Category Archives: Donald Trump

‘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.

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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.

Get ready for a serious ‘witch hunt’

Donald John Trump has been calling a detailed investigation into possible collusion with Russian operatives seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election a “rigged witch hunt.”

Of course … special counsel Robert Mueller’s exhaustive and meticulous investigation is no such thing.

However, we might be getting ready to watch the real thing unfold. A serious witch hunt emanating from within the White House as an enraged president seeks to find the identity of the “senior White House official” who wrote an op-ed column published today in The New York Times.

Of course, I have no way of knowing this, but I strongly suspect that Trump has released the proverbial hounds to find the source of the essay. He or White House chief of staff John Kelly will confront everyone they can imagine who might have written such a thing; my money is on Kelly doing the heavy lift, given the president’s inability/unwillingness to confront someone directly.

However, I am quite sure we’re going to witness a serious “witch hunt” that seeks to reveal who has spoken a truth about the Trump administration that many of us have suspected all along.

Jeb Bush was right: We got ‘chaos’

Jeb Bush ran against Donald Trump for the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary. That said, what’s coming next isn’t an original thought from me; I heard it come from someone else, but I’ll offer it anyway.

It is that Jeb Bush told us that Trump’s presidential candidacy was rife with “chaos” and that he would be a chaotic president if the nation lost its mind and elected him.

Jeb was right! He was more right than many of us imagined at the time.

Sure, the former Florida governor became the butt of insults from Trump while the men competed for the GOP nomination. However, I’ll be danged if he didn’t call it exactly right.

Here’s the thing, though: “Chaos” now seems to be among the tamest things we can say about Trump’s administration. More chilling descriptions are emerging: unhinged, frightening, threat to national security.

Surely, we are witnessing our share of chaos, confusion and controversy from the Trump administration. Every single day produces something new. Every day we see the president swirling in the maelstrom of tumult.

Frankly, I am amazed that Jeb Bush hasn’t gotten the credit — until now! — for the prescience he exhibited while campaigning against Donald Trump.

When does POTUS become too much of a ‘distraction’?

You hear it all the time from public officials who get embroiled in public controversy or scandal, if you wish to call it that.

“I don’t want to become a distraction,” they say. “Being such a distraction makes it impossible for me to do my job. Therefore, I resign from this office to make way for public policy to continue without these other side issues swirling around.”

With that, I believe it’s fair to ask: When does a president of the United States of America himself become too much of a “distraction” for his agenda?

Let me say this straight up and straight out: I do not believe Donald J. Trump is going to resign. Nor do I believe he should quit … at least not yet.

A man nominated to join the U.S. Supreme Court testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. That’s a huge deal, yes? Then, kaboom! The New York Times publishes an anonymously written op-ed from a senior White House official saying that he or she is part of a team effort to protect the United States from the president’s more dangerous impulses.

This essay comes directly on the heels of a preview of a book, “Fear,” written by The Washington Post legendary Bob Woodward, that speaks to the interminable chaos, confusion and, yes, “fear” within the White House.

How does the president govern with all these, um, “distractions” threatening to swallow him whole.

President Johnson said on March 31, 1968 that he could not put his own political future ahead of the issues troubling the nation; he told the nation that “I will not seek, and will not accept the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

Six years later, President Nixon spoke of distraction, too, as he tendered his resignation in the wake of the Watergate scandal. He couldn’t govern. He couldn’t move any legislative priorities forward.

What is the threshold? Where does it rest? When do these “distractions” become too much even for a president who calls himself a “stable genius” and a self-proclaimed expert on every issue known to the presidency?

These are questions that well might begin to boil to the top of the public discourse over what we’re witnessing in real time.

Woodward peels bark off Trump White House

I feel quite comfortable making this assertion, which is that Robert Woodward is not some schmuck seeking to make a name for himself.

Oh, no. Woodward is one of the country ‘s most renowned print journalists and he has just published a book that talks about life inside the Donald Trump administration. He made his name by reporting on an earlier presidential scandal, that thing called “Watergate,” which ended with the resignation of the nation’s 37th president, Richard M. Nixon.

Woodward’s latest volume is, um, shall we say an unflattering portrait.

The book, “Fear,” talks about how the president referred to Attorney General Jeff Sessions as “mentally retarded” and mocked the AG’s southern accent. It references a mock Q&A to prepare for a possible interview with special counsel Robert Mueller and how Trump exploded in anger, calling Mueller’s probe into alleged Russian collusion during the 2016 presidential campaign a “goddamn hoax.”

According to The Washington Post, where Woodward works as an associate editor: A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.

Also, according to The Post: Again and again, Woodward recounts at length how Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs and his contempt for the mainstream perspectives of military and intelligence leaders.

To think Americans actually elected this guy president of the United States, commander in chief of history’s greatest military machine and the Leader of the Free World.

Oh, the humanity!

I think I now know what I want for Christmas.

Trump displays limitless amount of inappropriateness

Donald J. Trump amazes me, if you can believe that.

The president’s willingness to inject himself into ongoing legal investigations is utterly astonishing. He keeps firing off Twitter messages that seek to coerce, intimidate and bully federal investigators looking into government corruption.

And, oh yes, he continues to undermine the Department of Justice’s professional prosecutors as well as the attorney general, the man he appointed to lead the DOJ.

The Justice Department has charged U.S. Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter, two Republicans — one from New York, the other from California — on corruption allegations. Trump doesn’t like that, given that he, too, is a member of the GOP.

He tweeted this: Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……

So, in effect, Trump is saying that Sessions and the Justice Department shouldn’t do their jobs. They shouldn’t proceed where the evidence takes them. They need to place the protection of the GOP majority in Congress ahead of the law on the eve of the midterm election coming up in November.

Good, ever-lovin’ grief, man!

I keep having to stipulate that although I am no fan of Sessions, he doesn’t deserve the constant harangue he is getting from the president. So damn what if Collins and Hunter were early and vocal supporters of Donald Trump? That doesn’t exempt them from law enforcement investigation when evidence surfaces that implicates them. DOJ gumshoes are doing the job they signed on to do.

I am sickened to the max at Trump’s continuing inappropriate use of Twitter to attack the Department of Justice, a key executive branch agency. Doesn’t the president realize that he is the chief executive of the federal government?

I have to ask, moreover, this question: If the president is so innocent of the questions being leveled against him, why does he keep acting like a guilty individual?