Tag Archives: Mar-a-Lago

This is ‘winning,’ Mr. President?

Happy New Year, White House staff. They’re seemingly filled with anxiety about their future and the future, possibly, of the Man in Charge — the president of the United States.

Donald Trump has returned to the White House from his “working vacation” at Mar-a-Lago in Florida. He is sunny, upbeat and ready for the challenges that 2018 will bring him.

I hope he’s really ready for what could be a rough year, as if 2017 wasn’t rough enough.

Sure, he got that tax cut through Congress and signed it into law before Christmas. But … that was it, legislatively. Of course, the president had a different take on it, calling his first year the most successful in the history of Planet Earth.

A new year is now upon us all. The White House reportedly is getting ready for more senior staff shakeups. I guess they’re getting used to it by now. Trump has let one White House chief of staff go; he canned the White House communications director, who replaced the guy who resigned; he fired his first national security adviser; the first White House press secretary quit in a huff.

Deputy Cabinet officials have yet to be named in many departments. The secretary of state might be on the bubble; but then again, maybe not.

And, yes, we have the special counsel’s investigation into that “Russia thing.”

Against all that backdrop, there is a concern among White House staffers about a potential Democratic onslaught in the upcoming midterm election. “They absolutely should worry about 2018,” said Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary to President George W. Bush. “I do fear a wave election. Democrats are highly motivated to vote against Trump and all Republicans. Trump has got to grow beyond the base, and he has got to make himself less hated among a group in the middle.”

Anxiety abounds

Yet the president keeps talking about “winning” and saying all is good, all is bright, all is just plain peachy within the White House.

I, um, don’t think that’s the case.

White House protests too much

I have a simple bit advice for the White House press office, which seeks to explain the nature of the president’s time away from Washington.

Settle down, will ya?

The Trump family has jetted off to Florida to spend the Thanksgiving weekend at their resort. Fine. Enjoy yourself, Mr. President.

Back at the office, the White House keeps insisting that the president is taking a “working vacation.” Press aides keep telling the media that the president is hard at work while he plays golf, frolics with his grandkids and does whatever he does when he’s not in the Oval Office.

C’mon, gang! I’ve long defended presidential vacations by noting that presidents never are “off the clock.” I know that the current POTUS has squawked about the vacations his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, would take. I called him out when he would insist he would “never” take a vacation were he elected president. I defended President Obama for taking time away from the stressful atmosphere in the Oval Office.

I’ll do so again with Donald Trump. Which brings me back to my point: The president of the United States is supposed to be available to answer the call, whether he’s at his Oval Office desk or on the 18th green.

Message to White House press office? Stop insisting on calling it a “working vacation.”

White House ‘A real dump’? Why, I never …

This story might not amount to much over the long haul, but for the moment it has legs and it is beginning to scamper onto TV news reports.

Donald John Trump reportedly told members of his posh New Jersey golf club that one reason he spends so much time away from his Washington, D.C., residence is because the White House is “a real dump.”

By the way, the picture attached to this post is of my wife and yours truly this past June standing in front of the “dump” that reportedly drew the president’s derision. Honestly, it looked quite lovely to us.

The president has spent a lot of time while in office at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. I’ve never seen it, but I hear it’s quite posh. It’s full of glitz and glam. It’s got lots of fancy chandeliers and solid-gold fixtures. It’s quite decadent, or so I’m led to believe.

Same for the president’s Trump Tower apartment in Manhattan and for his New Jersey golf club, where he told club members about his digs at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

The White House doesn’t measure up to Trump’s standards — allegedly!

I guess perhaps the president doesn’t grasp that it’s not his house. It’s our house. Yours and mine, dear reader. Yeah, the president is an American citizens, so he has a bit of buy-in, too. He doesn’t grasp the history associated with this structure or the fact that it stands as the symbol of the exalted office that Trump now occupies.

The president is merely a tenant there, along with first lady Melania Trump and their son, Barron.

The Trumpkins across the land will ignore this impertinent utterance. Imagine, though, for just a moment this hypothetical scenario: What might the reaction be if, say, Barack H. Obama had said such a thing about the People’s House?

Well, the current president gets a pass because he “tells it like it is.”

Actually, he has just offended millions of “homeowners” who take pride in the White House and who appreciate and understand what it means to citizens of the greatest nation on Earth.

Stay ‘home,’ Mr. President

Donald J. Trump surely understands the importance of symbolism.

He plasters his name on tall buildings all around the world to symbolize his immense wealth. The rest of us get it, Mr. President. You’re worth a bundle, man.

So, why doesn’t he act a bit more symbolically with regard to the office he occupies and remain in the White House, where he was elected to serve?

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, one of the president’s pals in Congress asked just the other day about his continual forays to that posh resort of his in Florida. Mar-A-Lago has become a sort of surrogate White House. Ernst doesn’t think Trump serves his office well by spending so much time there, enjoying the glittery fruits of his tremendous business success.

