Category Archives: Donald Trump

‘Sad’ to watch POTUS trash the AG

Donald J. Trump continues to concoct reasons for why he believes Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a bad choice from the beginning.

He interviewed badly with the U.S. Senate; he couldn’t answer easy questions; he was “mixed up and confused.”

What absolute crap! The reason the president is miffed at the AG can be summed up in a single word: recusal.

Sessions recognized what Trump didn’t see coming: The AG’s role in Trump’s presidential campaign precluded him from being able to investigate matters involving the Russian government’s effort to influence the 2016 election outcome. He did what Justice Department policy and rules require: he recused himself from all things dealing with Russia.

And the president didn’t see that coming? He didn’t anticipate any kind of conflict of interest?

Because of his own ignorance of government ethics, Trump is now tell media outlets that he now doesn’t “have an attorney general.” He calls it “so sad.”

Go ahead, Mr. President. Fire the attorney general. Understand, though, that the AG — whether it’s Sessions or someone else — doesn’t work for the president. He works for the rest of us out here. He works also for those of us who didn’t support Trump’s effort to become president.

The attorney general shouldn’t do the president’s bidding because of some effort to protect the president’s political future.

If you’re looking for a “sad” circumstance regarding Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, it is because the AG did something correct and proper and that action — all by itself — has aroused Donald Trump’s rage.

‘Hate’ is an ugly four-letter word

A few of the more ardent critics of High Plains Blogger have leveled an accusation at me that cannot go unanswered.

They contend that I “hate” Donald John Trump Sr. They ascribe my so-called “hatred” of the president to the constant drumbeat of criticism this blog levels at him daily … often multiple times each day.

Where do I begin? Let me start with this: The Bible I have read since I was a boy has taught me to avoid hatred of other human beings. Jesus Christ’s teachings in the New Testament are quite clear about that. He tells us to “love” our enemies. Clear? Sure it is!

Donald Trump does engender a lot of intense feelings in my gut. He assumed the presidency after campaigning on multiple themes of insult, innuendo and invective against all his foes, be they the gaggle of Republicans who challenged him in the GOP primary or the Democrat who faced him in the 2016 general election.

The president didn’t run on the basis of some deep-seated political ideology. He lacks a moral foundation. Trump’s entire life prior to his becoming a politician was based on a singular goal: personal enrichment, aggrandizement and adulation.

He has transferred all of that to the White House.

How in the world does one support such a man? How does one follow this individual’s clarion call? I cannot. I do not. I never will.

Does that mean I hate this man? No. It means that I find his presidency to be loathsome on its face, that I detest the manner he has used to treat others and that I find no redeeming personal qualities that can excuse any of that.

I am acutely aware that none of this is going to persuade those High Plains Blogger critics of my actual motivation in criticizing the president. I also am aware they’ll read these few words, laugh out loud and then respond with some push back about how my expressed feelings only are intended to disguise my actual hatred for the man who is our president.

I cannot prevent them from thinking that, nor will I prevent them from expressing it in response to anything I say on this blog. That is their call. They are welcome to express their opinion.

Hatred, though, just isn’t part of how I roll. It might look like it to those who believe that such motivation fuels these comments. Fine. Let ’em believe whatever they want.

There. I feel better now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.

The walls are closing in on the president

I am pretty sure we can toss aside the comment from the White House that Paul Manafort’s guilty plea will have no impact on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election.

We have come to expect such false bravado from Donald J. Trump’s team. It delivered the goods yet again when Manafort pleaded guilty to two felony charges and gave Mueller a promise to “cooperate” with his probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Manafort is the biggest fish that Mueller has reeled in. Manafort is the former campaign chairman for Trump. He left the campaign in mid-stride, handing over campaign management duties to Kellyanne Conway.

I, of course, have no way of knowing with any certainty about the mood within the White House. However, when I do the math, I find that two plus two still equals four.

Manafort’s guilty plea and pending cooperation cannot bode well for the president. That brings me to the question of the day: Will the president pardon Manafort and expose himself to accusations of obstruction of justice?

The threat is growing

Trump shouldn’t go there. Then again, he has shown a tendency to do things just because he can. The president has unquestioned power to pardon anyone he chooses. Is this president enough of a fool to do the most foolish thing imaginable at this point in the investigation? I am not putting a single thing past this guy.

Yes, the walls are closing in. However, I won’t predict the president’s downfall. I mean, he wasn’t supposed to win the 2016 election in the first place.

We all know what happened.

Hoping that ‘truth’ wins this war

Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” doesn’t plow a lot of new ground regarding Donald J. Trump’s slipshod administration.

