Tag Archives: Donald Trump

POTUS set to tour Louisiana flood zone


Well, here you go.

President Obama has said he’s going to Louisiana next week to see first hand the damage caused by the historic flood.

I’m glad to know he’s going to size it up in person.

Yes, I wrote that he should go. Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, made a show of it today by venturing to the flood zone. They went despite being asked to stay away by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

It’s interesting to me that candidates can do nothing to help. They do manage to score some political points, which Trump sought to do.

Presidents, though, do bring loads of gravitas to such visits.


For that reason, I’m glad Barack Obama is going to fulfill an unwritten but always understood job requirement. It is to be the comforter in chief. Obama is good at it.

Lord knows he’s had enough experience embracing grieving Americans caught in the midst of crisis.

President ought to take a look at the flood damage



A kinder, gentler Trump set to emerge … but wait!


Paul Manaford quit the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign three days after getting kicked out of his job as campaign CEO.

There appear to be some potentially difficult legal issues for Manaford to navigate. But I digress.

The issue today is how the Republican presidential nominee becomes a new man, a new candidate.

Honestly, this is all quite confusing.

Steve Bannon is the new CEO. Kellyanne Conway is the new campaign manager. Conway says she dislikes the personal insults that Trump has hurled throughout his campaign. Bannon, though, is a rough-and-tough character known for his take-no-prisoners style.

Trump has said publicly he plans “no pivot.” He’s not going to change his style.

OK, then.

How does his campaign get traction? How does he become a more “focused” and potentially gentler candidate for the U.S. presidency? His expression of “regret” over the “personal pain” he caused rings — to my ears — as hollow as his assertion that he’s going to “work for you.”

Moreover, how does he make these changes without pivoting … and without the public forgetting those astonishing utterances that have poured out of Trump’s mouth during the GOP primary campaign?

I won’t recite them here. You’ve heard ’em all. They fired up the GOP base. They’re still in Trump’s corner. What about the rest of the general election voters, though, who need convincing that Trump is their guy?

Trump’s campaign has gone through a remarkable set of changes in its high command quite late in the process of electing a president. They all seem to suggest a campaign in serious disarray.

And, oh yes, we have that organization issue to be resolved.

Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton has put — if you’ll excuse the ridiculous euphemism — “boots on the ground” in all 50 states. She’s got precinct chairs, workers, campaign staff, volunteers — and maybe even their pets, for all I know — lined up to work for her election. Trump? He’s got next to no one filling those essential line jobs in the field.

I’m waiting to see if Trump assumes Americans are as gullible and malleable as he hopes. My sense is that voters — those of us far beyond the GOP base — aren’t going to forget the lengthy string of insults and innuendo that propelled this guy to his party’s presidential nomination.

Innuendo machine getting cranked up again

trump and babies

Donald J. Trump has shaken up his Republican presidential campaign high command.

Many GOP experts are saying the same thing: Steve Bannon’s ascent to campaign CEO and Kellyanne Conway’s promotion to campaign manager means that they plan to “let Trump be Trump.”

Good. Bring it!

So what are we hearing now from the GOP nominee?

It’s that Hillary Rodham Clinton, the Democratic nominee, is too ill to be president. She doesn’t have the stamina. She doesn’t have the intellectual goods. Clinton takes too much “time off.” She “takes naps” after appearing at national campaign events.

The innuendo machine is being re-fired.

That develop, I suggest, is one of the results of Trump being Trump.

Will this campaign tactic stick? Will the GOP nominee be able to ride this fundamental lie to victory? Count me as one who doubts it seriously.

Many of those GOP “experts” also say Bannon’s promotion portends a disaster for Trump and the party he is leading. He’ll be able to solidify his GOP base, but will fail to expand that base to include independents, frustrated Democrats or even “establishment Republicans” who detest the idea that Trump is their party’s flag carrier.

The innuendo, though, about Clinton’s health will make headlines.

It also will give the Democratic nominee some ammo I’m quite certain she’s going to fire back at Trump when the two of them meet for their joint appearance.

Should ‘short-circuited’ remain a talking point?


A former colleague of mine scolded me once a few weeks ago over my criticism of Donald J. Trump’s gaffe when he referred the Apostle Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians as “2 Corinthians.”

My critic reminded me that people who speak for a living could be excused for saying things improperly on occasion. He made an interesting and thought-provoking point.

So, I’m left to wonder about Trump’s opponent in the presidential campaign, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who said she “short-circuited” when answering questions about the e-mail controversy that continues to dog her.

