Tag Archives: 2016 election

Would a career have survived Donald Trump era?

I don’t think much any longer about the career I left behind nearly six years ago.

It was a fruitful, modestly successful career in print journalism. It ended quickly and unhappily — in the moment.

As I look back on it today and as I ponder the direction the nation took in November 2016 when it elected Donald John Trump to the presidency, I am actually grateful to have been “reorganized” out of a job I thought I was doing pretty well.

My question centers on this: Could I have survived in my position as editorial page editor of a conservative newspaper, serving a conservative community as Donald Trump campaigned for and then served in the highest office in the land?

The answer I am sure is a categorical, emphatic “No! As in hell no!”

Over the years I wrote editorials for newspapers in Texas and in Oregon I had to write opinions with which I disagreed. I wrote editorials endorsing candidates for public office who didn’t get my vote in the ballot box. I would compose editorial editorials about policy proclamations that I found objectionable; or I would write editorials against policies I supported.

That’s all part of working for The Man. Or, as a former colleague of mine once reminded me, “If you take the man’s money you play by the man’s rules.”

How would I have done during the presidency of Donald Trump?

Not well … at all!

I am trying to imagine how I would react if my corporate bosses had told me, “We’re going to endorse Trump over Hillary Clinton; please draft an editorial for us to examine before we publish it.”

Trump would have presented a serious dilemma for me. I cannot stand the thought of this man occupying the presidency, let alone making decisions that affect all Americans. It’s visceral, man. It’s personal. His prior record is replete with examples of fraud — moral, financial, you name it. He brought not a scintilla of interest — let alone record — of public service to the presidency.

How in the world could I possibly say anything positive about this guy? I cannot.

Yes, I have used this blog to speak positively since he became president. There have been damn few opportunities. I’ve taken them, but I’ll admit to swallowing hard prior to writing those positive words.

Could I have worked for an organization that throws its corporate support behind this charlatan/president and then demanded that I be the paper’s mouthpiece?

Not in a million years. Never.

Thus, I am glad to be on my own.

No way should Mueller cut off the Russia probe

My ears are about to burst into flames. Or … maybe my head is about to explode, blowing my noggin into smithereens.

Donald Trump’s legal team — led by the likes of Rudy Giuliani and Jay Sekulow — keep yapping that special counsel Robert Mueller needs to call his examination of “The Russia Thing” to a halt. He needs to end it now, they say.

Giuliani suggests Mueller has done something potentially illegal. He ain’t spilling the beans, as if he has any beans to spill.

Look, Mueller is a former FBI director who served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama. He took office right after 9/11. He is a pro. He is a dedicated public servant. He is a decorated Marine who saw combat during the Vietnam War.

He also is a meticulous lawyer who has been tasked by the Department of Justice to find out whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Mueller’s appointment by DOJ also was hailed universally by Republicans and Democrats. Don’t you remember that? I damn sure do. He deserved the high praise he got from both sides of the aisle.

What’s changed? Only this, as far as I can tell: Mueller is tightening the rope around the White House and well might have discovered something hinky within the Trump campaign, even though the president keeps declaring there was “no collusion.”

I don’t want to take Donald Trump’s word for it. The president’s penchant for prevarication precludes anyone from taking anything he says seriously.

I prefer to hear the final verdict from Robert Mueller.

That is, if my ears don’t catch fire and my skull doesn’t explode listening to the rants from Donald Trump’s loudmouth legal eagles.

Avoid ‘perjury trap’? Sure, just tell the truth!

The president of the United States is highly unlikely to appear voluntarily before the special counsel who is examining whether the president’s 2016 campaign colluded with Russian hackers who interfered in our election.

I say that wishing Donald Trump would agree to meet with Robert Mueller.

Trump said last year that he was “100 percent” in favor of meeting with Mueller. Silly us, particularly those of us who took the president at his word in the moment. He lied to us then. He likely would lie to Mueller and his legal team.

Therein is the reason why the president won’t agree to meet voluntarily with Mueller. Trump’s legal team fears what they call a “perjury trap.” That is as phony a dodge as anything they have said regarding Trump and this investigation.