I happen to agree, although I want to stipulate something I’ve noted already on this blog. It’s that the president is the president wherever he is. He doesn’t leave any of the power of the office behind when he ventures away from the Oval Office.

However, this particular individual — the 45th president — campaigned as a populist; a friend of the little guy, the working man and woman, the Mom and Pop business owner. His constant jet trips to the glitz and glam of Mar-A-Lago suggest to me that he is more comfortable living the high life than he is in connecting with the rest of the country.

The president has some pretty nice digs at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Granted, they aren’t as gaudy as his south Florida palace. We pay for it. We maintain it for the president and (hopefully soon) his family. The grounds are immaculate. You can’t beat the home security system, either.

All that said, the president ought to heed the pleading of one of his congressional friends. He can choose to ignore those coming from the rest of us who dislike him.

Sen. Ernst is right. Donald Trump ought to park that that big blue-and-white Boeing 747 for a time and stick around the White House.

It’s the symbolism, Mr. President. Yes, it matters.

Will the ‘system’ swallow POTUS whole?

This fantasy keeps ricocheting around my noggin. Here’s how it goes.

Donald J. Trump sold himself as a no-nonsense, kick-butt business mogul who brooked no foolishness from anyone. Then he got elected president and learned that “I alone” cannot repair what he said is wrong with the country.

He set out to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act and then ran smack into the buzzsaw otherwise known as the House Freedom Caucus, whose members hate the cooked-up alternative to the ACA. Democrats hate it, too, as much as they hate the president.

If the ACA repeal fails today, does that signal the start of a string of failures for a man who told us over and over that he never seemed to fail at anything?

What, then, happens when he cannot enact tax reform, or get the wall built on our southern border, or institute an infrastructure rebuilding program?

What happens if he can’t “destroy ISIS” all by himself? What happens if he keeps getting stern resistance from those on the far right — who don’t trust him anyway — as well as those on the left who are still steamed that he got elected president in the first place?

My fantasy is that Trump might decide the fight ain’t worth it. He’ll call Vice President Pence into the Oval Office and tell the veep, “Mike, take it away. It’s all  yours, my man. I’m going to take Melania and Barron back to New York and we can vacation to our hearts’ content at Mar-a-Lago and no one will give a crap about how much it costs. Besides, this house in D.C. isn’t nearly as nice as my digs in Florida. I’m outta here.”

Yes, that’s why I call it a fantasy. However, one never knows.

Government teaches POTUS a stern, necessary lesson

It’s been a lot of fun watching the president of the United States getting the education of his life about how the U.S. government actually works.

It’s not how he wants it to work. Donald J. Trump cannot snap his fingers and make things happen just because, well, he can. Oh no. The system is designed precisely to prevent such things from happening.

Trump got elected while promising to “drain the swamp” and get things done. “I alone” can repair what ails the country, Trump declared at his nominating convention this past summer.

No, sir. You alone can’t do a damn thing!

Which is fine by me. Think of it.

* He seeks to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with something called the American Health Care Act; then he and congressional Republican leaders run smack into the TEA Party caucus within the GOP, which hates the AHCA. Oh, and those damn Democrats hate it, too!

* Trump declared his desire to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Then after being elected he cobbles together a measure to ban refugees from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States. Who steps in? The courts. No can do, Mr. President. A federal judge in Washington state strikes down the first ban; then the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the judge.

* He tries again. Trump reintroduces what he calls a “watered-down version” of the first ban. The courts strike again. Uh, Mr. President, this order violates the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the one that says government cannot favor one religion over any other; it’s in the First Amendment, Mr. President. You ought to read it.

* His budget? The president seeks to boost defense spending by $54 billion while cutting myriad programs that help poor Americans. Meals on Wheels … for example? Gone. Congress has declared the president’s proposed budget to be essentially DOA, which is the way it’s done in Washington, Mr. President.

As it’s been said often, sir: The president proposes, while Congress disposes.

He’s getting grief from Americans who are angry because his wife and young son aren’t living in the White House, costing the government many millions of extra dollars to keep them safe while they live in Trump Tower — in New York City!

More grief is coming from those who wonder why the president keeps jetting off seemingly every weekend to his glitzy, decadent resort in Palm Beach, Fla. That’s costing a lot of dough, too.

It’s all not very, um, populist of you, Mr. President.

This business mogul is used to getting things done his way. He is learning that the presidency doesn’t allow that kind of thing.

You see, one cannot govern the United States of America the way you’d run a business. I don’t give a damn what anyone says to the contrary. You see, the founders had it right when they crafted a government full of all kinds of restraints, checks and balances, and assorted roadblocks to prevent an omnipotent presidency.

Welcome to the world of governance, Mr. President.