Tag Archives: FLOTUS

Picture speaks volumes about POTUS’s unfitness

This picture well might provide one of the most glaring examples I can imagine of Donald Trump’s unfitness for the presidency of the United States.

There he is, standing alongside first lady Melania Trump. They were visiting El Paso, Texas, on what was billed as a mission to lend aid and comfort to those who experienced the horrific massacre at the Wal-Mart shopping center this past weekend.

The moment demanded solemnity. It required the president to embrace family members. To tell them he supports them.

So … what does the first couple do? They pose for pictures that included an infant who was made an orphan when his parents were killed by the lunatic who opened fire at the Wal-Mart complex.

Don’t they look happy? Aren’t they just so darn full of good cheer? Is that the image they should project while the nation mourns the deaths inflicted in El Paso and also in Dayton, Ohio? I’ll answer the final question: Hell … no!

When the president’s critics talk about his lack of empathy, his inability — or unwillingness — to express authentic sorrow, this is the image they might use to illustrate the point.

The baby has no idea what has happened. That is not even close to the point! My point is that president and the first lady ventured to the latest “ground zero” of gun violence in the United States. Twenty-two people died at the hands of a madman. There is mounting evidence that the shooter was inspired by the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has come from the president.

Has the president owned any of that? Has he suggested even the slightest hint of remorse or regret at the things he has said that could have spawned such insanity? No. He has not done anything of the sort.

The job of president compels the president at times of national grief and shock to speak from his heart. It’s an unwritten part of his job description, but it’s there. Did the president deliver on that responsibility? No. He went to El Paso and Dayton and sought to turn the tours of both cities into self-serving testimonials.

Then he grins like a doofus in the presence of an infant who is going to grow up never remembering the man and woman who brought him into the world, two victims of gun violence gunned down in the worst slaughter ever inflicted on the Latino community.

Absolutely sickening.

Waiting for the ‘perfect headline’ to present itself

I won’t belabor this topic, but it deserves a quick-hit mention anyway.

I am waiting for the chance to use several acronyms in the same headline. I am don’t yet know the circumstance will present itself, but I’m going to look for it.

They are: POTUS, VPOTUS, SCOTUS and FLOTUS, referencing the president, vice president, U.S. Supreme Court and first lady.

I use them individually whenever I write about them on High Plains Blogger. I’ve even written a headline a few times that contains two of them. Three is a stretch. Four seems impossible.

But bear with me. I’m on the hunt. Patience is the key.

UVA declines invitation to visit White House … what gives?

The list is now up to three.

The University of Virginia won the NCAA men’s basketball championship with a stunning victory over Texas Tech University. Then the White House invited the Cavaliers to be feted by Donald Trump.

The Cavs’ response? No can do, Mr. President.

They now join the University of North Carolina and Villanova University in declining to take part in what most of us thought was a part of D.C. normalcy. Teams win national championships, then travel to the nation’s capital to be honored by the president of the United States.

That was until Donald Trump became president of the United States. Now we find the president politicizing these events, criticizing pro football players for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. He infuriates players, who then balk at coming to the White House. The Golden State Warriors this past year won the NBA title, chafed at going to the White House and then the president disinvited them.

Now the third straight men’s college basketball team has said “no thanks” to the White House, citing what school officials called “scheduling conflicts.” Sure thing, man.

When you think about it, what we’re seeing is an ongoing trend involving this president.

Donald and Melania Trump haven’t attended a Kennedy Center Honors event that pays tribute to artists who contribute to the world’s culture. The president refuses to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, I presume because of his antipathy toward the “enemy of the American people.”

These once-pro forma events have become news in and of themselves because of the president’s clumsy relationships with national institutions.

So the drama continues.

The UVA Cavaliers won’t break bread with the president. I fully expect Donald Trump to say something inappropriate — if not downright stupid — in response to the NCAA men’s champs’ decision to stay away.

Weird.

FLOTUS has a point, however …

First lady Melania Trump makes a lot of sense when she says critics ought to “focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

Mrs. Trump has just concluded a brief solo jaunt to Africa, where she visited four countries while highlighting her concern for children and women’s rights and well-being.

But then she got photographed wearing a pith helmet, the kind of headgear popular during the era of colonization of Africa. Twitter trolls were all over it, criticizing the first lady for her poor choice of hats.

Her response sought to remind her critics that she is trying to do noble work on behalf of children and women. That should be their focus, not the style of hats she wears, which critics said are too much of a reminder of the oppression brought to Africa during the years of European empire-building.

That brings me to an element that fills me with mixed feelings.

The first lady’s staff ought to be dialed in, focused like lasers on the image she portrays whenever she is seen in public. I am wondering why Mrs. Trump’s staff couldn’t foresee this kind of blow back. She wore that jacket that caught people’s attention. It said, “I really don’t care, do u?” while she was touring immigration camps along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Then, of course, we have the first lady’s signature issue: bullying of children, including that which occurs via the Internet. That is a noble cause to promote, but the first lady seems blind and deaf to the bullying that occurs via Twitter — from her husband, the president of the United States of America.

So, the pith helmet outcry seems on the surface to be overblown. Critics ought to concentrate on the first lady’s deeds, not her attire.

Then again, let’s take greater care, Mme. First Lady, to avoid these kinds of pitfalls.

