Tag Archives: Donald Trump

This is meant as a defense of POTUS?

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders no doubt intended to mount a stout defense of the president of the United States.

It somehow seemed to fall a bit flat, sounded a bit hollow.

Sanders was asked about the accusation that Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken groped and kissed a TV news anchor when the two of them were on a USO tour in 2006. Franken — who hadn’t yet joined the Senate — has acknowledged doing it and has apologized for his actions.

What about the myriad accusations that have been leveled against Donald J. Trump? Sanders said they differ from what Franken has confronted.

According to the Huffington Post:

“I think that this was covered pretty extensively during the campaign,” Sanders said. “We addressed that then. The American people, I think, spoke very loud and clear when they elected this president.”

“How is this different?” the reporter asked.

“I think in one case specifically, Sen. Franken has admitted wrongdoing, and the president hasn’t,” Sanders replied. “I think that’s a very clear distinction.” 

Yep. There you have it. The president hasn’t admitted to anything … as if he ever admits to doing a single wrong thing.

To be fair, none of the allegations against Trump has been proved — although he was recorded on a 2005 audio recording all but acknowledging that he could grab women by their “p****” if he felt like it.

Yes, Mr. POTUS, pictures — and words — do matter

I now am utterly convinced that Donald J. Trump has no clue, none at all, about self-awareness and how someone with zero moral authority should refrain from speaking out on, um, morality.

The president wasted little time in tweeting a response to the accusation that U.S. Sen. Al Franken groped and kissed a woman without her consent. He referred to Franken as “Frankenstien” and said a picture is “worth a thousand words.”

Trump isn’t commenting via Twitter on that other guy whose alleged sexual misconduct is all the rage these days: Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, who is accused of assaulting underage girls when he was a 30-something prosecutor.

Imagine my (faux) surprise, will ya?

I concur with the president that what Franken did was inexcusable. It was reprehensible and the Minnesota Democratic lawmaker should be chastised in the strongest terms possible.

However …

Trump’s tweet flings the door wide open to conversation about his demonstrated lack of respect for women. He all but admitted on that infamous “Access Hollywood” audio recording that he groped women because his celebrity status made it so easy for him. He said he could grab them by their genital area.

The revelation about Trump’s behavior surfaced about a month before the 2016 presidential election. Lots of Americans were aghast and outraged by what he had said in 2005. In the end, it mattered little as Trump was elected anyway.

But now we’re getting some more buzz about women who say they have been sexually harassed and abused by the man who would become president of the United States.

Why the renewed interest in Trump’s own seedy, sordid past? Because the tweeter in chief just couldn’t resist popping off about something on which he has zero moral authority.

But, hey … he “tells it like it is.”

Disgraceful.

Yep, it’s harder to come down on those you respect

It’s time for an admission.

I am admitting that it is easy for me to criticize politicians I dislike, or even detest and that it’s harder to go negative against those I respect.

Thus, I am having a conflict of sorts as I watch this story about Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken play out. Franken has apologized for groping a woman in 2006 while the two of them were on a USO tour; it was before Franken became a member of the Senate. He was a mere comedian at the time of the incident.

The woman, TV news anchor Leann Tweeden, produced a picture of him groping her while she apparently was asleep. She didn’t consent to the groping or to the kiss that Franken reportedly laid on her. Tweeden has accepted Franken’s apology to her.

What gives me grief is that I grew to respect Franken’s performance as a senator. I agree with his politics and thought he had a bright future in politics.

I am now left to use past-tense verbs when talking about Franken. I no longer respect him or admire him. I don’t know how much of a future he now has in politics. Yes, it pains me to say all this.

Unlike the scandal that’s swallowing up Roy Moore, the Republican candidate for the Senate from Alabama, this Franken story is giving me grief. I find myself writing critically of him while my teeth are clenched. I have no such difficulty while criticizing the likes of Donald J. Trump, or Roy Moore, or Newt Gingrich (when he was fooling around on his then-wife in the 1990s).

This time, I suppose that because the latest bomb to detonate involves a politician I formerly admired, that I should really drop the hammer on him … rhetorically, of course.

I am more than merely disappointed in Al Franken. I am outraged that he would betray those of us who once thought so highly of him.

Where does Trump acquire his political capital?

One of the many things that confound me about Donald Trump is how this man expects us to believe he has this huge cache of political capital stored up.

He keeps yapping and yammering about the “historic” nature of his presidential election victory in November 2016. When you think about it, Trump’s victory was “historic” in a certain context.

