Tag Archives: George W. Bush

Trump’s lawyer did … what?

Donald Trump might need a new lawyer.

The guy he has hired to represent him in this “Russia thing” investigation has done something that, according to an ethics counsel who worked for President George W. Bush, should qualify him for disbarment.

Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, allegedly wrote this in a tweet: I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!

What’s in play here? The lawyer supposedly wrote a tweet that contradicts something Trump had said earlier, that he fired former national security adviser Michael Flynn for lying to the vice president. He made no mention earlier of his lying to the FBI.

Now it’s Richard Painter, who served President Bush as ethics lawyer, who has weighed in. Painter, no friend of Donald Trump, wrote: “A lawyer who writes a tweet like that incriminating a client should be disbarred. He can tell (special counsel Robert) Mueller he wrote it.”

Of course, this all presumes that Dowd actually wrote the tweet. I am just going to state up front that I don’t believe that Dowd wrote it. Painter is likely correct to presume that a lawyer who would actually send something like into universe isn’t smart enough to operate under a law license.

I don’t know the first thing about John Dowd, but I am going to make an assumption that he’s probably alert enough to avoid something so stupid.

What still might need explaining, though — if Dowd didn’t write the tweet — is why he would fall on the grenade in the first place.

Taking the fall for doing something he might not have done is pretty stupid, too.

But if he did … then why in the name of presidential stupidity would Donald Trump allow someone else to use his Twitter account to incriminate him?

No war against Islam, but against religious perverts

Barack H. Obama made a critical point the night in May 2011 when he told the world that U.S. special forces had killed Osama bin Laden in a daring raid in Pakistan.

The president reminded us that “we are not at war against Islam. Osama bin Laden was not a Muslim leader. He was a mass murderer of Muslims.”

The al-Qaeda leader is long dead. His legacy continues to spread mayhem, murder and misery. More than 200 Muslim worshipers died today when terrorists detonated a bomb in a Cairo, Egypt mosque. The killers appear to be affiliated with the Islamic State, the monstrous outfit that has supplanted al-Qaeda as this country’s No. 1 international enemy.

And that brings me to my essential point. It is that we are at war with religious perverts, not mainstream Muslims. President Bush made that point abundantly clear just days after 9/11; President Obama echoed his predecessor’s assessment during his two terms in office.

Are we hearing such rhetoric from Donald J. Trump? Well, the president did fire off a tweet today condemning the “extremist ideology that forms the basis for their existence,” referring to the ISIS offshoot that is taking responsibility for this latest barbaric act.

I want the president to state categorically that our struggle is not against Muslims or the faith they worship. It is against the monstrous perverts who kill indiscriminately.

Trump seeks to tighten screws on N. Korea

Donald J. Trump has acted appropriately with regard to North Korea. Instead of blustering about delivering “fire and fury” to the Marxist regime, he has returned North Korea to the list of nations that sponsor terrorism.

The president has made the correct call.

He is seeking to isolate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in his effort to build a nuclear weapons arsenal. The aim, according to Trump, is to impose the strictest economic sanctions possible on the rogue nation. It’s also meant to pressure China, North Korea’s chief trading partner, into following suit.

I don’t know about you, but I believe this approach holds far greater potential than threats of military strikes.

The designation — which reverses a decision made by President George W. Bush in 2008 — puts North Korea on a short list of state-sponsored-terrorist nations; the others are Sudan, Iran and Syria.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson doubts the designation will have much practical effect, given that the United States already has imposed heavy sanctions on North Korea. But he is talking openly about his “hope for diplomacy” in the effort to persuade North Korea to stand down in its effort to build a nuclear arsenal.

The great Winston Churchill once told us it was better to “jaw, jaw, jaw than to war, war, war.”

The late British prime minister’s wisdom ought to apply to the present-day crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

Air Force messed up on shooter’s record

More than two decades ago, the 1995 Texas Legislature considered a concealed handgun carry bill. I opposed it with great passion.

The Legislature enacted it. Then-Gov. George W. Bush signed it into law. Over the years, I grew to accept the law, although I never have totally endorsed it.

