Tag Archives: CNN

Beto backs off from an attack line against Cruz

As a former colleague and friend was fond of saying, “You can’t unhonk the horn.”

Beto O’Rourke is trying to unhonk the rhetorical horn by telling a CNN correspondent that his use of the “Lyin’ Ted” epithet against Ted Cruz perhaps is a step too far. He now sounds as if he regrets going quite so negative in his most recent debate with the Republican U.S. senator.

There’s a bit of charm in hearing the Democratic challenger acknowledge a case of weak knees in using the tag first hung on Cruz by Donald Trump when the men were competing in 2016 for the GOP presidential nomination.

Trump called him “Lyin’ Ted” and got huge laughs from campaign crowds. O’Rourke said in the men’s debate that the negative moniker sounded true to him, so he used it against Cruz.

Meeting in a town hall in McAllen with CNN’s Dana Bash, O’Rourke said he doesn’t feel “totally comfortable” taking what he called “a step too far.”

O’Rourke has second thoughts

The midterm campaign is drawing to a close. Cruz appears to be clinging to a lead of about 6 to 8 percentage points. O’Rourke is looking for any edge he can find. He has gone negative in his TV ad campaign in recent days. Indeed, he now joins Cruz, who’s been firing shots at O’Rourke for several weeks. We likely won’t hear any utterances of regret from The Cruz Missile over the tactics he has used to (mis)characterize O’Rourke’s policy pronouncements.

Do I believe O’Rourke went too far with the “Lyin’ Ted” reference? Aww … no. He didn’t. However, I don’t have to deal with any blowback from campaign rhetoric. O’Rourke believes he “may” have gone too far.

I would prefer O’Rourke to stay on the high road.

And … by the way … I still plan to vote for Beto.

Melania: most ‘bullied person in the world’? Hardly

Nice going, Mme. First Lady. You have a perfectly noble and legitimate cause upon which to base your first ladyhood and then  you trample all over it with a weird assertion about how you are among the “most bullied” people on Earth.

I could not believe my eyes and ears when I heard about this from Melania Trump.

She told ABC News the following, according to CNN: “I could say I’m the most bullied person on the world,” Trump told ABC News in an interview during her first solo trip to Africa last week … . You’re really the most bullied person in the world?” asked ABC News’ Tom Llamas during the exchange. “One of them, if you really see what people saying about me,” Trump said.

She isn’t among the most bullied people on Earth.

I feel confident in making that counter claim. Mrs. Trump  married a man who would become president no doubt knowing full well what she was getting in the bargain. Indeed, Donald J. Trump has dished out all sorts of bullying insults on his way to the presidency and, of course, since he became the Bully-er in Chief.

The message that Mrs. Trump wants to send forth is designed to call attention to how social media have become a bullying instrument used against children. That is a noble cause and I applaud that effort.

However, for her then to internalize and personalize it in this manner by suggesting that she is among the world’s top victims of this (mis)behavior detracts from the seriousness of a totally serious cause.

I am amazed she would say such a thing.

Colin Powell: Trump lacks moral authority

I once wished out loud that Colin Powell, the former Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman and secretary of state, would run for president of the United States.

He didn’t. His comments this week, though, have revived my interest in this soldier/statesman, who has declared that “We the People” has been replaced by “Me the president” in the mind of Donald J. Trump.

Powell’s bottom line is that Trump lacks the moral authority to be the world’s leader.

In a wide-ranging interview on CNN, Powell touched on a number of key issues, such as Trump’s supposed hatred of the media. “How can a president … get up and say that the media is the enemy of Americans? Hasn’t he read the First Amendment? You’re not supposed to like everything the press says or what anyone says in the First Amendment,” he said.

Powell needs to be heard

I don’t believe the president understands the First Amendment, or the founders’ intent when they protected the press against government interference or coercion … or bullying.

Powell said “the world cannot believe” that the government is separating children from their families as they cross the border into the United States illegally.

Oh, how I wish this man hadn’t taken himself out of the presidential running in the mid-1990s when he was the talk of the nation. But he did and all but declared there could be no way in the world he would run for the nation’s highest office.

Damn!

Trump keeps playing to his rabid, er, fervent base

Call him whatever you like — or maybe whatever I like.

Liar in Chief. Purveryor of Fake News in Chief. Prevaricator in Chief.

Donald J. Trump is continuing a sustained attack on the media, calling them — and yes, this man has some stones — merchants of “fake news.” This, coming from the man who promoted the lie that Barack Obama was not qualified to serve as president because, according to Trump, he was born abroad.

As The Hill reported: “I just cannot state strongly enough how totally dishonest much of the Media is. Truth doesn’t matter to them, they only have their hatred & agenda,” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

Trump believes this attack-the-media strategy is a winner. He is mistaken.