He lost the popular vote by record margins to Hillary Rodham Clinton but still managed to win the Electoral College by cobbling together precisely the right pluralities in three battleground states that voted twice for Barack H. Obama. So, there’s a certain bit of history that was made.

But then he took office and began boasting about the “landslide” victory he won. I consider landslides to be of the type that President Johnson rang up in 1964 and President Nixon scored in 1972. The political rule of thumb has been that a winning presidential candidate rolls up “landslide” with a 10-percentage point popular vote; LBJ and Nixon both rolled to victories that exceeded 20 percentage points. President Reagan’s re-election victory in 1984 came close to matching his predecessors’ victories.

The current president has nothing even remotely approaching that kind of political capital as he seeks to push his agenda forward. He doesn’t behave with a semblance of knowledge of just how flimsy his electoral mandate really is.

The 21st century’s first presidential election ended in 2000 with the winner, George W. Bush, garnering fewer popular votes than his opponent. President Bush, though, realized the truth of his election from Day One of his presidency and sought immediately to work with Democrats. He enlisted the late liberal lion, Sen. Ted Kennedy, to help him push some education reforms through Congress.

Has Donald Trump extended anything approaching an olive branch to those who oppose him? For that matter, have Democrats in both congressional chambers sought to reach out to the president?

No on both counts.

Still, it simply demonstrates graphically to me that the president has none of the political capital about which he boasts.

If only he would learn the harsh reality of the nature of his victory.

Congress revealing its vulnerability

William Kristol isn’t my favorite pundit, given his sometimes-acerbic conservatism.

However, the Weekly Standard editor is a prolific tweeter and of late he has been on a tear regarding the explosive accusations involving Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore.

Kristol tweeted this today: Against a backdrop of Trump, of Moore, Franken & Menendez, of abysmal ratings of Congress, of hyper-partisanship & gridlock, shouldn’t every young person of good character committed to public service consider running for Congress in 2018? Could incumbents ever be more vulnerable?

Kristol is no fan of Donald J. Trump, nor of Moore. Sens. Al Franken and Robert Menendez, both Democrats, surely aren’t on Kristol’s gift list. Franken is fending off a groping allegation and Menendez is facing a new trial on corruption charges.

But the conservative pundit does pose a fascinating question about the potential for any fresh-faced young person who could challenge an incumbent. “Could incumbents ever be more vulnerable?” Kristol asks.

It does seem that the atmosphere is well-suited for a challenger with sound moral footing and character to run against an incumbent. Thus, Kristol has delved into an issue worth exploring.

The filing season for running in the Texas primary election has commenced. We haven’t heard of any sexual misbehavior charges leveled against a member of the Texas congressional delegation. Then again, it’s still early in the election season and there well could be something erupting somewhere, involving someone who happens to represent Texas on Capitol Hill.

The landscape across the land, beyond the Texas border, is rife with opportunities for young men and women to seek to hold public service jobs.

Will they step up? Should they step up?

I don’t know the answer to the first question. The obvious answer to the second is a resounding “yes!” 

Hillary remains in Trump’s sights

Donald J. Trump has said he won a “historic” victory in the 2016 presidential election.

The president’s threats of action against his vanquished opponent, though, betray his confidence in that admittedly unexpected victory.

Trump is considering whether to sic the Justice Department on to Hillary Clinton, threatening to examine her sale of a uranium company while she was serving as secretary of state in the Obama administration.

Here we go … again!

The president’s obsession with Clinton and President Obama suggests to me that he’s actually angry beyond measure that he didn’t win the popular vote to go along with the Electoral College majority he won to be elected president of the United States.

He wants to stick it to Hillary. He wants to keep the embers burning. He wants to make her squirm.

I keep asking: To what bleeping end, Mr. President?

Clinton calls such a probe what it would be if the president calls for the appointment of a special counsel: a grotesque abuse of power. According to The Hill: “I regret if they do it because it will be such a disastrous step to politicizing the justice system,” she said. “If they send a signal that we’re going to be like some dictatorship, like some authoritarian regime, where political opponents are going to be unfairly, fraudulently investigated, that rips at the fabric of the contract we have, that we can trust our justice system.”

Congressional committees looked for years at ways to bring charges against Hillary Clinton. As did the FBI. They all came up empty.

Now the president keeps fighting a battle he’s already won.

Give it a rest, Mr. President.

Trump channels Rubio’s ‘water moment’

I knew I wasn’t the only one who had this thought, but it still makes me chuckle when I watch news reports of Donald Trump’s televised remarks upon his return home from his 12-day trip to Asia.

