Tag Archives: first lady

That’s showing ‘respect,’ Mr. President?

Donald Trump must have been kidding when he issued that Christmas statement calling on Americans to treat each other with “respect” and “understanding.”

That’s all I can think when I read the Twitter rant he fired off about California and New York’s homeless problems and how the governors of those states should ask the federal government “politely” for help in dealing with the problem.

Trump said this, for instance: “If their governors can’t handle the situation, which they should be able to do very easily, they must call and ‘politely’ ask for help. Would be so easy with competence.”

That’s the Christmas spirit, Mr. President.

He called Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gavin Newsom of California “incompetent.” He said the homeless populations in both states are setting records. The president implied that the feds won’t lift a finger unless the governors show some manners in seeking help.

I don’t mean to suggest that I actually took Trump’s Christmas message all that seriously. He doesn’t exhibit any semblance of sincerity when he makes such proclamations. How can anyone believe he means those words when the first lady’s “Be Best” campaign against bullying ignores the president’s incessant bullying via his Twitter account?

He’s doing it again and again, this time aiming his ire at the governors of two of our United States.

I should point out that homelessness is not unique to those two states. Texas also has a big-time homeless problem. The difference? Texas is governed by a Republican; New York and California are governed by Democrats. Therefore, Democratic governors become fair game while Republican governors are protected by their party affiliation.

Perhaps we should just implore the president to dispense with the shallow holiday messages about “respect” and “understanding.” He doesn’t mean what he says, so … why bother?

By all means, ban those ‘flavored’ vape devices

Get ready for it. I am about to say something positive about the president of the United States.

Donald J. Trump is absolutely correct to call for a ban on the sale of those “flavored” e-cigarette devices (I think that’s what you might call ’em) in an effort to stem the use of vaping among youngsters.

The president today spoke of his own vested interest in the banning of them, noting that he and first lady Melania Trump are the parents of a teenage son who is part of the generation that is drawn to those weird flavors.

Actually, the president referenced the first lady exclusively, saying “she has a son” and, thus, has skin in the game.

Whatever. He is correct to demand stricter prohibitions regarding vaping, which is producing serious illness and death among youngsters all over the country.

My wife and I are in Bellingham, Wash., tonight and local news reports referred extensively to the state’s first vape-related death.

It’s an epidemic. Its most vulnerable victims are gullible youngsters, boys and girls, who are lured to try this new fad. I always thought e-cigarettes and vaping were somehow safer than the old-fashioned cigarettes I used to smoke.

Now this vaping craze has produced flavors: cotton candy and other assorted scents that I guess young people find appealing.

Honestly, I don’t quite yet understand the vaping craze … other than I want no part of it. I quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey nearly 40 years ago. It is one of the things I’ve done in my life of which I am most proud.

If we can dissuade young people from vaping and exposing their lungs to the hazards of nicotine, then I’m all for that, too.

To that end, I applaud the president for using his high office for a noble cause.

First lady embarks on important mission in Africa

First lady Melania Trump is on a mission in Africa. Her aim is to spread her mission to help children and to protect them from various forms of exploitation.

She also can perform a public relations clean up of a mess made by her husband, Donald Trump, the president of the United States. You see, the president is still trying to live down a quote attributed to him in which he referred to African nations as “sh**hole countries.” I don’t recall him making any distinction among the nations on the continent, just that all the nations on the continent were sending unwelcome immigrants to our shores.

Well, the first lady now is embarked on a mission to promote her signature issue: child protection.

Africa is a good place to take that message.

You’ll recall the terror group Boko Haram, based in Nigeria. Boko Haram kidnapped hundreds of young women, many of them children. They released some of them, but reportedly are holding others in some hiding place. No doubt they are being terrorized and intimidated by their captors.

What the first lady can do to help these young victims remains unclear, but she does occupy an important bully pulpit.  I sincerely hope she uses it to speak truth to the need to care for young people around the world.

As a guest column in the Dallas Morning News notes, Africa has the world’s largest concentration of people younger than 18. Many of them are in desperate straits. They need a powerful ally to speak to their needs. Melania Trump can offer that voice on their behalf.

Read the column by Natalie Gonella-Platts here.

Moreover, she can bring worldwide attention once again to the terrorists acts of Boko Haram and demand once more: release those young women and girls and return them to their families.

It’s not really our business, however …

Donald J. Trump’s lawyer of the moment, Rudy Giuliani, has decided to speak about the first lady’s view of one of her husband’s, um, episodes involving other women.

Giuliani said Melania Trump “believes” the president when he says he didn’t have a tryst with a pornographic film actress, Stephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, in a hotel room back in 2006.