She’s been pilloried for the statement by her foes, led by Trump, who’s now questioning whether Clinton’s got the intellectual snap she needs to be president of the United States.

Trump and Clinton will square off soon in the first of three joint appearances. It’s seems a good bet that Trump will bring up the “short-circuited” comment. He’s hired a new campaign CEO and manager, both of whom vow to “let Trump be Trump.”

Is the criticism of Clinton fair? Or did she — as a politician who makes her living these days talking constantly — merely say something in a less-than-artful manner?

As my ex-colleague/critic reminded me: He knows “how easy it is to say something wrong and even incredibly stupid despite knowing better.”

Politicians, though, usually aren’t allowed — for better or for worse — the luxury of a simple misspeak.

This campaign is running on all cylinders?

A woman holds signs depicting the head of Republican presidential candidate businessman Donald Trump as she waits to enter the auditorium to hear him speak, Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2015, at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H.  (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

Someone will have to help me out, make me understand something that’s gone over my head.

Donald J. Trump has just brought in his third campaign chairman in the past eight weeks. He’s demoted the guy who had the job the day before yesterday. The new man in charge, a fellow named Steve Bannon, comes from a rightwing website, Breitbart.com.

The Republican presidential nominee also hired longtime GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway as his new campaign manager.

The Trumpkins say “not to worry. The campaign is going great! We’re going to finish so, so strong. Donald Trump is going to win!”



Well, Trump doesn’t have any organizations established in the key battleground states. There appears to be no one handling what’s known commonly as the “ground game,” which involves recruiting volunteers for get-out-voter drives and targeting key precincts.

He’s trailing Democratic opponent Hillary Rodham Clinton in every one of those key states. In some of them the deficit is in double digits.

What am I missing?

How does a candidate go from Corey Lewandowski to Paul Manafort to Steve Bannon as campaign chairs in eight weeks and still pretend to have all his oars in the water?

Moreover, reports are surfacing about growing panic within top Republican circles. Does this assuage that panic?

I do not believe it does.

Can the candidates keep a secret?


Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald J. Trump — the Democratic and Republican candidates for president, respectively — are set to receive briefings from President Obama’s national security team.

The question keeps bugging me: Will they both receive identical briefings and will they get information that is at matching levels of security clearance?

Trump’s penchant for shooting off his mouth has become somewhat legendary as he campaigns for president. Clinton, too, has problems — allegedly — with protecting national security information.

Of the two, my sense is that Clinton — given her troubles over her use of personal e-mail servers while she was secretary of state — is going to be extra careful with any information she gets from Obama’s national security team.

Trump? I’m not so sure.

This has been a custom dating back to the 1952 when President Truman’s team decided to share this information with Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson, the candidates who sought to succeed Give ‘Em Hell Harry.

The intent is to avoid the new president from getting too much of a surprise when he or she takes office. Harry Truman took office in April 1945 and wasn’t told until 12 days after being sworn in after President Roosevelt’s death that, um, we had been doing research on a secret weapon in New Mexico that might end World War II in a hurry.

It was the atomic bomb!

I’m going to assume — yes, I know that’s a dangerous thing to do — that the information given to Clinton and Trump will be given in the strictest confidence. That means the people giving it will be sworn to secrecy, as well as the people receiving it.

Are they bound by any rule that requires them to give Trump the same intelligence briefing they give to Clinton?

More to the point, can the intelligence briefers and the candidates keep it all of it a secret?

Hillary’s health becomes Trump’s trap

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s physical and emotional health has now become a talking point for her opponent in this race for the presidency of the United States.

Republican nominee Donald J. Trump is alleging that the Democratic candidate lacks the stamina to deal with the Islamic State and the myriad world problems that will confront the next president.


Of course, it’s a phony issue. Then again, Trump’s campaign to date has been based largely on phony issues from top to bottom.

* Crime is rampant? No. The crime rate is at a historic low.

* Our military force is a loser? Hardly. We’re still the most powerful nation the world has ever seen.

* The economy is a disaster? Uh, we’ve added 14 million jobs in the past eight years.

Now it’s Hillary Clinton’s health.

I am quite certain Trump’s team will keep talking this up to divert attention away from some other issues with which Trump has to deal.

Perhaps he ought to keep his trap shut on this one. You might remember — I sure do — when President Reagan stumbled badly in that first joint appearance in 1984 with Democratic nominee Walter Mondale. The question came up in the next event about the president’s health. The president was asked if he was up to the job.

“I will not exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience,” the president said.

Beware, Donald Trump.