The president had, um, an awkward water moment. He reached for some water to battle a case of dry mouth while talking earlier today. The bottle wasn’t there. He groped under his podium for some water and was informed there was a bottle of Fiji water nearby.

He fumbled around for a moment longer, took a swig of it and went on with his remarks.

Now, you’re possibly asking: Why bring this up?

Oh, I don’t know. I guess it’s because candidate Donald Trump made such a show of a similarly awkward moment that befell Republican presidential primary opponent U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who in 2013 fumbled for a water bottle while delivering his party’s response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech.

Trump was merciless in his mocking of Sen. Rubio. He called it a “catastrophe.”

Trump has his own clumsy moment

For his part, Rubio had a clever and self-deprecating response, which he delivered via Twitter: Similar, but needs work on his form. Has to be done in one single motion & eyes should never leave the camera. But not bad for his 1st time.

Take notes, Mr. President. There might be someone out there who’ll use that moment against you.

This shouldn’t be funny, but it is

I shouldn’t be giggling when a head of state declares a death sentence on another head of state.

Except that the guy who’s issuing the death sentence is Kim Jong Un, the North Korean dictator/strongman/fruitcake. The object of his death sentence? None other than Donald John Trump Sr., the current president of the United States of America.

My goodness. I’ll be brief with this one.

Kim didn’t like being called “short and fat” in a tweet flashed around the world by Trump. Except that the president said he “wouldn’t” call Kim “short and fat.” Not ever. Oh, but wait. He did anyway!

Rodong Sinmun, the North Korea government-run newspaper, wrote in an editorial: “The worst crime for which he can never be pardoned is that he dared [to] malignantly hurt the dignity of the supreme leadership.”

As if Kim had any “dignity” that could possibly be “malignantly hurt.”

I don’t know, though, what could be worse. That Kim would issue this bogus “death sentence,” or that the president will be prompted to fire back an idiotic response.

Moore saga burying the bigger story

A part of me — maybe it’s a tiny part — wishes the Roy Moore story would go away.

I probably shouldn’t give a damn about Alabama’s U.S. Senate race, other than the fact that the Republican nominee for that race is being accused — apparently credibly — by women who accuse him of sexual misbehavior when they were underage girls.

I don’t want Moore to become the next senator from Alabama. Although this matter really is in the hands of Alabama voters, who need to come to grips with the notion that if they elect Moore they are sending an empty suit to represent them. Moore will be unable to do anything for them if the Senate GOP leadership has its way.

But the media are consumed by this story.

It’s masking another more important matter. While the media are focusing on the Moore story, the “Russia thing” is proceeding with all deliberate speed.

But in a way, this all might be a good thing. Special counsel Robert Mueller doesn’t strike me as a media hog. He is working under the cover of a media glare that is shining on someone else, who has nothing to do with his investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian hackers seeking to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

So, now that I think about it, perhaps the media mania over Moore might be serving a greater good.

Senators concerned about POTUS and the nukes

More than 40 years ago, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee asked some tough questions about the president of the United States’ fitness to be in command of the nuclear launch codes.

President Richard Nixon was being swallowed up by the Watergate crisis. Questions arose about whether the president would do something foolish in a moment of intense political anguish.

Concerns arise once again

Flash forward. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee of today is now concerned, apparently, with the current president’s ability to handle this awesome responsibility. Senators didn’t come to any conclusions or seek any substantial change in the policy, but they got to air their concerns on the record about Donald John Trump.

As Politico reports: “We are concerned that the president of the United States is so unstable, is so volatile, has a decision-making process that is so quixotic that he might order a nuclear weapons strike that is wildly out of step with U.S. national security interests,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing that yielded few clear answers about checks on the commander in chief’s power. “Let’s just recognize the exceptional nature of this moment.”

Though Republicans were not as vocal about their concern, some did express worry that one person alone can make the decision to launch a nuclear war.

The president hasn’t yet demonstrated the complete understanding of command and control. He keeps popping off via Twitter, threatening North Korea with destruction.

And oh yes, the president has virtually sole authority to launch nuclear weapons. The policy was designed during the Cold War when the United States need a quick response in case the Soviet Union decided to launch missiles against us.

The Cold War is over, although the peril of a nuclear strike remains acute, given the enormous number of nuclear-armed nations around the world.

Which requires a U.S. president to be of sound temperament and judgment. The Senate panel today sought to explore those issues today as it relates to the current commander in chief.

Given the president’s behavior and the goofiness of his public pronouncements, senators have ample reason to wonder out loud about the commander in chief’s ability to keep us safe.