So, how does the former New York City mayor come to that conclusion? Do you think he asked Mrs. Trump directly? Did he ask the president himself? Or is he just making a conclusion based on nothing at all?

None of this in reality is anyone’s business. However, since one of the principals involved in this idiocy happens to be the president of the United States, it sort of morphs itself into the public domain.

I have difficulty accepting that Mrs. Trump would even answer such a question, even if it comes from the man who’s now representing her husband in his myriad battles to fend off investigations of all sorts. They include this matter involving Clifford/Daniels … allegedly.

I still circle back to the one aspect of that tryst that makes it all so very believable. It’s the payment of 130 grand in real American money that another lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to Daniels to keep her quiet. One must ask: If there was no sexual encounter, why would he have to pay the hush money?

As for whether Giuliani is relying on Donald Trump’s assertion that his (third) wife believes his denials about a one-night stand with Daniels — sigh! — I only can fall back on the many lies Trump has told since he began his political career in 2015.

If it were me — and I am so glad that it isn’t — I wouldn’t believe a single word that flies out of the president’s mouth.

Twitter overuse brings this kind of embarrassment

Donald Trump’s incessant use, overuse — and some of us have suggested misuse — of Twitter as a vehicle for his public statements produces moments such as what happened today.

The president sought to tweet a statement welcoming his wife home from the hospital after she underwent kidney surgery.

Except that he misspelled her name, referring to the first lady as “Melanie,” not Melania.

As a former Texas governor once said so (in)famously: Oops.

The president — or someone on his staff — deleted the mistake. Trump then issued the proper welcome with the proper spelling of the first lady’s name.

I have stopped criticizing Trump’s use of Twitter to make policy pronouncements, although his use of the social medium to fire Cabinet officials and others in his administration is troublesome, to say the very least.

I don’t even know if Trump himself is actually tweeting these messages or if it is being done by some intern. Whoever it is, Americans deserve at the very least to have their head of state, head of government and commander in chief being able to spell the name of his wife.

Arrgghhh!

RIP, ‘The Enforcer’

What does one say only moments after learning that one of America’s most beloved public figures has left this good Earth?

Barbara Pierce Bush has died at the age of 92. It was no surprise. She was in “failing health,” surrounded by her family. She had ordered an end to preventative health care, focusing instead on “comfort care.”

The wife of the nation’s 41st president made no pretense about the fake pearls she wore around her neck. She said they were intended to cover up her wrinkles. But everything else about her was so very real. She was known to her kids and grandkids as “The Enforcer.” She set the rules and she made them stick.

And the nation fell madly in love with this woman, a proud first lady — but more importantly a proud wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

She promoted literacy. She became an advocate for research on HIV/AIDS.

She also was unafraid to disagree with her husband, President George H.W. Bush, or her son, President George W. Bush.

The nation will grieve. The president will order flags to fly at half-staff at the nation’s federal buildings. We’ll all remember Barbara Bush as the matriarch of one of the nation’s most iconic political families.

She was a great American.

Hoping that Hillary calls it a career

Hillary Rodham Clinton is beginning to resurface.

Her book is out, the one that “explains” why she lost a presidential election she should have won. I’ll stipulate that I haven’t read “What Happened.” I have every intention of doing so. I’m curious as to what this candidate who should have been elected in 2016 says about her stunning election loss.

I’ll simply fall back to a position I took not long after Donald J. Trump got elected president of the United States.

My hope for the Democratic Party is that they find a fresh face, a novice to the national political stage, a rookie to run against whomever the Republicans nominate for president in 2020.

It shouldn’t be Hillary Clinton. And if the Republican Party honchos were to ask for my opinion, I’d say they shouldn’t renominate the incumbent president. Hey, I just told ’em that very thing. Imagine that!

Hillary will lay a lot of blame on FBI Director James Comey and his strange reopening of the e-mail probe late in the campaign. She’ll blame the Russians for hacking into our electoral system. She will blame the media for the way they covered her campaign. Sure, she also is going to take a lot of the blame herself.

From where I sit out here in Flyover Country, it’s that last element that deserves the bulk of the cause for her stunning loss.

Clinton was a lousy candidate. She spent too much time down the stretch in states she had no prayer of winning and too little time in those battleground states that flipped from supporting Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 to backing Trump.

Yes, I also believe in that malady called Clinton Fatigue. We had two terms of her husband, President Bill Clinton; and along the way, we got a big dose of first lady Hillary Clinton, too. Do you recall when candidate Bill told us in 1992 if we elect him, we’d get her as well in a sort of two-for-one deal?

She ran for the U.S. Senate in 2000 as she and her husband were to leave the White House and she served her new home state of New York with competence and some level of distinction.