Still, to hear a renowned print journalist declare there to be a “war against truth” within the administration has a way of getting one’s attention.

“Fear” has been published. I’m awaiting my copy via Amazon in a few days. Woodward has been making the talk-show circuit, telling interviewers that the president is waging a “war against truth.”

It is the 19th book Woodward has written. He has covered nine presidents of the United States, dating back to the Nixon administration. All the presidents from Richard Nixon forward — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — have felt the sting of Woodward’s penchant for reporting the truth.

The current president has taken an entirely different tack when pushing back against Woodward. He calls the jounalist’s work “fiction” and has launched a campaign to discredit a man known for meticulous reporting techniques. He produces multiple sources and stands squarely behind his reporting.

Time to ‘wake up’

I continue to believe the reporter more than I believe the president, a man known as a serial liar who appears genetically wired to prevaricate … even when the truth stands in the way.

Woodward said his former boss at the Washington Post, the late Ben Bradlee, used to live by the credo that “the truth will emerge” no matter what.

I’ll maintain the faith that the truth will emerge even as the president seeks to deny its existence.

Trump vs. Woodward: My money is on the journalist

If I had to pick which man — Donald J. Trump or Bob Woodward — is more credible, believable, truthful and trustworthy, I am going to go with Woodward every day of the week …  and twice on Sunday.

Woodward’s 19th book, “Fear,” was released today on the 17th year commemorating the 9/11 terror attack. It tells a stark story of dysfunction within the Trump White House operation. It speaks to attempts to prevent the president from acting on his more dangerous impulses.

Trump has blasted Woodward. So have many of his top aides, senior advisers, Cabinet hands. I’m interested in the lack of specificity regarding the criticism.

Woodward’s history as a journalist — dating back to the Watergate era that he covered along with his Washington Post reporting partner Carl Bernstein — reveals a journalist who takes meticulous care to ensure he reports the truth.

White House steps up attacks

I am sitting out here in the peanut gallery; I am aware that I am far from the fracas. However, Woodward’s reporting techniques have served well enough for him over the course of more than four decades. He has achieved iconic status for a good reason. The man does a thorough job of ensuring the veracity of whatever story he is seeking to tell.

Trump? His record of veracity?

Umm. Not so good. Not nearly so reliable.

For the president to challenge the reputation of a legendary print journalist, thus, is laughable on its face.

Except that none of it is funny.

‘Well-oiled machine’ needs serious lube job

Donald John Trump’s delusions keep mounting up.

Take what he said again this weekend, that the White House is “well-oiled.” It’s all going swimmingly, according to the president. No worries at all. The executive branch is functioning precisely as it should and the president — he hastens to add — is doing more than any president in history.

A new book, “Fear,” written by legendary Washington journalist Bob Woodward, tells a different story. And, oh yes, there’s that now-infamous anonymous essay published in The New York Times that tells essentially the same tale that Woodward has laid out.

And that is? The White House is rife with chaos. Staff members are in near-panic mode. The president cannot be trusted to make the right decisions every time.

Donald Trump says it’s all a ruse. He said Woodward has made up all the things he reports in “Fear.” The mystery essayist is a “coward” who faces a Justice Department investigation, according to Trump.

That is the sign of a well-oiled machine running the executive branch of the federal government? Hardly, man. It’s the sign of a White House and a president with a shallow bench that cannot fill key posts.

Yep. The White House is in serious disarray.

The anonymous essay doesn’t tell us much new about the White House operation, say observers in Washington, D.C. As for the Woodward book, it, too, tells of a chaotic atmosphere.

Trump can believe what he says, I suppose. What galls me and perhaps millions of other Americans is that he expects others to believe what he says as well.

I do not believe him. The White House has become something just short of a loony bin.

‘Treason’ gets misused yet again

Donald J. Trump has this fetish involving the word “treason.”

He tosses it out there, accusing others of committing such acts without understanding how the U.S. Constitution actually defines the term. It’s quite specific and has not a damn thing to do with newspapers publishing anonymous op-ed essays submitted by someone at the inner circle of the Trump administration.

Article III Section 3 says this about treason: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

“Levying war … or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

How is the president misusing the term? He tweeted a message “TREASON” immediately after word came that The New York Times had published the anonymous op-ed essay. Trump is wrong. I would say “deliberately” wrong, except that he likely hasn’t ever read the constitutional definition of “treason.” The essay speaks to a “resistance” movement within the White House that seeks to protect the nation from the president’s more troublesome instincts.

