Imagine my total non-surprise!
Departing White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly told aides many times that Donald Trump “isn’t up to the job” of president of the United States.
Wow! Who would’ve thought that? Shocking, I tell ya! Simply shocking!
The New York Times is reporting that Kelly, who’s leaving the Trump administration later this week, called the chief of staff post the “worst job in the world.” That’s really saying something, given that the retired Marine Corps four-star general saw more than his share of combat defending this country.
I wanted Kelly to succeed when he took over from Reince Priebus as White House chief of staff; he had served previously as homeland security secretary. Trump canned Priebus and called Kelly over from DHS to rein in a White House staff that had spiraled out of control.
Kelly enjoyed some initial success. He got rid of Steve Bannon, the former Brietbart News exec who served as a senior policy guru. He canned Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci as White House communications director.
But then . . .
Trump just couldn’t be corralled. Kelly couldn’t manage the president. He couldn’t persuade him to follow the normal rules of procedure.
There is far more than a hint of believability in what the New York Times is reporting. Perhaps that explains why Kelly, who reportedly pledged to stay until after the 2020 election, is departing early.
I only can add: The truth hurts, Mr. President.
I have grown so-o-o-o weary of hearing Donald Trump and his political brethren continue to harp on those who allegedly favor “open borders” and allowing anyone to enter the country anywhere at any time.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has joined that amen chorus by declaring that those who favor “open borders” are chiefly responsible for the deaths of two children who were taken into custody after entering the country illegally with their parents.
Spare me. Please!
The “open borders” argument has become the president’s latest straw man. He holds it up and then knocks the stuffing out of it by insisting that his foes don’t favor border security of any kind.
I can speak only for myself. I oppose The Wall. I do not favor “open borders.” I want border security as much as the president of the United States. I favor U.S. Border Patrol agents using whatever means they have available to them to arrest those coming in illegally.
I also want U.S. immigration policy to reflect a nation that wants to work with these folks if they are seeking asylum. If they are fleeing repression and hardship in their home country, then we should protect them. Deporting them to the place they are fleeing simply isn’t part of the American spirit.
Open borders? That is a red herring. It fuels a demagogue’s arsenal of fiery rhetoric.
It appears that John Kelly, the man Donald Trump brought aboard to fix the White House staff, is jumping ship.
He reportedly is about to resign as chief of staff after apparently promising to stay with the president until after the 2020 election.
Kelly, the retired Marine Corps general and former Homeland Security secretary, is the second chief of staff to be ousted since Trump took office. Reince Priebus couldn’t manage the staff, couldn’t control the message, couldn’t hit his rear end with both hands. Trump booted him out.
In came Kelly. He kicked some rear ends himself, showing former policy adviser Steven Bannon the door and seeking to control access to the president.
The president’s self-described “fine-tuned machine” ain’t running well. Imagine my (non)surprise.
CNN (quite naturally) is reporting that the two men don’t speak any longer. That is not good for a relationship that demands open communication between the boss and the person who runs his staff.
That fine-tuned machine still is needs a major overhaul.
I happen to agree with a former homeland security secretary who is pushing back against progressive politicians’ call to get rid of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
Jeh Johnson, who ran the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, said that ICE needs to be reformed. To end it completely, he said, would compromise national security, given that ICE is a law enforcement agency.
Not at all surprisingly, Donald J. Trump has said progressive politicians favor “anarchy” instead of law and order. Those who holler for an end to ICE only give the president ammo to fire at his political foes.
He is at his demagogic best when given such ammunition. Trust me on this, he has been reckless in the extreme in suggesting that anti-ICE forces actually want the country to be “overrun” by gang members, assorted criminals and anyone who wants to do us harm.
As Johnson wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “Abolish ICE” makes for a good rallying cry on the left. Demanding the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency also provides President Trump with a useful weapon for bludgeoning Democrats politically. He has said as much, and a good portion of the American public will listen to him.
Read the entire Post essay here.
If there is a way to make ICE a more compassionate law enforcement agency, then let’s look for that solution rather than an outright abolition.
U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made it clear: Only Congress can fix the situation regarding the policy that enabled Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to separate children from their parents at the border.
The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, said the same thing.
So did the White House press office.
What, then, happened today? The president signed an executive order doing the very thing he and his aides could be done only by congressional fiat.
Was the president lying? Did he tell the nation’s DHS secretary to lie? Did the secretary lie on her own, all by herself?
The nation’s so-called Dreamers might not have a friend in the White House — even though he professes to “love” them — they are getting some needed relief from the federal courts.
Dreamers are those who came to this country under the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals. They were brought here by their parents, yes, illegally, but they shouldn’t be punished — or deported — because of something Mom and Dad did.
A D.C. federal judge has just ruled that DACA recipients shouldn’t be deported by the federal government. Moreover, District Judge John Bates has ordered the government to accept new applications.
I’ll point out here that Judge Bates was appointed to the bench by Republican President George W. Bush. Donald J. Trump, also a Republican president, has vowed to eliminate the DACA program established by President Barack Obama. He keeps running into roadblocks set up by the federal judiciary. Judge Bates is just the latest.