The most sure-fire way to avoid committing perjury is for the president to tell the truth. If the special counsel or one of his deputies were to ask him a direct question, he should answer it with equal directness — and with the “whole truth.”

If the president were wired to tell the truth instead of lie constantly, this “perjury trap” nonsense would be irrelevant. Except that this president is wired to prevaricate, to fabricate and to lie through is teeth.

That’s why he won’t meet with Robert Mueller. At least not of his own volition.

Are we entering Watergate 2.0?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m beginning to sense a certain frenzy developing around the White House that — if memory serves — resembles the climate that fell over the place during the Watergate scandal.

Yes, Watergate happened a long time ago. President Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974 just as he was about to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. As Carl Bernstein — one of the Washington Post reporters who covered the story — noted the other day, the “real heroes” of the Watergate saga turned out to be congressional Republicans — led by Sen. Barry Goldwater — who told the president he had no Senate support were the impeachment to go to trial.

That kind of “heroism” is missing at the moment.

Still, my sense is that there is a growing tension beginning to develop in Washington, on Capitol Hill and the White House as special counsel Robert Mueller continues his work to determine if there was any “collusion” between the Trump campaign team and Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

I am in no position to know how this case will conclude. It well might end with Mueller saying, “I got nothin’, folks” — which I doubt will happen. He might recommend criminal proceedings against key White House aides, maybe even the president himself.

Or … he could scold the president and his team and leave all the political consequences up to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

However, those of us of a certain age — such as Americans, like me, who came of age politically during the Watergate era — might be feeling a bit of deja vu as we watch the current White House writhe and squirm as the special counsel goes about his complicated task.

I know I am.

Environmental laws to blame for fires? Huh?

Donald John Trump hadn’t said much — if anything — to offer support for the first responders fighting the fires in California.

Then he weighed in with this message via Twitter:

California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!

Huh? That’s what the president of the United States has to say about fires that are ravaging one of our 50 states, killing at least two firefighters, putting residents at risk, endangering human beings?

He talks about “bad environmental laws” that inhibit use of water to fight the fires.

I realize that California went overwhelmingly for the other major-party presidential candidate in 2016. I also am quite certain the good folks in California would appreciate a word of support and assurance that the president has their backs as state and local first responders put themselves in harm’s way to protect the people they take an oath to serve.

Has he offered “thoughts and prayers” for the loved ones of the firefighters who have died?

Two events: contrasting styles, confusing messages

The juxtaposition of two events the other day — just hours apart — speaks volumes about the incoherence of the Donald Trump administration and its outlook on national security threats.

Five members of the president’s national security and intelligence team stood before the nation and delivered a stern, but unified message. The Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016 and are doing so as we speak. These men and one woman were serious in their tone. They were measured. They all spoke with concern in their voices and delivered an urgent message: Our national security is at risk as is our electoral democratic process.

Then came the hysterical rants of the commander in chief. Six hours after the White House press briefing, Donald Trump stood before a campaign rally and bellowed “hoax!” in describing the Russia attack. He launched into an idiotic tirade against Democrats, against the “fake, fake, disgusting media,” and damn near every other perceived foe out there on the horizon.

The contrast in style and in message couldn’t be more profound.

Or more frightening.

Trump is the man in charge. The individuals who are charged with protecting our national security answer report to a goofball! It’s as clear as that.

Trump continues to deny the obvious attack on our electoral process. He continues to equivocate and make excuses. He doesn’t understand what his national security adviser, the homeland security secretary, the director of national intelligence, the FBI director and the National Security Agency director all know with absolute clarity.

The Russians have attacked us. They are continuing to do so.

The president is giving the Russians “aid and comfort” by undermining the concerns expressed by our national security team.

Disgraceful.

Just how can they tolerate being undermined?

This is as baffling and confusing a circumstance as any I can find within the Donald Trump administration.

Several key intelligence and national security officials — including at least two Cabinet-level authorities — declare for all the world to hear that the Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016; they all say the same thing, that the Russians acted alone and that they are in the process of doing the same thing to our 2018 midterm election. They enter the White House press room, listen to press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders say a few words, then they all speak in unison.