As for the “aid and comfort” clause in Article III, perhaps the president ought to be a whole lot more circumspect if he is going to toss the t-word out at his foes. The closest thing I’ve seen to providing aid and comfort to hostile powers has been Trump’s shameful refusal to condemn specifically the Russian attack on our 2016 presidential election.

A president who knows better is likely to avoid playing fast and loose with a term that defines the worst crime one can commit against the United States.

What’s more, the punishment for such a crime is, um, death. Is that what Donald Trump is suggesting should happen to whoever is responsible for an anonymously written essay?

I mean, seriously?

Mixed feelings about Obama’s return to the arena

I must admit to harboring some deeply mixed — and often conflicting — feelings about former President Obama’s return to the public arena.

The ex-president today went to Champaign, Ill., and singled out his successor, Donald J. Trump, by name. He was directly critical of the president, saying that Trump isn’t the “cause” of what ails the nation, but is a “symptom” of it.

Why the mixed feelings?

I have stated already that I support the post-presidency profiles adopted by George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush. That is, they chose to remain silent while their immediate successors — Bill Clinton and Obama, respectively — assumed the reins of power. It was Bush 41 who said that he had had his time in the spotlight, and it was time to get out of the way.  Bush 43 said essentially the same way when he moved aside after the 2008 election.

However, these are different times. We are now governed by a profoundly different sort of president. Donald Trump has continually blasted the policies of his immediate predecessor and spoken untruths about the impact of Obama’s presidency on the nation he led for eight years.

And as Barack Obama said today, Trump has refused to stand up to (a) Russian hackers who attacked our electoral system in 2016, (b) Nazis and other white supremacists and (c) bullies of any stripe.

So, he’s back in the arena. Obama likely is going to energize to disparate wings of the political spectrum: those who oppose the current president’s policies and those who support them.

I also want to join others who’ve said already that it’s a joy to listen to a former president who can speak to the nation in cogent, declarative sentences. Barack Obama’s eloquence stands in the starkest consequence to the mindless rambling we hear from his immediate successor.

***

Here are Obama’s remarks. Spoiler alert: It’s a long video. If you have the time, listen to it.

Loyalty to what … not to whom

We’re hearing a lot these days about the word “loyalty.”

As Donald Trump fumes and seethes over the publication of an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, the president and his allies keep talking about the “disloyalty” exhibited in the essay from a “resistance movement” inside the White House that seeks to protect the nation from Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

I am aware of the oaths that all these individuals take when they assume their public service jobs. The loyalty they pledge isn’t to the man, but to the law, to the U.S. Constitution and there’s an implied loyalty to citizens of the country.

Trump’s insistence of personal loyalty is misplaced and is the result of a man with no experience in public service.

It’s been reportedly widely for more than a year that the president fired FBI Director James Comey when he couldn’t extract a personal loyalty pledge from Comey. Attorney General Jeff Sessions seems to have been held to the same standard when he took the job as AG; when he recused himself from probe into “the Russia thing,” the president took that as an act of personal disloyalty.

A president who worked exclusively in the private sector prior to becoming a national politician doesn’t understand the implications of the oath he and his lieutenants take.

Once more, with feeling: These men and women pledge loyalty to the nation, its laws and the Constitution — not to the man at the top of the executive branch chain of command.

Op-ed writer has committed ‘treason’? Good grief!

Let me see if I have this right.

Someone within the Donald J. Trump administration writes a commentary, submits it to the New York Times, which the newspaper publishes anonymously. It speaks to chaos and panic within the White House and to an administration “resistance” movement to shield the nation from the president’s more impulsive instincts.

The president gets so angry he demands that the NYT release the writer’s name so that he or she can be turned over “to the government.”

For what? To be prosecuted for, um, an unspecified “crime”? The president is off his rocker. He’s gone ’round the bend. He’s off the rails.

The writer — whoever he or she is — has every right to speak his or her mind. The U.S. Constitution guarantees it. They committed not a single act of “treason,” which the president alluded to in a Twitter message.

Many of Trump’s senior advisers are running away from the op-ed, saying they didn’t write it. Not all of them have offered the denial.

What is so remarkable and, frankly, disgraceful is that Trump is categorizing this act as “treasonous.” One can question the ethics of publishing an anonymous essay; one also can question the courage of the author who refused to put a name on the submission. Those are legitimate debating points.

However, treason is way off the mark. It is beyond the pale. For the president to imply a threat that the op-ed author should be arrested and detained speaking his or her mind reveals — yet again — total ignorance of what is contained in the U.S. Constitution.