Tag Archives: Donald Trump

Texas might be tossed onto the political battlefield

I have some good news — depending on your point of view — about Texas’s short- and immediate-term political future.

The state might become a “battleground state” in the 2020 presidential election. Do you know what that means? It means the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees and their running mates are going to spend lots of time here campaigning for votes.

Why is that a big deal? It’s big because I happen to be one voter who prefers to hear candidates up close.

Texas hasn’t been a battleground state for several presidential election cycles. Republicans have owned the results since 1976, when the last Democrat — Jimmy Carter — won the state’s electoral votes.

A new poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune says about 50 percent of Texans want someone other than Donald Trump to win the election next year. Of the Democrats running for the White House, former VP Joe Biden is leading; former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke also is polling well.

Here is an important caveat: These polls are practically useless this far from an election. People’s minds change. Candidates have ways of appealing/pandering to those on the fence.

But I’m going to hang on to the hope that Texas becomes a battleground state in 2020. Republicans have taken the state for granted; Democrats who have toiled in the wilderness haven’t bothered with Texas.

Is this the election cycle it changes? Oh, I hope so.

Yep, it’s ‘Anybody But Trump in 2020’

I believe the Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel is on to something with its declared intent to support whomever the Democratic Party nominates in the upcoming campaign for the presidency of the United States.

The Twitter hashtag #AnybodyButTrump2020 is getting a lot of views out there. I understand it’s the fifth most tweeted hashtag in the Twitter universe.

Whatever …

I saw the editorial Tuesday as the president was preparing to deliver his official re-election kickoff speech in central Florida. I was struck by the same thing that has amazed so many media watchers: How can the newspaper make such a declaration so early in the electoral process?

According to the Sentinel’s editorial, it’s easy: “After 2 1/2 years we’ve seen enough” of Donald Trump, the paper wrote. “Enough of the chaos, the division, the schoolyard insults, the self-aggrandizement, the corruption and especially the lies,” the Sentinel opined.

How many ways can I endorse the Sentinel’s views on the president. And they come from a newspaper with a long history of endorsing Republicans for president (mostly).

I suppose the variation comes because Trump only masquerades as a Republican. He belongs to a party that has been historically suspicious of Russian leaders. The GOP has long been a champion of free trade and a staunch foe of economic protectionism. Indeed, Republicans helped a Democratic president enact landmark civil rights and voting rights laws in the 1960s; does anyone believe Donald Trump stands for those principles today?

The lying is the serious deal breaker for the Sentinel. The paper said it isn’t surprised that Trump would lie. It is appalled at the frequency and the severity of the lies.

They have set a remarkable template for how other media organizations might consider when they deliberate over whom to recommend for the presidency.

For good measure, I want to share once again the Sentinel’s editorial with this link.

I now want to thank the Orlando Sentinel editorial board for speaking the truth about the charlatan who is masquerading as our head of state. May the newspaper’s words resonate across the land.

Where is the vetting, Mr. President?

Patrick Shanahan’s withdrawal from consideration to be defense secretary brings to the fore the issue of whether he was vetted properly before Donald Trump appointed him to be acting secretary of defense.

The president had said he wanted Shanahan to be confirmed for the permanent job … except that he had some serious, egregious baggage.

It turns out Shanahan was accused of beating the daylights out of his then-wife in 2010.

The media have reported in just recent hours about Shanahan’s history. It makes a lot of us wonder: Is there any vetting going on in the West Wing of the White House?

I have to wonder how in the world the president puts forth an individual who has something so grievous in his background. Does anyone within the White House personnel operation understand that these kinds of things cannot be kept secret? Not ever?

This isn’t the first incidence of senior officials being “outed” over instances of domestic abuse.

Trump makes ‘acting’ more fashionable?

Donald Trump’s administration has a revolving door the likes of which is virtually unprecedented in presidential history.

The nation’s acting defense secretary has pulled out. Patrick Shanahan has decided he doesn’t want to be considered for a permanent appointment.

Hey, no biggie, says the president. He thanked Shanahan for doing a “great job.” Now he’s got to look for another defense boss.

But the president who boasts about his administration being a “fine-tuned machine” has a lot of spots to fill. If he chooses to fill them.

According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: Definitive listings of acting officials in Trump’s and other administrations are hard to come by because no agency keeps overall records. Yet Christina Kinane, an incoming political science professor at Yale, compiled data in her doctoral dissertation, “Control Without Confirmation: The Politics of Vacancies in Presidential Appointments.”

Kinane found that from 1977 through mid-April of this year — from the administration of President Jimmy Carter through the first half of Trump’s — 266 individuals held Cabinet posts. Seventy-nine of them held their jobs on an acting basis, or 3 in 10.

Under Trump, 22 of the 42 people in top Cabinet jobs have been acting, or just over half.

And though Trump’s presidency has spanned less than 5% of the years covered, his administration accounts for more than 27% of the acting officials tallied. Kinane’s figures include holdovers from previous administrations, some of whom serve for just days.

The bottom line is that Trump either cannot find qualified individuals to fill these posts on permanent bases, or he simply chooses not to take the time required to vet them properly.

