Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Secretary of state: derelict in his duty

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought a lot of heft to his post as the nation’s top diplomat: top of his class at West Point; active-duty Army service; member of Congress; CIA director.

It’s the West Point chapter in his life that gives me concern, though, but not because I intend to disparage his academic record at the nation’s Military Academy.

Pompeo has violated a fundamental tenet of service in the military. One of the individuals under his command as secretary of state, former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, has seen her record smeared by the president of the United States.

Did the secretary of state stand up for her? Did he have her back? Has he vouched for her honor and affirmed that she isn’t “bad news,” as Trump has described her? Has he affirmed his support for her gallant service to the country over he past three decades? No. He has allowed the president to run roughshod over her.

Yovanovitch testified this past week before the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, which is overseeing the impeachment inquiry process launched against the president. While she was in the middle of her testimony, Trump decided to fire off a Twitter message that denigrated her service and — in the minds of many observers — contained a threat to her and others who might be so inclined to cooperate with House congressional questioners.

Why in the world has the nation’s top diplomat, the secretary of state, allowed this defamation to continue against one of the individuals under his command? Secretary of State Pompeo has been a profile in cowardice.

The president says he is entitled to express himself. Actually, what Donald Trump doesn’t grasp is the gravity of any statement he makes as the nation’s chief executive, as its head of state. Mike Pompeo surely should understand what has gone over the president’s head and he surely should have stood foursquare behind a highly honored and decorated diplomat, such as Marie Yovanovitch.

He didn’t. Pompeo choked. He disgraced himself as well as the long-standing tradition he brought to his high office.

Don’t reverse vaping restriction, Mr. POTUS

No-o-o-o! Don’t do it, Mr. President! Don’t reverse a common-sense provision you announced regarding vaping, the current craze among young people who are taking up this killer habit in place of smoking cigarettes!

Your decision to ban the manufacture and sale of certain flavored vaping products was the right call when you made it in September. Now you’re concerned about job losses as a result?

Holy crap, Mr. President! What about the lost lives that will result with more young people taking up this habit?

For my money, the lives that are put in jeopardy are far more critical to our nation’s economy than jobs that might be lost if you enact this ban.

For the life of me, Mr. President, I just don’t understand these decision you make, the basis on which you make them and the process you use to finalize your policy. Or even if any policy is ever finalized.

This reversal seems to be part of your modus operandi. You have this annoying — and many times frightening — tendency to tweet these decisions out there, only to reverse yourself later. You’ve done that tariffs and foreign policy matters. Now you seem to be waffling on this health emergency matter.

Listen to those voices, Mr. President, that compelled you to enact the vaping ban in the first place.

Our children need government to intervene on their behalf … even if they insist on doing things that put their health at risk.

Did the POTUS lie to Mueller, too?

Oh, my! The hits just keep on comin’ with regard to Donald J. Trump.

The House of Representatives, which is up to its collective eyeballs in an impeachment inquiry into the president of the United States, is now looking into whether Trump lied in his written responses to Robert Mueller III, the former special counsel hired by the Justice Department to look into The Russia Thing.

Let me ponder this for a moment.

So, do you think the serial liar in chief, the man who cannot tell the truth under any circumstances, might have deceived Mueller, who sought answers into allegations that the Trump 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system?

That doesn’t require much rumination, at least for me. I believe it is entirely possible that Trump lied to Mueller.

What is unclear to me, though, is whether Mueller received some sort of pledge from Trump — or made him take an oath — to be truthful when he answered questions in writing.

If he did, and then the president lied to him, well … I believe they call that “perjury.” I also recall that Republicans in Congress used perjury as their justification for indicting President Bill Clinton in 1998, who lied to a grand jury about whether he had “sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” 

We all know how the House is likely to react if it finds evidence of lying to Mueller. What we don’t know is whether the House will be equally vocal if it determines that Trump told Mueller the “truth and whole truth” when he responded to the special counsel’s questions. Fairness would require the House to declare that Trump told the truth if that’s what it learns.

But seriously … Trump’s record of lying makes it extremely difficult to give him the benefit of the doubt.

House offers POTUS an ‘invitation’ he won’t accept

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer have offered Donald J. Trump an “invitation” that should be called by another name.

It is a political stunt that at one level seems like a reasonable offer, but in reality is something that will never occur.

Trump has complained incessantly that the House impeachment inquiry is unfair to him. The House is seeking to determine whether to file impeachment articles against the president in connection with his asking a foreign government for a personal political favor, an action that House Democrats deem to be an impeachable offense.

Trump keeps insisting it’s all a hoax, a witch hunt, a sham, a political hatchet job. So, what did Pelosi do? She invited him to testify before the House Intelligence Committee, to tell his side of the story, to put to rest any allegation that he jeopardized our national security by holding up weapons to an ally until it produced dirt on a potential political rival.

Schumer echoed Pelosi’s invitation.

