Tag Archives: Mike Pence

Arpaio is no ‘champion of rule of law’

I am inclined to think a bit more highly of Vice President Mike Pence than I do of Donald J. Trump … then again, the president has set a pretty damn low bar.

But when the vice president praises the exploits of a convicted felon … well, that’s where I part company with the vice president.

Pence said today of former Maricopa County (Ariz.) Sheriff Joe Arpaio, that he is a “tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law.” He said he was “honored” to have Arpaio attending the political event Pence was attending.

Let’s review briefly.

Arpaio earned his far-right conservative chops by being tough on illegal immigrants. He became so tough that he stood trial on grounds that he was profiling Hispanics in the hunt for those entering the country illegally.

A federal court convicted him of disobeying a federal court order prohibiting him from profiling those folks. He ignored the court order and was going to be sentenced for his crime. Then Donald J. Trump issued a full presidential pardon for Arpaio, which means he is eligible to run for the U.S. Senate seat in Arizona that will open up with the retirement of Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

Arpaio has received a presidential pardon, but he is still a convicted felon. Thus, he is no “champion of the rule of law.” He is a law-breaking scoundrel.

Therefore, the vice president is chumming it up with an (un)common criminal.

Disgusting.

Behar apologizes to faith community … good for her!

You think you “know” someone based on what they say on the air … and then they surprise you.

Loudmouth comedian/TV talk show co-host Joy Behar had popped off on “The View” not long ago about how Vice President Mike Pence hears wisdom from Jesus Christ. She said Pence must suffer from some sort of “mental illness” if he hears voices from the Lord himself.

Behar’s comment at the time offended people of faith across the land. I was one of those offended and said so in an earlier blog post.

‘Comedian’ crosses a sacred line

Then we hear from Pence, who told Fox News’s Sean Hannity that Behar had called him immediately after her ill-advised snarkiness and apologized to him for her remarks. Pence told Hannity that as a devout Christian, he extended God’s grace to Behar and accepted her apology, but then said he told her she ought to apologize to millions of other Americans of faith for her comment.

What do you suppose Behar did this morning? She apologized. On the air.  On a segment of “The View.” What’s more, she didn’t offer one of those phony “If I offended anyone” non-apologies. She didn’t try to explain anything. She didn’t say “That’s not who I am.” She apologized. Period.

We live in a strange time, folks.

I am not yet certain that Joy Behar quite understands how faithful individuals receive guidance from Scripture. She likely doesn’t quite get how that guidance doesn’t come in the form of audible voices. The very issue of faith is deeper than that.

The vice president is a man of deep faith and as a devoted Christian he is able and willing to extend grace as it is taught in the Bible.

That’s what he did. Joy Behar did her part, too, in telling the rest of us — through her apology — that she made a mistake.

Good for her.

DeVos offers proof of why she is unfit for her job

It’s no wonder at all that Betsy DeVos needed a historic vice-presidential vote in the U.S. Senate to get her confirmed as the secretary of education.

You want evidence of it? Check out the “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday night.

DeVos’s confirmation in 2017 ended with a 50-50 tie in the Senate; Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm her nomination by Donald John Trump.

Oh, brother, she stumbled and bumbled her way through the interview with CBS News correspondent Leslie Stahl.

She actually acknowledged that she hasn’t visited “underperforming schools” to see for herself why they are in such bad shape. “Maybe I should,” DeVos told Stahl.

Uhh, yeah, do ya think?

I should note that DeVos is a champion for school choice. She also has no personal exposure to public education. She was educated in private schools; her children attend private schools; she can afford — as a billionaire — to send her children and grandchildren to any school they want.

This is the person the president chose to administer our public education system? Give me a break.

As the Washington Post reported: The secretary also said she is “not so sure exactly” how she became, as Stahl described her, “the most hated” member of President Trump’s Cabinet but believes that she is “misunderstood.”

I am not among those who hates DeVos. I am deeply concerned that this individual who has zero knowledge or experience relating to public education has been put in charge of the agency that is supposed to advocate on behalf of public schools, students and teachers.