He comes off in my mind — and in the minds of millions of other patriotic Americans — as a goon seeking to intimidate those who work in a craft protected specifically by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Trump has gone after CNN and NBC. Occasionally he rails against The New York Times and The Washington Post. Damn, I wish he would say something about High Plains Blogger … but I fear he doesn’t see this blog from little ol’ me way out here in the heartland.

Oh, well.

But the president is treading on some dangerous turf as he continues to disparage the media, whose function includes a duty to hold government accountable. That means those who run the government, and that means the president of the United States.

Every one of Trump’s presidential predecessors has understood that necessity; some understood it more fully than others, to be sure.

This clown, this carnival barker, this unethical and corrupt-to-the-core wanna-be tyrant doesn’t get it.

He is a disgrace to his office.

Sen. McCain faces the final fight

The news was expected, but it remains a stunner nevertheless.

U.S. Sen. John McCain today announced he is terminating treatment to fight the aggressive brain cancer that has kept him at home for several months. He has fought the good fight, but as he noted in his statement, age (he is 81) and the cancer have taken their toll.

He doesn’t want to fight any longer.

This saddens me terribly. It should sadden all Americans who understand the sacrifice this man has made in the line of duty to the country he loves. He has spent more than 50 years serving his country: as a Naval aviator, a U.S. House member, a U.S. senator and a Republican presidential nominee.

He was shot down in 1967 over Hanoi during the height of the Vietnam War and taken prisoner. He served heroically — despite the claims of one prominent GOP politician.

Did I agree with Sen. McCain’s politics, his policy, his philosophy? No. This blog post, though, pays tribute to his service, his courage, his fortitude, guts, perseverance and dedication to country.

I know it’s no longer plausible to wish this brave warrior a full recovery. Glioblastoma is, in the words of Sen. McCain’s good friend former Vice President Joe Biden, “as bad as it gets.” However, the former VP has spoken often in the past about his friend’s courage in the face of insurmountable odds.

There is a lesson to be learned here. Politicians who cannot summon the courage to do the right thing when the chips are down need to steal a page from John McCain’s book of life’s lessons.

He is, as CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer described him this morning when the news broke, “a great American.”

May he find comfort and strength in the days ahead knowing that the nation is praying for him.

Facts are facts, period, Mr. Mayor … really!

Rudy Giuliani seems to have swilled Kellyanne Conway’s potion that allows for the belief in “alternative facts.”

Conway is the White House senior policy adviser to coined the “alternative facts” gem while responding to questions about then-White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s various assertions about this and that.

Now we have Donald Trump’s current personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, telling CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “nowadays … facts are the eyes of the beholder.”

Whoa! Hold on, Mr. Mayor.

From where I come from, facts are facts. There can be disputing the nature of facts. You either tell the truth or you lie.

Giuliani was responding to questions from Cuomo about the president’s harsh words about another former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault Newman.

Giuliani made the “eye of the beholder” crack, to which Cuomo reminded him that there’s no such qualifier involved with “facts.”

As USA Today reported: Whether intended in humor or not, the former New York mayor’s remark feeds into a perception among critics that the Trump administration often rejects objective facts and tries to confuse the public about what is true. 

Trump’s rejection of facts dates back at least to his refusal to accept that former President Barack Obama was a U.S. citizen despite being presented with conclusive evidence.

If all this idiocy didn’t involve the very credibility of our head of state, I would be laughing my behind off.

I’m not laughing now … any more than I laughed at Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts” nonsense.

POTUS seeks to taint a criminal proceeding

Imagine the President’s former campaign chairman is on trial for various felonies. Imagine the jury is in middle of deliberations. Imagine the President publicly calls the case unfair & praises the defendant There was a time when that kind of thing was considered inappropriate

— Jake Tapper, CNN news anchor

Jake Tapper’s tweet — posted above — actually understates how one should consider a president who seeks to prejudice a jury that is considering whether to convict or acquit someone of a major felony.

It is far worse than “inappropriate” for a president to rail against a trial involving a former top campaign official. I would call it something more akin to reprehensible, contemptible, disgraceful.

Yet this president sees nothing at all wrong with saying that a trial involving his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is “unfair” and that the court is trying to railroad him. He tells us that Manafort is an upstanding individual and a “good man.”

Manafort’s fate now is in the jury’s hands. He was indicted and brought to trial on charges involving tax evasion and money laundering. He faces a possible life term in prison. Manafort’s indictment was brought by the grand jury that received a complaint from special counsel Robert Mueller.

The prosecution presented witnesses. Manafort’s defense team was allowed to cross examine them, which did with vigor.