Well, let’s get real. POTUS isn’t going to accept it. He will assert some rationale that he is somehow above and beyond being questioned in person by members of the House of Representatives.

Then again, Schumer did go a step further. He said that if Trump doesn’t like what’s being said, “he shouldn’t tweet” his disagreements. He should subject himself to questioning by House members. Moreover, Schumer said, he should allow those closest to him to testify before the House panel.

That, of course, assumes he has nothing to hide, according to Schumer.

I’m going to presume that he has plenty to hide, which is why Pelosi’s invitation is nothing more than a stunt.

Wanting next POTUS to rescind transgender ban

Donald Trump took office as president and began issuing a flurry of executive orders, even though he criticized Barack Obama for his use of executive authority when he was president of the United States.

One of the orders he issued revoked an Obama order that allowed transgender Americans to serve openly in the U.S. military. Trump listened to his base of supporters and rescinded the previous order.

He is now getting his re-election campaign ramped up. Many of the Democrats seeking to succeed him want to yank the transgender ban off the books and allow those patriotic Americans to don the uniform of their country while serving in the military.

I fully support lifting the ban. Even the Washington Examiner, a newspaper friendly to the Trump agenda, has urged the president to take a second look at the transgender ban.

Trump offered a number of dubious assertions seeking to justify his decision to rescind the previous executive order. The worst of those reasons had something to do with the money that the Defense Department would be spending on personnel who would be in various stages of what is called “gender reassignment.” The counter argument to that notion, of course, came from those who noted the enormous amount of money the Pentagon spends on medication to correct maladies such as, oh, “erectile dysfunction.”

Without doubt, though, the most ironic aspect of Trump’s decision dealt with his denying Americans’ desire to serve their country when, back in the day, Trump avoided/evaded such service during the Vietnam War. He secured the now widely derided medical exemption relating to alleged “bone spurs” that Trump said he suffered on his feet.

For this president to deny Americans the opportunity to serve, which they seek to do voluntarily, is ridiculous on its face.

Furthermore, I equate the military transgender ban with the idiotic Bathroom Bill that the 2017 Texas Legislature considered enacting. You’ll recall that one, yes? The Senate approved a bill that required people to use public restrooms in accordance with their gender at birth; it was meant clearly to discriminate against transgendered individuals. The Texas House, led by then-Republican House Speaker Joe Straus, killed the idea in a special session.

Whoever succeeds Trump — whether it’s after this upcoming election or the next one — has vowed to restore some justice to our military ranks. My fervent hope is that the opportunity comes sooner rather than later.

Impeachment inquiry confirms many of our worst fears about POTUS

As I watch the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry drama unfold, I am drawn back to what many of us said about this man when he declared his presidential candidacy.

We said he was unfit for office. We wondered how in the name of political sanity could this guy ever get elected to anything, let alone to the presidency of the United States. We feared the worst about this guy’s instincts.

I do not relish watching this drama play itself out, let alone delivering evidence that our worst fears are being revealed to all the world.

Yes, I am acutely aware that not everyone shares the view of many of us. Many other Americans are lining up behind this guy. They are attacking the process that has produced the impeachment inquiry. They question the motives, even the patriotism and love of country of many of Donald Trump’s critics.

But at the base of all this drama we are left with wondering about the core values of the man who scored arguably the most remarkable political fluke in U.S. history by being elected to the only public office he ever sought.

He brought not one single moment of public service to the 2016 presidential campaign. He crafted his entire adult life around one goal: self-enrichment. He worried exclusively about his own fortune. He didn’t know a thing about the complexities of governing, let alone how the nation’s government was constructed.

Now we are in the midst of an inquiry to determine whether he should be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What lies at the base of those crimes? Complete ignorance, or perhaps willful flouting, of what the Constitution prohibits.

It doesn’t allow a president to solicit foreign governments for political favors. That is what has been alleged against Donald Trump. Nor does it allow a president to profit from his public office. That allegation hasn’t been made formally, but it well might be in the offing once the House completes its impeachment inquiry.

This all arcs back in my mind to the very questions that so many millions of us had from the very beginning of this man’s candidacy for America’s highest and most exalted public office.

Donald John Trump had no business being elected to this office. Yet he was elected. He had some unforeseen help, to be sure. We now are watching the drama resulting from that election play out before our eyes.

It isn’t pretty. However, none of us should turn away. We need to stay alert and engaged while awaiting the final curtain.

And yes, many of us saw this drama coming.

Trump’s penchant for lying goes on and on and on …

Donald Trump declared he was “too busy” to watch the televised impeachment inquiry hearings in the House of Representatives.

“Too busy ” doing what remains a mystery to many of us, but that’s what he said.

What, then, did the president do on Friday during the second day of hearings? He fired off a Twitter message that former Ukraine envoy Marie Yovanovitch said would “intimidate” future witnesses. Indeed, the president commented in real time on what the ex-U.S. ambassador to Ukraine was telling members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Therefore, the president was watching the hearings. He wasn’t “too busy” tending to statecraft.