In his ruling, Bates said, according to The Washington Post: ” … the Trump administration’s decision to phase out the program starting in March “was arbitrary and capricious because the Department (of Homeland Security) failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful.”
I will keep saying this until I run out of breath — or until my fingers fall off — but the DACA recipients know no other country than the United States. To deport them, sending them back to countries they do not know, is heartless and inhumane. DACA is intended to grant these individuals a temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation, which the Obama administration hoped would incentivize them to seek permanent legal immigrant status or U.S. citizenship.
Donald Trump doesn’t see it that way.
I disagree with the president’s assertion that DACA recipients should be deported. I also am heartened by the courts’ persistent stance in defense of U.S. residents who deserve a chance to continue living in the Land of Opportunity.
The sh**hole story is the gift that just keeps on giving.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sat before a Senate committee today and couldn’t recall hearing Donald J. Trump use the term “sh**hole” to describe African nations, as well as Haiti and El Salvador.
Intelligence Committee members grilled her on what she heard. They queried about what Sen. Dick Durbin said he heard, as he attended the White House meeting on immigration.
Then came a curious response to a question from Sen. Patrick Leahy.
The president had said during the White House meeting that the United States needed to encourage more immigration from Norway, which Nielsen acknowledged during her testimony today.
“Norway is predominantly white, yes?” Leahy asked. Nielsen actually said — and I am not making this up — that she didn’t know about Norway’s predominant ethnic composition.
I am left to wonder … huh, are you kidding me?
The Homeland Security boss doesn’t know that a significant Scandinavian country comprises citizens who are, um, quite white? Many of them are blonde; they have blue eyes; they’re, um, nothing like the folks who come here from those “sh**hole countries.”
This story won’t go away.
Especially when the Trump administration keeps trotting Cabinet officers out who cannot respond to direct questions with equally direct answers.
Donald J. Trump said this today in a statement released by the White House:
“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry.
“Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”
Where do I begin? I’ll start with this: Mr. President, the only “evidence” produced came from your mouth or, more accurately, your Twitter account.
The president said after the 2016 election that “millions of illegal immigrants” voted for Hillary Clinton, giving her the nearly 3 million popular vote margin she rolled up while losing the Electoral College tally. Trump never produced a scintilla of evidence. No one ever proved a thing about alleged widespread voter fraud.
So he convened this voter fraud panel to prove he was right. It didn’t find a thing. The president is right about one thing: States refused to cooperate because elections officials — including those in Texas — couldn’t determine any rational cause for releasing the information.
This looked for all the world like an effort to find a solution in search of a problem. The problem didn’t exist in the manner that the president alleged.
I’ll make a friendly wager. No money involved: The Department of Homeland Security won’t find anything, either.
Is the president of the United States unable to tell the truth — about anything?
This latest reported fib simply boggles my mind.
Donald J. Trump said he had received a phone call from Mexico’s President Enrique Pena Nieto congratulating him on the success of U.S. efforts to curb illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border.
Trump made the remark Monday as he was introducing former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as the new White House chief of staff.
The president said “even the president of Mexico called me” to offer a pat on the back.
Hold on! The Mexican foreign ministry said no such call went through. It said President Pena Nieto did not call the U.S. president. He did not offer an encouraging word in the context that Trump described. The men haven’t spoken for some time, the ministry said.
Who do you believe? The president of a friendly nation who, as near as I can tell, is not prone to fabricate events or conversations? Or do you believe Donald John Trump Sr., the guy who has shown an amazing penchant for prevarication for, oh, his entire professional and political life?
It might be that Trump wished for a phone call. Maybe he dreamt it came.
Whatever. On this one, I’m going to go with the guy on the other side of our border.
Reports are surfacing that Energy Secretary Rick Perry is being considered for a major Cabinet shift within the Trump administration.
The Texas Tribune reports that Perry might move to the Homeland Security Department to become the new secretary there, replacing John Kelly, who’s taken the thankless job of White House chief of staff.
That the former Texas governor is under consideration for the Homeland Security job makes plenty of sense to me. I believe he could be a good fit in that post.
He served for 14 years as governor of Texas, which has the longest border with Mexico of all the states along our southern border. He understands the issue of border security as well as any leading politician.
As the Texas Tribune reports, though, a shift of this importance signals a dramatic — some would say unbelievable — evolution in the relationship between Gov. Perry and Donald J. Trump. Perry once campaigned for the presidency against Trump. Perry then called his fellow Republican a “cancer on conservatism.” Trump ridiculed Perry after the former governor started wearing eyeglasses, suggesting Perry did so only to make himself look smarter.
All that changed, though, after Trump’s election. The two men buried the hatchet — and not in each other’s backs. The Energy Department job was Perry’s reward from the man who beat him for the GOP presidential nomination.
Is the former governor the perfect pick for Homeland Security? No, but in one way — to my way of thinking — he actually could be better than the man he would succeed. Perry’s record as Texas governor suggests a more reasonable immigration outlook than the one John Kelly espoused while he ran DHS. Perry’s understanding of border issues, earned by his years as governor of a large and important state, tells me he well could be a stellar choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
Cue the music and let’s see whether this latest report puts Rick Perry into the DHS chair.