But get a load of this: The Texas concealed handgun carry law did its job as it regards the Sutherland Springs shooter while the U.S. Air Force failed to do its job.

The loon who killed those 26 worshipers in Sutherland Springs was denied a concealed carry permit in Texas because of a criminal record check the state performed on him when he made his application.

Air Force misfires

But the U.S. Air Force, which sent him packing with a bad conduct discharge, didn’t tell the National Criminal Information Center about a court martial conviction in connection with an assault charge against his wife and her child. That failure to report enabled the shooter to purchase legally the rifle he used to massacre those First Baptist parishioners, including several children.

I’m not going to brag about Texas’s concealed carry law. I still am not a huge fan of it. Still, it hasn’t produced the kind of street-corner violence that many of us — including yours truly — feared would occur.

I am a bit heartened, though, that the state law worked. Texas denied this madman a permit to carry a gun under his jacket.

If only the Air Force had done its job, too.

Maybe it could have prevented this tragedy. Just maybe …

POTUSes 41 and 43 ‘tell it like it is’

Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush are pulling no punches as it regards one of their successors, Donald John Trump.

Bush 41 calls Trump a “blowhard”; Bush 43 says Trump doesn’t understand the impact of occupying the world’s most powerful public office.

They are actual Republicans. Trump, as I understand their interpretation, is a quintessential Republican In Name Only, a RINO. The former presidents believe the GOP is in trouble with Trump as its titular party leader.

A new book, “The Last Republicans” by Mark Updegrove, details the views of the former presidents regarding the current Oval Office occupant. It’s rare, indeed, to hear ex-presidents comment at all on their successors, but this is no ordinary time in American politics.

I mean, the country elected someone to the presidency in 2016 with no prior public service. None! He came from the world of big business, beauty pageants and reality TV. His entire professional career was aimed at self-enrichment and self-promotion.

And that gets to the heart of Bush 43’s critique of Trump as someone who doesn’t understand what it means to be president. Trump spoke during the campaign of being his own best adviser, as he touted his intelligence and steel-trap memory. President Bush 43 sees that as a serious indicator of Trump’s lack of understanding of the office he occupies.

The interviews were conducted before Trump even became the Republican nominee for president. Bush 41 was leery of Trump from the beginning and has said in blunt terms that “I don’t like him.”

The White House, of course, has returned the volley, saying that the Bushes’ concern about the future of the GOP is more of an indictment on their leadership than it is about Donald Trump.

Sure thing. Except that the guy in the White House ran as a Republican only because he saw it as providing the path of least resistance to his form of populism/nativism/isolationism.

The guy who was elected because he “tells it like it is” is now getting a serious dose of his own rhetorical medicine by two seasoned Republicans who know the ropes, know about the office they held between them for 12 years and who understand the consequences of electing someone with no knowledge of how to govern.

‘W’ takes off the muzzle

I don’t know Amarillo resident James Whitaker, the author of a brief letter to the editor of the Amarillo Globe-News.

The letter included this passage:

What disturbs me is that during eight years of President Barack Obama’s administration, and the reversal of many of President Bush’s actions, Bush said nothing. But now he comes out and attacks this current president?

I think I might have an answer for this gentleman.

President Bush was quiet because President Obama conducted himself with grace and dignity during his two terms in office. Yes, he was critical of Bush administration policies and, yes, he sought to reverse some of his immediate predecessor’s policies.

Obama also was quite gracious toward Bush as the men conducted a relatively seamless transition from one administration to another. He thanked Bush publicly on multiple occasions for the cooperation he delivered during that transition after the 2008 election.

President Obama also made a point of telling the world that the first phone call he made after U.S. special ops forces were out of harm’s way after the mission that killed Osama bin Laden was to President Bush.

George W. Bush’s recent criticism of Donald J. Trump was aimed at the sheer coarseness of the political debate that has been generated ever since Trump entered the political arena back in June 2015.

President Bush was the first leading politician to declare after 9/11 that “we are not at war against Islam.” Donald Trump has all but turned aside that notion with his continual attacks on Islam and those who practice it.