It’s fair to wonder whether the nation is served well by so many “acting” top-level officials. How can they make serious administrative policy decisions? How does their staff take them totally seriously? In posts involving foreign policy, how do these interim appointments play in foreign capitals? How do our allies trust fully that these acting officials speak for the United States?

Trump has said he “likes” having acting top officials, saying something weird about how it gives him “flexibility.”

I happen to believe that the flexibility Trump relishes also breeds uncertainty. And confusion and chaos.

Trump promised to surround himself with the “best people.” He said he knows the “best words.” That he went to the “best schools.”

He also said that “I, alone can fix” the damage purportedly done to the country. Donald Trump’s inability or unwillingness to fill these posts might be good for his ego, but profoundly bad for the country.

Another ‘acting defense secretary’ set to take over

How is this going to work?

The United States well might go to war with Iran. We’re still fighting terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and who knows where else. The Pentagon has just ordered another 1,000 American troops into the Persian Gulf region.

Against that backdrop, the acting secretary of defense, Patrick Shanahan, today has pulled out of the nomination to become the permanent defense boss.

Is this another example of Donald Trump’s “fine-tuned machine” in action? Is this how we’re supposed to believe that our national security network is in steady hands?

Trump has named Army Secretary Mark Esper to be the latest acting defense secretary. For how long will Esper be the “acting” Pentagon boss?

Oh, my.

I’m still trying to get over the resignation of former Defense Secretary James Mattis, who quit because of serious policy disagreements with the president, who then lied about Mattis being “fired.”

Shanahan said something today about wanting to spend more time with his children. Trump said Shanahan had done a great job as the acting defense secretary. There were reports of a domestic disturbance in 2010 with his now former wife, which might have played a part in his decision to pull out of the effort to be confirmed as permanent defense secretary.

The revolving door keeps on turning at the Pentagon. It is happening at a time of tremendous national peril.

What in the world can possibly go wrong without a strong hand at the Pentagon helm?

Frightening.

Anybody but Trump? How ’bout that?

Call this a serious kick in the gut.

Donald Trump is venturing to Orlando, Fla., tonight to inaugurate his 2020 re-election campaign. So, what does that community’s newspaper do? It published an editorial today that declared it would endorse “any Democrat” who runs against the Republican president next year.

Read the editorial here.

It’s good reading if you’re interested in understanding how a major media organization reaches its editorial conclusion.

The Orlando Sentinel remains a significant media presence in central Florida. “After 2 1/2 years, we’ve seen enough” of Trump to determine that he isn’t worthy of the newspaper’s endorsement for re-election.

The chaos, the lying, the “school yard insults,” the self-aggrandizement, the corruption are too much for the newspaper’s editorial board. “There’s no pretending” that there is a mystery whom the paper would recommend for its readers, it said. That’s why the Sentinel has declared its intention to recommend any Democrat who emerges from the crowded field of contenders.

It’s the lying that is consummate deal-breaker for the Sentinel, which writes: Trump’s successful assault on truth is the great casualty of this presidency, followed closely by his war on decency.

What’s more, according to the Sentinel: Trump has diminished our standing in the world. He reneges on deals, attacks allies and embraces enemies.

I know what’s going to happen tonight. Trump is likely to hold up the Sentinel’s rebuke as some sort of triumph over the “enemy of the people.” He will contend he doesn’t care what the newspaper’s editorial board believes about the disgraceful manner in which he has conducted himself. He will fill his own mind with the delusion that all is well with him, the country, the presidency and the world all because he arrived on the scene in 2016 to save us from ourselves.

I am one American who embraces the Orlando Sentinel’s decision to avoid pussyfooting around the conclusion it has reached: Donald Trump needs to go … away

Trump launches re-election bid? Wait … what’s he been doing?

So much about Donald Trump’s time as president has confounded and confused me.

The fascination of the hard right wing of the Republican Party to this clown; the policy pronouncements via Twitter; the revolving door in the West Wing of the White House; the insults, innuendo and invective he hurls at our international allies.

Now he says he’s going to “launch” his 2020 effort to be re-elected tonight.

Wait just a doggone minute! What has this guy been doing since the moment he took the oath of office in January 2017? To my way of thinking, he’s been running full bore for re-election during his entire term.

Now he is launching the “official” start of his effort? Someone needs to explain to me how that works.

He’s heading for Orlando, Fla., to speak to his admirers. They swoon and fawn over his idiotic pronouncements. They will guffaw and holler when he hurls insults at the large field of Democrats competing for the chance to run against him next year. We might even hear some “Lock her up!” chants if the president dredges up the email matter involving his 2016 presidential opponents, Hillary Rodham Clinton; and, without doubt, he is likely to lead the chant.

Well, I guess Trump’s official re-election effort will commence with more of what we’ve been hearing since the beginning of this clown’s tenure in office.

We have “only” 503 days until the next election. My dear mother used to counsel me to avoid wishing my life away. Still, I hope the time speeds by.

War with Iran? Are you really serious about that?

