Tag Archives: Michelle Obama

Former first lady takes ‘birther’ lie quite personally

To be honest, I never gave a thought to the view expressed by former first lady Michelle Obama regarding the hideous lie fomented by her husband’s successor as president of the United States.

Donald J. Trump for years kept repeating the lie that Barack Obama was born outside the United States and, thus, was not qualified to seek the presidency let alone serve as president. I viewed the lie from the outside, considering it to be a racist rant intended to demonize the first African-American ever elected to the presidency.

Trump eventually tossed out a throwaway line at the end of another set of remarks that the president “was born in the United States.” Then he returned later to the casting of doubt over the truth of Obama’s place of birth.

Now the former first lady has written in her memoir “Becoming” that she cannot “forgive” Trump because, in her view, he put her family in potential danger from “wingnuts and kooks” who might pick up a loaded gun and head to Washington to harm the Obamas’ two daughters.

Michelle Obama’s criticism of Donald Trump will resonate with millions of Americans. It, of course, will sound hollow to millions of others, those who subscribe to Trump’s idiotic lie.

As for Donald Trump himself, I have no doubt at all — none whatsoever — that Michelle Obama’s criticism has zoomed straight through is vacuous skull.

He doesn’t give a damn!

What in the world is happening to us?

The authorities say they have recovered seven “devices,” some of them identified as “live” bombs, from assorted targets in Washington and New York.

I admit to getting a bit ahead of myself in an earlier blog post, as it was reported initially that one of the devices was meant to be delivered to the White House. The Secret Service says no such explosive was recovered.

That said, the White House has issued a strong statement condemning the act of what it called “cowards” who have sent the devices.

That leaves us to look at those who had been targeted: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Obama, former CIA director John Brennan, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, CNN’s Nw York offices, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, left-wing mega political donor George Soros.

What do these folks and institutions have in common? They all have (a) criticized the president or (b) been targets of the president’s criticism.

Hmm. Coincidence? I fear not.

The country wants a quick resolution in the form of an arrest of the suspect or suspects responsible for this frightening act of terror.

This must be said as well: If the targets’ political similarity have anything to do with the sending of these explosive devices, then we have entered a whole new age of recrimination and hatred.

It has to stop. As Gov. Cuomo stated earlier today, any attempt to restore civility in our public discourse “must come from the top.”

Donald Trump: hardly a master of protocol

Social media are going nuts … yet again.

This time it’s the president of the United States apparently committing a no-no by walking in front of Her Majesty the Queen of England while reviewing troops at Windsor Castle.

Donald Trump momentarily violated an ancient protocol by walking ahead of Queen Elizabeth II, prompting social media in Britain to go a good bit ballistic.

I am of two minds on this one.

First, the president is not a subject of the queen. That score was settled in 1781 when Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Va., ending the American Revolution. Moreover, the president is a head of state, just as her majesty is a head of state. They are peers.

However, and this is critical, the president is treading on QE 2’s turf. He is the guest in her country. Thus, it would seem quite appropriate for the visiting dignitary to honor the traditions followed by the host country. One of them is that no one on Earth walks ahead of the ruling monarch, particularly while she is reviewing the troops in a formal ceremony.

I remember the time former first lady Michelle Obama put her hand on the queen’s back while greeting her. Social media went nuts then, too. How dare this commoner dare to touch her majesty? Well, that one blew over quickly.

I guess this one will, too.

Here’s how CNN reported it.

Still, Mr. President, you need to listen carefully to what your protocol staff tells you about certain matters. Let the queen show you the way, sir.

And whatever you do, Mr. President, don’t ever ask the queen about the contents of her purse.

‘When they go low, we go high’

Michelle Obama’s wisdom has been lost on many of her fellow Democrats.

The former first lady offered the perfect antidote to the negativity, the insults and innuendo that became Donald Trump’s mantra while campaigning for the presidency in 2016.

“When they go low, we go high,” she said.

It isn’t happening. Trump continues to go low. Democrats, such as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters of California, are going low right with him. So, too, is the film icon Robert DeNiro, who yelled “f*** Trump!” at the Tony Awards.

