murdered. Clean Gene lost the nomination to Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who then got beat by Richard Nixon. Republican President Ford faced a 1976 challenge from Ronald Reagan, and then lost the election to Jimmy Carter. President Carter got challenged by Sen. Edward Kennedy in 1980 and then wiped out by Reagan.

The future might seem bleak, then, for Donald Trump as he seeks re-election.

I am not going to count him out strictly on the basis of one or possibly two GOP challengers.

Trump has this way, strange as it seems, of demonizing his foes. He did so in 2016 while wiping out 16 GOP contestants and then as he did against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

What’s more, the cult following the president has developed within the Republican Party voting base suggests to many of us that the core Trump support is going to hold firm no matter what.

I do hope that Weld — and maybe Sanford — can soften up this guy enough for whomever the Democrats nominate, enabling the other party nominee to finish him off in the fall election next year. I want him out of office.

Except that Donald Trump has obliterated so many conventional political norms that it would be folly to presume any sort of tradition will remain true to form.

Where is POTUS on issues many of us support?

By my unofficial count, I believe Donald Trump has put forth exactly two policy pronouncements over the first half of his term with which I agree.

One of them deals with corrections reform; the other involves infrastructure renovation.

However, what does The Donald do with that Twitter account of his — the medium he uses ostensibly to make these policy announcements? He uses it to bash the media, concoct conspiracy theories about his opponents, bully his foes … and on and on in that vein.

I’m still waiting for some serious follow up on the first of the policy matters I mentioned, the one dealing with corrections reform and federal sentencing policies. Infrastructure repair essentially is off the table, given its trillion-dollar-plus price tag and the federal budget deficit and debt that are exploding before our eyes.

Sentencing reform came to the fore after Trump — at the urging of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West — commuted the sentence of a first-time drug offender. The president was correct to call attention to the inflexibility of federal sentencing policies. He said those policies should mirror states’ sentencing guidelines, which give judges and juries far more flexibility.

But the president isn’t using Twitter to push those policies. Instead, he is focusing on stupid disputes, petty arguments, insults and innuendo and an assortment of ridiculous feuds.

I want the president to make the case for the one remaining policy argument that, in my view, is worth discussing.

Step it up, Mr. President!

Lonely widower shows how love defeats hate

I had been searching for the symbolic meaning of a man whose wife died in the El Paso slaughter of 22 victims at the Walmart shopping center the other day.

Then it came to me. Anthony Basco has no surviving family members left. He was left to grieve alone when the lunatic gunman opened fire at the Walmart. Basco’s wife, Margie Reckard, was among the victims. Her husband had been putting flowers daily at the memorial erected in front for the store where the carnage took place. He has been living in his car in the parking lot of the store. Basco refuses to leave the memorial site.

Basco then invited the public to his wife’s funeral. And, oh brother, how the public responded.

More than 1,000 former strangers showed up to pay their respects to a woman they didn’t know and to cloak her grieving husband in the love he deserves to receive.

What is the moral of this tale? It is, to me, that love is far stronger than hate. The shooter who opened fire at the Walmart had declared war against Latin American immigrants. I do not know how Margie Reckard fell into that realm, but she died.

My point is that no matter how violent and vile hatred is expressed and no matter how many lives such hatred takes with it, love will emerge.

Anthony Basco is feeling the love of a community that is grieving right along with him.

I think this also symbolizes the meaning of “El Paso Strong.”

Sanford: Trump doesn’t deserve re-election, but he gets my vote

Former South Carolina congressman and governor Mark Sanford speaks out both sides of his mealy mouth.

He might run against Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nomination. He said he doesn’t believe Trump deserves re-election. He might campaign against him in the GOP primary.

But then …

When he’s asked whether he would vote for a Democrat in the (likely) event Trump wins the GOP nomination, Sanford said he is a “core Republican” and that yes, he would vote for Trump over the Democratic nominee.


Let’s ponder two quick points. One is that while Sanford might be a “core Republican,” the president is not. He is a Republican In Name Only who gloms onto GOP policies because they appeal to his base of supporters. He has no pre-presidential history within the once-great political party.

The second point is that Mark Sanford is the guy who, while serving as South Carolina governor, told his staff to lie to the media about his whereabouts. His staff declared the governor was “hiking the Appalachian Trail” while in fact he was taking a tumble in Argentina with the woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair.

Is this guy any more trustworthy than the president he wants to see defeated but who would get his vote anyhow? At best that is a debatable point.