DeVos has called “traditional public education” a “dead end.” How does that engender confidence in the secretary of public education? It doesn’t. Not in the least.

I encourage you to take a look at the exchange between Stahl and DeVos contained in the link that follows. Check it out here.

Yep, this is one of the “best people” Donald Trump pledged to populate his presidential administration.

Sheesh!

‘Comedian’ crosses a sacred line

Joy Behar calls herself a “comedian.” She also purports to be a political pundit, using her post as co-host of the TV talk show “The View” to express her views on politics and public policy.

I’ve never considered her to be either funny or insightful.

She has, however, now established herself as a boor.

This week, Behar decided to do something I find wholly repugnant. She ridiculed another person’s religious faith. The other party happens to be Vice President Mike Pence, a self-described devout Christian.

Pence supposedly said he receives guidance daily from Jesus Christ. Behar decided to ridicule Pence, saying that anyone who hears Jesus’s voice is “mentally ill.”

Oh, my.

I’ve long held true to some tenets in my own political commentary. I do not like to poke fun at people’s appearance, their name or their religious faith. Those three areas are off limits. Period.

Behar crossed that line with her hideous ridiculing of the vice president. She does not seem to understand how people of faith are able to receive guidance from holy Scripture. For her to suggest that Vice President Pence, or anyone who follows the teachings of Jesus Christ, are “mentally ill” because they receive daily guidance from the Holy Bible.

If Behar wants to criticize Pence’s policy statements or his extensive record as an elected public official, that’s fine. She is entitled to do that. She’s also entitled to utter distasteful comments about the vice president’s faith. The same Constitution that grants Behar that right also enables folks such as yours truly to call such commentary what we believe it is.

As a conservative political commentator noted in a pithy comment about Behar, had she declared that “gay people” are “mentally ill,” ABC-TV would have “fired her on the spot” and hauled her off the set on live television.

Disgraceful.

Trump keeps stepping in it

Donald Trump now says he fired Michael Flynn because the former national security adviser lied to the FBI and to Vice President Mike Pence about what he said to Russian government officials.

He fired off — that’s right — another series of tweets about this matter. Previously, he had said he canned Flynn because of lies he allegedly told Pence; the FBI was not part of the narrative Trump was pushing when Flynn was let go.

Now it is. Go figure, eh?

I keep wondering when the president is going to inflict a mortal political wound with these careless Twitter tirades.

According to The Hill: “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies,” Trump tweeted while traveling in New York City for fundraising events.

Trump also stressed “there was nothing to hide!”

“It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!” he added.

Here is the story from The Hill

Here’s my question: When in the world has a president of the United States ever gotten so entangled and entwined in an ongoing criminal investigation?

What in the name of “acting presidential” is Trump going to listen to anyone who might be advising him to keep his trap shut when it regards this matter?

Then again, the more he yaps and yammers about it, the deeper he keeps digging the proverbial hole.

Still struggling with how to refer to the president

The struggle is continuing.

A critic or two of High Plains Blogger has wondered aloud why I keep resisting the urge to refer to Donald Trump as president. You know, put the words “President” and “Trump” together consecutively.

It’s personal, man. Really, that’s all it is.

If you’ve read this blog with any degree of care, you will have noticed that I have no difficulty writing the words “Vice President Pence,” or “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,” or “Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis.” Do you get my drift? Of course you do.

The president is another matter altogether.

All of those individuals I’ve just cited, plus the rest of the entire Trump team — except, perhaps, for his son-in-law and daughter — comport themselves with at the very minimum a semblance of dignity as they go about their jobs representing the United States of America. Ivanka and Jared are in their high-powered jobs only because the president loves his daughter and (I presume) son-in-law.

The president hasn’t made the grade. At least not yet.

Whether he ever gets there remains to be seen. This constant baloney about how smart he is, his recent repeated references to the “standing ovation” he got while meeting with his team, his continual insults and his ridiculous tweets regarding matters that shouldn’t even concern him all cheapen the office he occupies.

And then there are those petulant disputes with Gold Star families. And the clumsiness with which he handles virtually every matter that comes across his desk.