Waters says it’s OK to harass and hassle Trump administration officials when they’re off the clock. Actually, it isn’t OK.

Michelle Obama’s formula is the correct one. Go high when the other side goes low.

Evangelicals continue their stunning hypocrisy

The Rev. Franklin Graham speaks for a lot of evangelical Christians. Thus, I’ll presume for a moment that those who follow him buy into the nonsense he espouses about Donald J. Trump Sr.

Oh, the hypocrisy of this preacher. It’s stunning to the max.

Graham recently told The Associated Press that Trump’s extramarital affairs are no one’s business. He said voters knew what they were getting when they elected him president in 2016. Back off, Graham implores us, because Trump’s marital infidelity is old news and has nothing to do with the here and now.

Why, he messed around with Stormy Daniels a dozen years before he became president, said Graham. He hasn’t messed around since then. OK, then. That makes it all right. It’s all good, right Rev. Graham?

How does that square with what Graham said about Barack H. Obama, Trump’s immediate predecessor as president?

Let’s see. He questioned President Obama’s faith because he was born to a Muslim father, a man the president barely knew. The president is a practicing Christian and has over the years declared his love of and devotion to Jesus Christ multiple times.

Oh, and then there’s this: Barack and Michelle Obama have been involved in a loving and faithful marriage for more than two decades, which is decidedly more in keeping with Biblical principles than the life that Donald Trump has led throughout much of his adult life.

So, the Rev. Graham gives Donald Trump a pass on his hideous moral indiscretions, but doesn’t extend the same Christian grace to, say, former President Bill Clinton. Graham wrote this in 1998 of President Clinton: If he will lie to or mislead his wife and daughter, those with whom he is most intimate, what will prevent him from doing the same thing to the American public?

So help me, this so-called “man of God” possesses an amazing reservoir of hypocrisy.

Funerals put politics in perspective

Funerals that honor public figures — notably those involved in some level in politics — have this way of putting politics in their proper perspective.

I just watched a touching tribute to the late first lady Barbara Bush. It made me swallow hard on several occasions, particularly as I heard commentators tell us how bitter political foes could become the best of friends.

Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford; George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton; George W. Bush and Clinton.

Indeed, today at the Houston church where the world said goodbye to George H.W. Bush’s beloved “Bar,” one could see first lady Melania Trump sitting next to Barack Obama, who sat with his wife Michelle next to Bill and Hillary Clinton; George W. Bush sat in the family section across the aisle next to his wife, dad, brothers, sister and their huge assemblage of Bushes.

It strikes me today as we digest the vitriol that emanates these days from the halls of power in Washington that it need not be that way. Much of the commentary today about Barbara Bush spoke of her friendships with Democrats as well as with Republicans. Her husband, after all, is the quintessential Republican, as are her two sons — one a former president, the other a former governor.

But we were told today about Mrs. Bush’s kind heart, her compassion, empathy, her generous spirit, good humor, grit, her tough-love approach to caring for her children and, yes, her friends.

Mrs. Bush’s husband promised to create a “kinder, gentler nation” when he was elected president in 1988. The jury still might be out on whether the 41st president of the United States achieved that noble goal. He practiced kindness and gentleness in his personal life, as did his beloved first lady.

The nation said farewell today to someone who embodied a more genteel time in what has become at times a blood sport. The craft and art of politics aren’t what they used to be. That besmirches politics’ current practitioners, not to mention their once-noble pursuit.

Whenever we say goodbye to beloved public figures, some of us — yours truly included — wish that it might signal a return to a time when political foes could actually become friends.

Is this such a moment? Oh, probably not. My hope, though, does spring eternal.

Stay away, Mr. President

Donald J. Trump will get criticized if he doesn’t attend former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral.

He’ll get criticized if he shows up in Houston this weekend.

For what it’s worth — and it’s not much, I’ll concede — I want to counsel the president to stay away.