Why does the Prevaricator in Chief continue to lie?

I have referred to his “gratuitous” lying. He lies when he doesn’t need to lie. He lies for the sake of saying the first thing that enters his skull and flies out of his mouth. Why would he tell the nation he would be “too busy” to watch the hearings when he was watching them?

I don’t get this guy. I don’t understand what rattles around inside his noggin that compels him to lie. What’s more, he’s proven to be a bad liar. He’s not good at it. He says things that are demonstrably fictitious.

Case in point: He has told the nation that he lost “many friends” on 9/11 inside the Twin Towers as they collapsed. He did not. It has been shown that he didn’t attend a single funeral for anyone who died on that terrible day. Yet he lies about losing friends?

To my way of thinking, that fits the description of a “gratuitous lie.” It is something he says because, well, he can.

Donald Trump is never “too busy” to tear himself away from a TV set whenever he is the subject of whatever is being broadcast.

WH adviser burnishes his bogeyman image

Stephen Miller is quite the attraction for Donald J. Trump and his administration.

The young policy adviser seems to relish appearing on TV simply to make inflammatory statements. Now we find out through some leaked e-mails that Miller harbored some dark and sinister thoughts about white nationalism and assorted racist philosophies.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the Black Congressional Caucus and the Southern Poverty Law Center and other groups all have called for Miller to resign. The White House stands by their man, presumably with the president’s blessing.

Of course he should quit. Miller had no business being involved in such a senior policy adviser role in the first place. He is a flame-thrower, a provocateur, a living, breathing symbol of the politics of division that have highlighted (or lowlighted) the Trump administration.

I say all that, naturally, knowing that nothing will happen as long as Donald Trump is president of the United States.

One batch of e-mails suggests that Miller favored restricting legal immigration from Third World countries, favoring a policy more disposed to welcoming immigrants from, um, blonde-blue-eyed regions of the world.

I believe Stephen Miller is a toxic dude. He doesn’t belong in the White House, let alone working hand-in-glove with the president of the United States.

Will he be shown the door? Hah!

Prepare for a major GOP resistance to the truth

Marie Yavonavitch laid it out there. Donald Trump was entitled to replace her as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, she said, but she wonders why he felt the need to smear her before terminating her service.

Then the president entered the fray with a Twitter message that would “intimidate” future witnesses. He said something weird about Yavonavitch being responsible for — get this! — the turmoil in Somalia, in addition to Ukraine. He said this while the former envoy was testifying before the House Intelligence Committee.

Oh … my … goodness! The evidence keeps piling up.

But then again, is any of this going to move the Republican resistance in Congress to standing for the truth instead of standing behind the president? I am not anticipating such an event.

My strong fear is that the congressional Republican caucus is going to stand firm. They’re going to continue to disparage and denigrate the accusers who say that Trump effectively offered a bribe to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, which the Constitution declares to be a crime worthy of removal from office. What did the president say to Zelenskiy? He needed a “favor, though” in exchange for shipping weapons to Ukraine, which is fighting Russia-backed rebels; the “favor” was dirt on Joe Biden, a political rival.

That’s a crime, man! So, will Republicans interpret it that way? No, they’re continuing to sound as though they’re going to blow off Trump’s conduct as “inappropriate” but “not impeachable.”

Sigh …

I believe the president has committed at least two acts worthy of removal. He has sought a “favor, though” from a foreign government to help him win re-election. He piled on today with that Twitter message that can be construed correctly as an effort to intimidate a congressional committee witness.

Donald Trump sought to smear a career public servant who has earned multiple honors for the work she has done on behalf of the United States overseas.

I’ll say it once more — and likely not for the final time: Donald Trump is an absolute disgrace. His Republican allies are in danger of shaming themselves while they stand with him.

Trump’s incompetence rivals his corrupt intent

Donald Trump, with a single Twitter message, managed to send his Republican allies on the House Intelligence Committee scrambling to cover up for his ridiculous and destructive impulses.

While a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was testifying before the panel today, Trump decided to fire off a tweet that said she was “bad news” while serving at her post. Trump fired her, which was well within his authority to do. He did so after insulting her performance. She testified today about the circumstances that led to her dismissal as ambassador to Ukraine.

But then the president decided to tweet that ridiculous message, committing what Committee Chairman Adam Schiff called a potentially impeachable offense “in real time.”

The result of that astonishing message was to produce glowing salutations to the former ambassador’s three decades of service to the country. I suppose they were intent on roughing her up, but they relented when word got out about Trump’s remarkably ignorant tweet.

I don’t know what prompted the president to say such a thing while Yovanovitch was testifying. He well might have committed yet another impeachable offense by tossing out a message that could prove intimidating to future committee witnesses.

My goodness, this president’s incompetence is beginning to approach the level of what I believe is his corrupt intent.

Weird.