The chicken hawks who are advising Donald Trump to launch military strikes against Iran need to have their heads examined.

Yep, they’re aboard the “war with Iran” hay wagon. They are led by national security adviser John Bolton, who long has favored “regime change” in Tehran. This is frightening and dangerous stuff, ladies and gentlemen.

The Iranians reportedly have been launching attacks on commercial vessels sailing in international waters. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says U.S. intelligence has confirmed Iranian involvement. In an ironic twist, I should add, Pompeo has endorsed the intelligence analysis on the Iranian involvement from the same people he and Donald Trump have dismissed when they said the Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016; go figure, eh?

We must not go to war with Iran because of attacks on commercial vessels.

Some members of the Senate are calling for “retaliatory strikes” against Iran. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, is one of them. To be fair, I don’t include Sen. Cotton in the “chicken hawk” cadre; he served as an Army infantry officer who saw combat in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His prior military experience does not make his argument correct. A retaliatory strike is bound to produce a vigorous military response from the Islamic Republic of Iran. And by vigorous, I mean deadly, as in ferocious.

Do we really want to engage in yet another war with a Middle East nation? Good grief! Please, let us not go there!

The Iranians already have announced their plans to exceed their nuclear enrichment limits as payback for Trump’s decision to pull out of the agreement that sought to ban Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. The president pulled out even though other signatory nations said the Iranians were complying with the restrictions.

This is not how you “make America great again,” Mr. President.

This saber-rattling is making me very nervous.

POTUS interview proved to be a ratings bust? Who knew?

I guess I was one of the few and the proud who decided to watch Donald Trump make an utter a** of himself on national TV. I’m glad I tuned in to the special ABC News “20/20” special with George Stephanopoulos.

Stephanopoulos obtained a 30-hour visit with Trump. He interviewed him at length over a wide range of topics. And, to no one’s surprise, the president managed to make a good bit of news.

  • He revealed he would “look at” intelligence that would come to him from a foreign source that might have “information” about a political opponent.
  •  Trump said he’s leading “everywhere” and disputed the polling data that indicates he is in serious trouble against about six of the Democrats running for president.
  •  The president revealed design plans he has drawn up for a newly reconstituted Air Force One jet.
  •  Trump said something about releasing his “financial records,” but said that decision rests solely with “the lawyers.” He said he wants the country to see the documents, calling them “fantastic.”

Trump keeps demonstrating that he doesn’t have a clue as to what he is doing in the nation’s highest office. I’m certain he lied dozens of times during the hour-long program.

He chastised Stephanopoulos, suggesting he is a purveyor of “fake news,” to which the ABC News anchor didn’t flinch, didn’t blink, didn’t take the bait.

I think my favorite part was when Trump talked down to Stephanopoulos, seeming to lecture him about “oppo research,” which is the material he would “look at” were it to come from a foreign source.

As if Stephanopoulos, a former Bill Clinton campaign and White House aide wouldn’t know what he’s talking about. Good grief!

I was a bit disheartened to hear that the ratings tanked on the “20/20” special. I found it edifying, although I doubt it changed any minds.

The Trumpsters no doubt cheered the president. The rest of us simply jeered him.

Watergate Day has arrived, heralding ‘most stupid scandal’ ever

Happy Watergate Break-in Day, ladies and gentlemen.

It was 47 years ago today that some burglars got caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. It turned out eventually that the burglars were acting on behalf of the Committee to Re-Elect the President — aka the hilarious acronym “CREEP.”

The scandalous nature of the burglary took time to unfold before the nation. When it did, all hell broke loose. We learned about how President Nixon sought to, um, “obstruct justice” by seeking to stop the FBI investigation. There were those infamous tape recordings. The Senate seated a select committee to get to the bottom of it.

Once it did, then the House Judiciary Committee launched impeachment proceedings. Then it voted to impeach the president, with several Republican members joining their Democratic colleagues.

Nixon then quit the presidency.

Why is this remarkably pertinent today? Because another scandal is growing in Washington that well could result in another presidential impeachment. As stupid as the current troubles surrounding Donald Trump might seem, they fail the Stupid Test standard established by CREEP.

When the burglars broke into the DNC office on June 17, 1972, the Republican president already was headed toward a smashing re-election victory. The Democrats later that summer nominated Sen. George McGovern, who then went on to lose to Nixon in a landslide. Nixon carried 49 states, rolled up 521 electoral votes, trounced McGovern by 23 percent in the balloting.

Yet the CREEP moguls thought it was worth their time to rifle through the DNC files to look for additional dirt on the Democratic Party and on McGovern.

I cannot fathom a more stupidly conceived crime than the one concocted by CREEP and the Republican Party establishment.

There can be no way yet to determine how the Donald Trump drama is going to end up. I want him out of office at the earliest possible opportunity. Whether it’s through impeachment and conviction in a Senate trial or by the next presidential election that is still about 500-some days away, it makes no difference to me.

In the annals of stupid scandals, though, the stupidity standard was set 47 years ago when those bozos broke into the DNC, only to allow Richard Nixon’s penchant for paranoia to doom his presidency.