What’s more, Trump’s insults against the former president’s brother, one-time GOP primary campaign opponent Jeb Bush, surely has weighed on W’s mind.

I am one who found the former president’s remarks recently about the current president to be on the mark. They were cogent and they accurately portrayed the divisive nature of Donald Trump’s effort to govern the United States.

Here’s the former president’s recent remarks that provide a barely veiled reference to the current president.

I believe President Bush makes his case with precision.

Recalling a Texas Panhandle giant

Every now and then, I like scrolling back through my blog posts to re-examine thoughts I had way back when.

I did so again tonight and found a short post I wrote about the death of a Texas Panhandle political titan: former state Sen. Teel Bivins.

Here is what I wrote:

Panhandle loses a legislative giant

Bivins would leave Amarillo and the Panhandle to become U.S. ambassador to Sweden. His good friend, President George W. Bush, thought to reward Bivins for the work he did to get the president elected in 2000.

My thoughts turn to Sen. Bivins today in light of the current political climate. I wonder how he might fare in the harsh environment that seems to be overcoming people in events in Austin, let alone in Washington. He was a true-blue, rock-ribbed “establishment Republican.” He was conservative to the core, a staunch defender of private property owners’ rights — which makes sense, given his own extensive ranch holdings in the rural Panhandle.

I also want to share a brief memory about Bivins, which I think speaks well of the man’s character as well as his media savvy.

***

I was new to the Panhandle in early 1995. I didn’t yet know Bivins; I only knew of him. I had heard one of the Senate colleagues, Democrat Carl Parker of Port Arthur, describe Bivins as one of those “silk-stocking Republicans” who was more interested in helping rich people than fighting for the working stiff.

Bivins’ office called me one day about a month after I arrived at the Amarillo Globe-News. Bivins wanted to get acquainted. I went to his office in downtown Amarillo. We shook hands and started chatting. Bivins told me of his friendship with Parker and gave him kudos for his immense debating skills.

Then we talked about our families. He asked me about mine. I told him I was married and that my wife and I had two sons in college.

Then he launched into an amazing soliloquy about his own family and his troubled marriage. He told me about the struggles his then-wife was having with substance abuse. He said he wasn’t sure how much longer he could cope with it, how much more help he could give to her.

As I listened to this strange method of getting acquainted with a member of the media, I was struck by the extraordinary candor he was expressing to someone he barely knew.

We finished our visit. I went back to the office. Bivins went back to Austin to continue working as a legislator.

No more than few days later, I told one of Bivins’ top aides about what he revealed. She smiled and said he had an ulterior motive. Bivins wanted me to hear it from him, rather than hearing it from someone else, who might put a different sort of spin on it.

I thought, “ah hah!” I got played. More or less. However, it was for the right reason.

Eight years after this good man’s death, I am not bashful about telling you that I still miss him.

McCain afraid? Of Trump?

Take a bow, Sunny Hostin. You’ve just asked the most preposterous post-2016 presidential election question yet.

Hostin is a co-host of “The View,” the show that features a panel of women who sit around and gab about the “hot topics” of the day. Their guest today was U.S. Sen. John McCain, whose daughter, Meghan, has just joined the lineup of “The View.”

She asked the senator if he is “afraid of” Donald Trump, who has drawn a lot of fire from McCain over this and that issue since he became president The question drew howls of laughter from the audience — and from the senator!

“I mentioned that I had faced greater challenges,” McCain eventually replied once he stopped laughing.

Challenges?

Let’s see, how has the senator fared over the course of his life?

McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy. Then he flew fighter jets during the Vietnam War. He got shot down over Hanoi in 1967. McCain was held captive for more than five years. He was tortured, beaten to within an inch of his life; he was held in isolation for months at a time.

McCain would be released in 1973. He ran for Congress, landing eventually in the Senate. He ran for president twice, losing the Republican primary in 2000 to George W. Bush and the 2008 general election to Barack H. Obama.