Gov. Perry now deserves ‘shame’


Rick Perry has told the father of a slain U.S. Army soldier “shame on you” for speaking out against Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump.

Actually, governor, the shame belongs on you.

Khzir Khan offered a blistering critique of Trump at the Democratic National Convention. His son, Capt. Humayun Khan, was killed in 2004 while serving in Iraq. Khzir Khan said Trump didn’t understand the sacrifice that Gold Star parents have endured.

So, now we hear from the former Texas governor, an Air Force veteran, who said that Khzir Khan started the rhubarb with Trump and is not immune from criticism.


How can I say this delicately? I can’t.

That’s pure baloney, Gov. Perry.

Trump’s response to Mr. Khan was utterly classless. That is in large part what has prompted the bipartisan criticism of Trump and his handling of that issue. Now, for Gov. Perry — who once called Trump a “cancer on conservatism” — has jumped into the fray by focusing on Khzir Khan’s remarks.

Did he miss the part when Trump said the Khans had “no right” to criticize him? Or did he ignore the crack that Trump muttered about Mrs. Khan’s silence at the DNC, suggesting she was not allowed to speak because of her — oh, yes! — Muslim faith?

He said the Khans have become “fair game” by entering the “political arena.”

Actually, Gov. Perry, political custom has elevated Gold Star parents above the kind of criticism they received from the Republican presidential nominee.

E-mail story will never die … never!

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at Syracuse Universitys S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications presentation of the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting in Washington, DC, on March 23, 2015. AFP PHOTO/NICHOLAS KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

I’ve concluded that the Hillary Rodham Clinton e-mail controversy has as many lives as, say, the JFK assassination conspiracy theories and the notion that men didn’t really walk on the moon.

Congressional Republicans now are examining whether Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton committed perjury during her testimonial marathon in 2015.


They have put forward a case that Clinton lied while testifying when questioned by lawmakers about whether she sent out classified material using her personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state.

The hearing ended. The FBI then concluded that it had no credible evidence to prosecute Clinton over her use of the e-mail server. Sure, FBI Director James Comey had some harsh words for Clinton, saying she was “extremely careless” in handling those e-mails.

Was there criminality involved? None, said Comey.

That should end it, right?

Oh, no.

Now, the chairmen of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees are wanting to prove that Clinton committed perjury while testifying about her e-mail use.

Clinton said she didn’t send classified information on her e-mails; Comey said that is an untrue statement. Clinton said her staff reviewed all e-mails to identify work-related messages; Comey said the staffers didn’t read them entirely. Clinton said she used on e-mail server; Comey said she used several.

Does this constitute perjury? Did she deliberately deceive congressional interrogators?

I keep returning to Comey’s final report. He said “no reasonable prosecutor” would find reasons to indict Clinton over the e-mail matter. Did he say during his lengthy dissertation that she committed perjury? No.

The FBI director himself is a former federal prosecutor. He’s a thorough lawyer steeped in these the nuts and bolts of intense federal investigations.

Oh, but there’s this other matter.

Hillary Clinton is running for president of the United States and at this moment is the odds-on favorite to be elected to the highest office in the land.

Might there be a political motive in bringing this perjury investigation forward?

Hmmm. Maybe?

New poll makes Democrats’ hearts flutter


If you listen carefully, you just might be able to hear the sound of Texas Democrats’ hearts beating rapidly.

A new public opinion poll puts Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton a mere 6 percentage points behind Republican nominee Donald J. Trump.


It’s Trump at 44 percent, Clinton at 38.

Game on in Texas?

Hmmm. Maybe … but probably not.

The poll was done by PPP, a reputable polling firm. The survey, though, suggests that while the state may be starting to develop a two-party “trend,” it doesn’t necessarily augur for a victory for Clinton this time around.

According to the Texas Tribune: “Polling on the presidential race in Texas has been scant, but the margin found by PPP is the narrowest yet. Previous surveys, including one commissioned by Democrats, have found Trump’s lead ranging from seven to 11 points.”

I’m one of those who would like to see the presidential candidates engage in what’s called “retail politics” here. In battleground states, the candidates show up for public events, shake hands with voters, engage real people in real conversations about politics and policy.

We don’t get that kind of activity here, given the state’s strong GOP leaning. Democrats usually give up on us, while Republicans take us for granted.

Might there be some continued narrowing of the Clinton-Trump gap? If so, I’ll be among the first to welcome the major-party presidential candidates to Texas.

Until then, though, Texas Democrats probably will need to calm their beating hearts.