She challenged Sen. Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination and took him to the wire. The new president’s payback was to appoint her secretary of state, a post she held for Obama’s first term.

Clinton won the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination believing the election was hers for the taking. She wasn’t alone. I was among the millions of pseudo-experts who thought she’d win in a record-setting landslide. I’ve been eating crow ever since.

Her time has come and gone. She’s yesterday’s heroine.

I do not want her to run again. She had my support once already. I’m not sure I can back her a second time.

Her book is likely to produce some interesting reading. That is it. However, the future of her political party, I believe, belongs to someone who’s going to emerge from nowhere.

Still waiting for the anti-cyberbullying campaign to begin

I don’t intend to beat up on Melania Trump, given all the grief that has fallen on her husband, the president of the United States.

My hope for the first lady is that she’s going to start delivering on her campaign pledge to call attention to cyberbullying, particularly where it involves children.

I figured that Mother’s Day was as good a day as any to mention the first lady’s pledge to put cyberbullying in front of the national consciousness. She is, after all, Mom to a young boy … although it’s highly unlikely that Barron is going to be subject to much — if any — of the behavior that drew Melania Trump’s attention during the 2016 presidential campaign.

Yes, I know about the criticism that came her way from those who said she needed to start at home, by getting Donald Trump to lay off the Twitter tirades. I was one of those critics.

In reality, her cause is a good one. It’s a noble initiative.

If only she could wrestle some of the attention away from her husband and start organizing the effort to end what she referred to correctly as a “scourge” inflicted on our young people.

What has become of Hillary the Invincible?

hillary

There once was a time — not that long ago — when Hillary Rodham Clinton was considered a shoo-in not just for her party’s presidential nomination, but for the office itself.

She was Hillary the Invincible. The 2016 Democratic presidential nomination was, to borrow that cliché, “hers to lose” — although I’ve never quite understood what phrase actually means.

Then came some nasty stuff.

The Benghazi matter doesn’t count. I do not consider the Benghazi tragedy to be a “scandal,” as some media blowhards on the right have called it.

Here’s what is more troubling in my view: the e-mail matter.

The former secretary of state revealed some months ago that she used her personal e-mail server to communicate with others about, um, State Department business. That disclosure troubled me when I heard and I troubles me even more now. Why? Because of reports that — as some have feared — messages sent out into the public domain contained classified information.

The Justice Department has now ordered Clinton to turn over her personal e-mail server to the spooks at DOJ, who’ll look over all the material that went out on it. But as the Washington Post’s Chis Cillizza notes:  “It’s impossible to see this as anything but a bad thing for her presidential prospects.”

The trustworthiness issue is beginning now to dog the former first lady/U.S. senator/secretary of state. Is she for real? Is she authentic? Can she be trusted to tell us the truth all the time?

Yes, I am having doubts about all of that, right along with a lot of other Americans.

The Democratic field already has three other candidates seeking the party’s presidential nomination. I’m waiting to hear whether a fourth non-Clinton will jump in … that would be Vice President Joe Biden, about whom much has been written during his lengthy career in government.

He’s become the target of late-night comedians’ jokes because of his occasional gaffes. No one, though, doubts his authenticity or his motives for seeking a career in public service.

Whether he runs, though, likely might depend on how much damage gets done to Hillary Clinton’s once-seemingly invincible image.

 

Is HRC 'likable enough' to get elected?

A young U.S. senator, Barack Obama, uttered arguably one of the signature lines of the 2008 Democratic Party presidential primary campaign when he told fellow Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, “You’re likable enough, Hillary.”

I’m betting that Clinton didn’t appreciate the “compliment.”

Now, eight years later, she’s launching another bid for the presidency.

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/04/12/clinton-campaigns-challenge-make-her-likeable/

And as the Wall Street Journal reports, her task is to make her “likable enough” to get elected president of the United States next year.

As the WSJ reported: “She needs to try to humanize herself, because in some ways she’s kind of become a cardboard cutout figure,” said Douglas Brinkley, a history professor at Rice University.

So, the campaign begins anew for the former first lady, senator and secretary of state.

Many in the media refer to her simply as “Hillary.” Just a mention of that name and you know to whom the reference is being made. Does the first-name familiarity make her likable? Hardly. I continue to believe she needs to translate likability into authenticity.

She remains a political powerhouse. The strength, though, doesn’t always connect with voters in a tangible manner. Clinton at times appears evasive, which hardly lends itself to likability.

I will be among millions of voters looking for signs that she’s capable of understanding the problems, worries and concerns of average American citizens. If she does, she’ll prove she’s for real, that she’s authentic.

And likable.