Normal presidential protocol would dictate that a president keeps his trap shut on a criminal proceeding. This one now is headed for a verdict. Yet Donald Trump keeps yapping, he keeps seeking to influence the outcome from the peanut gallery.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. Maybe we shouldn’t be appalled. I mean, this kind of ignorant approach to what I would call a form of jury tampering is part and parcel of Trump’s utter lack of understanding of presidential protocol, let alone of judicial conduct.

This individual, the president, is completely out of control.

Trump-McCain feud goes on and on

Oh, my goodness. Donald John Trump spent a lot of time today thanking damn near every veteran in politics for their service to the country. His thank-a-thon preceded his signing a $717 billion defense spending bill.

Oh, I forgot to mention that one veteran did not receive a presidential thank you.

That would be U.S. Sen. John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee. I’ll add, too, that Congress voted to name the defense bill in McCain’s honor.

Still, Donald Trump ignored the Arizona Republican while tossing all those bouquets.

There’s much more. Sen. McCain spent more than five years during the Vietnam War as a prisoner of the North Vietnamese after his Navy jet fighter was shot down over Hanoi in 1967. He was beaten, kept in solitary confinement, denied proper medical treatment for his wounds.

However, he and the president don’t exactly get along.

McCain has been battling an aggressive form of brain cancer. And, I should add, he cast a decisive vote against a Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which torpedoed Trump’s effort to remove former President Barack Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation.

I’ll add, finally, that presidential candidate Trump said in 2016 that Sen. McCain was a “war hero only because he was captured.”

CNN anchor Jake Tapper today took a moment to thank Sen. McCain for his service to the country. He said: “One person who wasn’t on that list of people that he thanked? Outspoken Trump critic and the namesake of the bill, Sen. John McCain,” Tapper said. “You know, the decorated war hero who was a prisoner of war and continues to serve as a United States senator, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.”

Tapper said, “Since President Trump would not do it, let us here on ‘The Lead’ congratulate Sen. John McCain and his family, and thank him for his service to the country.”

Good for Jake Tapper.

Shame on Donald Trump.

Feast or famine with Trump team

I’m tellin’ ya, it’s feast or famine with the people Donald Trump has chosen to surround him in the inner circles of government’s executive branch.

He picks some turkeys and sprinkles in a few soaring birds just to keep it, um, oh so interesting.

Sadly for the nation — and I don’t include the president in this analysis — he has picked far more turkeys than otherwise.

Betsy DeVos as education secretary? She knows not a damn thing about public education. Michael Flynn as national security adviser? He lasted 24 days before getting fired for lying to the FBI about Russia matters. Sean Spicer as press flack? His first burst out of the box in January 2017 was to chide the media over their reporting of the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd. Tom Price at health and human services? He’s gone over a spending scandal. Scott Pruitt at Environmental Protection? He’s gone too for the same reason as Price. Reince Priebus as chief of staff? He could organize a bake sale, let alone control the info flow at the White House.

Now is Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant whom Trump “fired” already who’s been canned as a White House special assistant. She’s now revealing some dirty secrets (allegedly) about the president. She broke a serious national security protocol by recording a conversation — in the Situation Room — with chief of staff John Kelly; that’s a serious no-no, Omarosa.

To be fair, the president has picked some legitimately fine public servants. I mentioned Kelly. He’s got James “Mad Dog” Mattis as defense secretary. He has Mike Pompeo at State. I also like Elaine Chao at Transportation. I also believe Gina Haspel at CIA will do well.

Dang! That’s all I can think of at the moment!

But you get the picture. Trump has surrounded himself with a cadre of goofballs, liars, sneaks and cheats.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza says the president’s “best people” boast has cratered. Read his essay here.

I am afraid the quality of his inner circle — some of whom have been indicted by the special counsel looking into the “Russia thing” — speaks as much about the man who hired them as the individuals themselves.

That would be you … Mr. President.

So, so weird.

A new context for ‘America, love it or leave it’?

I cannot quite get past the statement that Laura Ingraham made about immigration and the changing demographics that are being “foisted” on Americans who, like her, don’t like what those changes are bringing.

Ingraham is a noted conservative talk show host and a regular on the Fox News Channel. Her comments have drawn a good bit of criticism from those who accuse her of race-baiting.

Then comes this from CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who blasted Ingraham on his own TV program. “To turn a phrase back on our us-versus-them friends — if you don’t like what America is, you leave,” Cuomo said on his show “Prime Time.”

Read The Hill’s story here.

Do you get the irony in that statement?

A couple of generations ago, when Americans were protesting the Vietnam War, political conservatives bellowed to the hippies, yippies and other far-left protesters that they should leave the country if they disliked it so much.

“America, love it or leave it!” they shouted at them.

What I’m hearing now is that the “love it or leave it” mantra now has become the battle cry of those on the left to hurl angrily at those on the right.

Fantastic, man!