Heartlessness on the border must end

Heartless public policy is an ugly thing to watch unfold.

Especially when it involves children, often young children … toddlers and infants.

Donald J. Trump actually said he hates the sight of children being taken from their parents at the nation’s southern border. Then the president blurted out yet another lie, that congressional Democrats are responsible for enacting a law that the administration is following.

Except that there is no law. What is unfolding in front of us is an administration directive under a “no-tolerance” immigration policy.

Now we hear that first lady Melania Trump has weighed in on this tragic event. As Politico reports: A spokeswoman for Melania Trump said Sunday that the first lady “hates to see children separated from their families” and hopes both parties can reach a solution. “She believes we need to be a country that follows all laws, but also a country that governs with heart,” the statement said.

This is a heartless, callous and totally unnecessary policy. The administration enacted it to “deter” illegal immigrants from entering the country. It figures that undocumented immigrants will think twice or thrice about entering the United States if they face the prospect of their children being taken from them at the border.

But … seriously? Do we really want to be known around the world as the nation that separates children from their parents with no clear plan on when, where or how they will be reunited?

This isn’t the basis on which this country was founded. It isn’t the basis for the rest of the world pursuing the dream of hope, liberty and opportunity in the Land of the Free.

A nation that, in the words of the first lady, “governs with heart” can find a solution to this hideous public policy.

One way to start would be to persuade the president to stop lying while he blames this crisis on Democrats.

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!

Melania must bear the burden of Donald

I am feeling mildly — but not totally — sorry for first lady Melania Trump.

She tweeted a message this weekend asking Americans to put forward a “random act of kindness.” Her intention was to call attention to Random Act of Kindness Day.

You would have thought she had just asked us all to eat our puppies for dinner. The Twitterverse exploded with recriminations against the first lady, but more notably as well against her husband, the president of the United States, Donald John Trump.

The tweets lambasted the president for his own bullying instincts and how he uses social media to insult, berate and condemn others.

It reminds me of when Mrs. Trump announced as her major goal as first lady would be to end cyber bullying. The response, as expected, was the same as this random act of kindness message. Many Americans — yours truly included — are appalled that Donald Trump uses Twitter to bully his opponents. We called on the first lady to look first toward her husband’s conduct.

Now she is facing this latest tempest.

I don’t feel totally sorry for Melania Trump. She was an adult when she married a twice-married man. She had to know what she was getting when she and Donald tied the knot. She surely knew about his behavior, his previous transgressions, his admitted philandering.

By virtue of her husband’s stunning victory in the 2016 presidential election, Melania Trump has assumed a role for which she might not have expected to assume.

Thus, I feel mildly sympathetic toward her as she seeks to convey a positive message.

If only her husband would follow his wife’s sound advice.

Melania vs. Ivana adds to Trump chaos

This is unbelievable.

Ivana Trump once was married to Donald John Trump.

They divorced. Donald Trump then married Marla Maples.

Trump and Maples divorced. After that, Donald Trump married his current wife, Melania.

What, then, is Ivana Trump trying to do here? She’s sowing seeds of chaos by saying she has immediate access to the White House, that she’s the actual “first lady.”

You see, chaos follows the president in seemingly every aspect of his life, or so it seems.

As if it needs to be spelled out to Ivana Trump … she ain’t the first lady. She’s one of two former wives of the man who was elected president in 2016.

“This is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise,” the first lady’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement to Fox News.

Trump isn’t the first divorcee to be elected president. Ronald Reagan was married to actress Jane Wyman before he married Nancy Davis. If memory serves, I don’t recall Jane Wyman making ridiculous assertions regarding her status as it related to the president.

But, oh, this is a new day, with a new president, and apparently a new set of behavior standards.

The chaos, though, seems oddly familiar.

POTUS, FLOTUS and kids take time off

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A young Amarillo businessman — a friend of mine — griped recently that the Obama family would be jetting off to Hawaii for a little Christmas R&R.

It’s a tradition the president and first lady have followed since they moved into the White House in January 2009.

My friend seems to think that since the president is the lamest of ducks — with less than a month to go before he leaves office — he doesn’t need a vacation.

Actually, he does.

This brings up a point I want to make about presidential vacations … which is that they don’t really take vacations the way I — or my young friend, for that matter — understand the meaning of the word.

Presidents are never off the clock. They are accompanied by that military officer who’s carrying “The Football,” aka the briefcase containing the nuclear codes; the president gets his daily national security briefing; he is on-call 24/7.

I wrote about the Obamas’ vacation in a blog post two years ago:

Vacation for first family; POTUS will need the rest

I don’t begrudge presidents from taking time away from the office.

You may choose to believe or disbelieve my next point, but I’ll make it nonetheless. I won’t begrudge the next president and his family from taking time away.

Donald Trump will need some time away — presuming, of course that he works as hard at being president as his predecessors have done. Despite what my friend asserted the other day, Obama has worked his tail off, as did Presidents Bush 43, Clinton, Bush 41, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, Roosevelt … I’ll stop there.

They all faced crises and conflict. They need time to chill, to collect their thoughts, to spend time with their spouses and kids.

They are not out of touch or out of reach.

So, with that I say to the current president and his beautiful family: Surf’s up, enjoy yourselves … but keep the phone nearby. We might need you, Mr. President, in a pinch.