Then the president of the United States, Donald John Trump, flies to a campaign rally and declares the Russian attack a “hoax.” He blames Democrats and the so-called “fake and disgusting news” for fomenting the notion that the Russians interfered in our election, that they sought to manipulate the outcome.

The baffling and confusing part?

How do these individuals charged with administering our intelligence and national security agencies tolerate being undermine, undercut and undone by the commander in chief?

How in the name of their sacred oaths do they stay on their jobs while the president continues to disparage and disrespect them? He undermines their work, insults their intelligence and does damage to our national security.

Surely they cannot all be without principles. Surely they must understand what Donald Trump is doing to their credibility and that his insistence that the Russia attack is a “hoax” gives aid and comfort to a hostile foreign power.

I won’t call it “treason,” at least not yet … but damn!

It is inching very close to it.

POTUS turns back on intelligence chiefs

The nation’s top intelligence and national security gurus stood before the nation this week at the White House and declared what many of knew already.

The Russians attacked our democratic system in 2016 and are engaging in a similar attack at this moment, trying to disrupt the 2018 midterm election.

All of them said the same thing. They sang in perfect harmony.

Then the president of the United States jetted off to a campaign rally in Pennsylvania. He rambled on for more than an hour. He trashed the “fake news” media. He railed against Democrats. The president called the Russian attack a “hoax.”

Do you think Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump Sr. would deign to offer some perspective or context about what the nation’s intelligence hierarchy had said just a little earlier in the day in the White House? Heavens no!

Trump was intent on whipping up the crowd that gathered to hear his campaign pitch. Mission accomplished, Mr. President.

He continues to dismiss this Russian attack. He continues to give short shrift to the need to protect our democratic process against future attacks. He ignores the “blinking red lights” that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said are warning us of impending peril at the hands of hostile-power cyber warriors.

As I listen to the president’s voice keep rising, and as I watch him rant and rail against his foes, my fear keeps getting reaffirmed.

The president is not living up to the sacred oath he took to protect the government and, thus, our nation, against our enemies.

WH provides phony cover for Trump

White House senior aides are swilling the Kool-Aid that makes them lie for the president of the United States.

They keep saying that Donald J. Trump is just dying to talk to special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that is examining whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our democratic system in 2016.

Does anyone really believe Trump wants to talk to Mueller? Does anyone believe that he can skate through an interview with a meticulous lawyer who has been working for more than a year in search of the truth behind this matter?

I do not believe it for a minute. Indeed, Trump has been getting plenty of armchair legal advice from Republicans to stay as far away from Mueller as possible.

That is far closer to the truth than the fiction being tossed out there by the White House staff and by Trump’s legal team.

Mueller appears to be closing in … on something or someone! I have no clue where he is going with this probe.

If the president were to ask me for my advice, I likely should say: Don’t do it, Mr. President. Then again, given that I detest the president, maybe I would succumb to the mischievous angels on my shoulder and tell him: Sure thing, go for it!

However, I am nowhere near the center of this tumult. I do believe that the Trump/White House legal team is lying about the president’s so-called “desire” to talk to Mueller.

No, sir, Putin was ‘happy’ you won

Donald J. Trump’s lying is accelerating to a breakneck pace.

Just three weeks after Russia’s strongman, Vladimir Putin, said he was glad to see Trump win the 2016 presidential election, the president said this at Pennsylvania political rally:

“I’ll tell you what, Russia is very unhappy that Trump won, that I can tell you. But I got along great with Putin.”

Huh? What? Is he, um, delusional?

Yes! He is! Without question.

The president also might be losing his marbles. OK, that’s too harsh. I don’t think he’s losing cognition or that he suffers from dementia.

Trump’s obsession with himself is spiraling out of control. Not that it had that far to go to reach that point in the first place. He has been self-obsessed for decades.

To think he won election in 2016 to the first public office he ever sought. And it just had to be the presidency of the United States of America.

Frightening.