Look at it this way: Mrs. Bush made no bones about her dislike and disgust at Trump. She didn’t like the way he treated women. She damn sure didn’t like the way he treated her two sons — Jeb, who ran against Trump in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, and George W., who drew Trump’s ire over the Iraq War.

Trump has said the correct things about Mrs. Bush. I watched him read his statement and was struck yet again by the feeling in my gut that he didn’t really feel it.

First lady Melania Trump is going to attend, which is customary for first ladies; they usually attend funerals for their predecessors. Michelle Obama attended the funeral for Nancy Reagan, for example.

Donald Trump is facing a couple of difficult choices here. He need not accompany his wife to the funeral of a woman who couldn’t stand him.

He’s already spoken of Barbara Bush’s toughness. There you have it.

Stay away, Mr. President. Let the first lady represent the government.

***

Here is what I wrote about whether Barack Obama should have attended Mrs. Reagan’s funeral.

Should POTUS attend ex-FLOTUS’s funeral?

Thumbs down on these portraits

I want to stipulate right off the top that I am the least-qualified American to offer a critique on pieces of art. I can barely draw stick figures, if you know what I mean.

There. That said, I want to offer a brief comment on the new official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

I do not like them. Not at all.

I am a bit of a stodgy stick in the mud when it comes to these pieces of work. The portraits of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush are much more to my liking. The paintings actually look like the subjects the artist was hired to depict.

The Obamas, I regret saying, barely resemble the images unveiled at the Smithsonian Institution earlier this week. Mrs. Obama’s image is particularly un-Michelle-like in its representation.

The 44th president and his wife present a striking image. They both are physically attractive. Thus, it boggles my mind that the Obamas would want to be portrayed in the manner that’s been revealed.

But … that’s their call.

Do not take any of this critique to the bank. I just had to vent.

I’m out.

Ready for the White House portrait unveiling?

At some point near the end of Donald J. Trump’s current term as president, his protocol staff will likely schedule an appearance by his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, and the former president’s wife, Michelle.

It’s been a custom for many years. The former first couple returns to the White House to unveil their official portraits. The president’s portrait hangs next to other presidents; the first lady’s portrait hangs in a gallery that includes her predecessors.

I remember watching when President Obama and Mrs. Obama welcomed George W. and Laura Bush back to the White House in 2012. It was a heart-warming ceremony, with all four — the current and former first couples — exchanging quips and remembrances of their time in the White House.

Is it possible for the Obamas to return to the White House at the invitation of Donald and Melania Trump? Can the former president set aside the astonishing rhetoric that the current president hurled at him? We have the on-going lie that Trump kept alive about Obama’s place of birth; then we have the defamatory accusation from Trump that Obama “ordered the wiretap” of the president-elect’s campaign office.

Oh, and how about the comments that Michelle Obama delivered in the wake of that ghastly “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump admitted to groping women and grabbing them by their private area?

I can just imagine how, um, tense the next portrait-unveiling is going to be when — or if — it occurs.

Melania goes scarf-less? Heaven forbid!

Melania Trump has arrived with her husband, the president of the United States, in Saudi Arabia.

She and her husband, Donald Trump, strode down the stairway from Air Force One and greeted the Saudi king.

Oh, but wait! Her head was uncovered. She wasn’t wearing a scarf, per Muslim custom. Where’s the outrage? The recrimination? The howls of disrespect?

There wasn’t any. Nor should there be.

Hey, let’s hold on!¬†Michelle Obama did the same thing when she and her husband, also the president of the United States, went to the Middle East a couple of years ago. Her head was uncovered, too. Oh, but the conservative media went semi-nuts.

So did at least one notable Republican politician. His name? Donald John Trump! That, truth be told, is what makes this an issue worthy of a brief blog post.

Being of a more tolerant strain¬†as it regards religion, I am not bothered in the least that non-Muslim female dignitaries don’t cover their heads when they travel to Muslim-majority nations. They aren’t “dishonoring” their hosts.

Let’s stay focused on the aim of these visits, which has nothing to do with making fashion statements.