Oh, and then there’s this: He’s now fighting brain cancer with what I am believing is an iffy prognosis. Sen. McCain is in the middle of the fight of his life. Yet he is proceeding courage and is exhibiting the same fighting spirit he revealed when he was held by vicious enemy captors.

Is he afraid of Donald J. Trump — a man who knows not a damn thing about the kind of sacrifice that servicemen and women such as McCain have given to their country?

I cannot say this enough about Sen. McCain. I more often disagree with his policy positions than I agree with them. However, he embodies the very definition of courage.

I didn’t hear Hostin pose the question in real time, but I’ll presume she offered it in good faith.

The senator’s reaction speaks volumes about his opinion of the president of the United States.

Imagine seeing Trump with his five living predecessors

Try as hard as I do, I cannot wrap my arms around a certain scenario involving Donald J. Trump and five of the men who preceded him as president of the United States.

History has provided opportunities for the living for presidents to gather along with the current POTUS. They have appeared at ribbon-cuttings, at funerals, at various and sundry public functions.

Try to imagine Trump sharing a stage with Presidents Carter, Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama. Imagine these men all setting aside the humiliating insults that Trump has hurled at them collectively and individually. Let’s not forget the insults and name-calling he has hurled at the wife of one of those men, referring to the 2016 Democratic nominee as “Crooked Hillary” Clinton.

Of all of the former presidents I could imagine possibly showing up at a Trump event I can think only of President Carter taking that leap. I guess it’s because of the former president’s deep Christian faith and the grace he embodies even where it involves those who have sought to humiliate him.

I won’t bet the farm, though, on President Carter doing it.

Still, the current president has demonstrated a seemingly limitless capacity to re-litigate the 2016 election. He keeps seeking to rub in the faces of his political foes the fact that he won an election. C’mon, Mr. President! We get it, dude!

His defamation of President Obama sticks in the craw of millions of Americans. He perpetuated the lie that Obama was born abroad and was somehow unqualified to serve as president.

The idiotic insults he hurled at President George W. Bush and his family members cannot possibly have gone down well with the 43rd president.

Trump’s overblown insults at Bill Clinton — not to mention his wife — have been shameful in the extreme.

The only thing that has kept Trump, in my view, from tossing barbs at Bush 41 has been the former president’s health … although I would put nothing past Trump if he chose to offer a snarky comment about the 90-something former commander in chief.

The presidency occasionally offers these individuals opportunities to gather for ceremonial functions. I encourage you to picture any or all of them agreeing to speak publicly about the clown in chief who occupies this venerated office.

For ‘W’ to speak out, you know it’s bad

Two former presidents of the United States have spoken out about the state of contemporary politics.

Both men’s comments were thinly veiled broadsides fired at Donald John Trump, the guy who succeeded one of them. You would expect such criticism of a Republican president to come from Democratic former President Barack H. Obama, who today campaigned on behalf of fellow Democratic candidates.

It’s the criticism that came from a Republican ex-president, George W. Bush, that deserves a brief comment here.

President Bush has been mostly quiet since leaving the White House in January 2009. Today he broke his silence in dramatic fashion.

Speaking at a George W. Bush Institute event in New York, the former president said this, according to the Washington Post:

* “Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication.”

* “We’ve seen nationalism distorted into nativism.”

* “We’ve seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. . . . Argument turns too easily into animosity.”

* “It means that bigotry and white supremacy in any form is blasphemy against the American creed, and it means the very identity of our nation depends on passing along civic ideals.”

* “Bullying and prejudice in our public life … provides permission for cruelty and bigotry.”

* “The only way to pass along civic values is to live up to them.”

Read the Post article here.

Can there be any question about whom the former president is referring? Can you possibly mistake the references to anyone other than Donald J. Trump?

President Bush spoke out forcefully during his time in the White House against bigotry and hatred. For example, he sought to declare that our war against international radical Islamic terrorists is not a war against Islam.

That is not the message we’re getting from the current president and the 43rd president of the United States is correct to bring these issues to our attention.

Welcome back to the political stage, Mr. President.