The words “President” and “Trump” don’t yet resonate with me. A part of me — admittedly a still-small part — wants it to change. Until it does, this blog will not go where it should.

Yes, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. I know it and get it fully.

However, he’s got to start acting and sounding like one.

That’s what it was, Mr. VPOTUS: a political stunt

Vice President Mike Pence certainly knew what would take place when he went to a pro football game today.

He knew some of the players would “take a knee” while they struck up “Star Spangled Banner.” He knew some of the San Francisco 49ers would protest, along with some of the Indianapolis Colts.

He knew that would happen. But he showed up anyway at the game in Indianapolis — only to walk out because, as he said, he wouldn’t “dignify” a disrespecting of the flag, our country, our men and women in uniform, our Constitution.

Good grief! What we saw today was an act of political grandstanding.

An Indianapolis Star sports columnist also was right to question why Pence showed up in the first place and why he decided to expend a good bit of taxpayer money — with the requisite security and other things associated with the vice president’s traveling contingent.

Using high office to score political points

It’s not as though presidents and vice presidents don’t occasionally use their high office for political gain. I get that it’s happened before.

But this stunt that Pence pulled today was so transparently phony it boggles the mind. He wanted to make a statement that the players who are protesting are somehow “disrespecting” the nation that allows them to do the very thing they are doing.

Lest we forget, the protest — which began this pas season when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during the National Anthem — is intended to protest police treatment of African-American citizens. I’ll stipulate that I am not pleased with the form of protest mounted. I wish the players would find another way to make their point.

However, their demonstration is not meant to dishonor the flag, or the country, or our brave fighting men and women. To suggest it does all of that is to cheapen a legitimate form of political protest.

For the vice president of the United States to make a big show of it in the first place only heightens the phoniness of his own declaration of disgust.

Why such anger, Mr. Vice President?

Why, oh why is Vice President Mike Pence so darn angry at The New York Times?

The allegedly “failing” newspaper has published a story revealing that Pence’s political team is working behind the scenes to mount a presidential campaign in 2020. Pence is simply outraged, I tell you. Outraged that the Times would report such a thing.

Pence is like all the other men who have preceded him in the second-highest office in the land. They all want to be the Top Dog, the Big Man, Numero Uno. Is Pence so different? I doubt it. Seriously.

To be sure, the NY Times said Pence is planning a primary campaign against Donald J. Trump Sr. His plans presume that the president won’t seek re-election, or that he will be otherwise, um, unavailable to run for a second term.

What might prevent Trump from running in 2020? Let’s see:

* He could be impeached and tossed out of office over allegations that he obstructed justice in the Russia investigation or that his campaign colluded with the Russians. There might be some financial issues that arise from special counsel Robert Mueller’s expanding investigation. Will it happen? I ain’t projecting such a thing. Or … the president might resign.

* The incessant armchair psychoanalysis might determine that the president suffers from some sort of serious personality disorder that compels him to tweet so often and with so much damaging effectiveness. I won’t join that debate, either.

* Trump might figure he cannot stand the incessant failure to get anything done. He’s not used to working with those who resist him at every turn. Trump’s business background has placed him at the top of the ladder. He’s got to share that standing now with Congress and the courts.

* Or, maybe the president can just declare victory — say “mission accomplished” — and pack it all up and head back to Mar-a-Lago, Bedminster or some other posh digs that will remove him and his family from that “real dump” where they live part time in Washington, D.C.

Is it so wrong to believe the vice president is getting ready for any eventuality? Is it wrong to presume that the No. 2 guy wants to ascend to the No. 1 spot?

The media have done a great job of keeping the public informed about the goings-on related to the Trump administration. The New York Times has just racked up another scoop.

Pipe down, Mr. Vice President.

Texas playing ball with vote fraud panel … sort of

I was hoping the Texas secretary of state would follow the lead of his fellow Republican colleague in Mississippi and tell the feds to go “jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

He didn’t. Instead, the state is going to hand over some voter records to that idiotic voter fraud commission named by Donald J. Trump to root out the hordes of illegal votes — he says — that were cast in the 2016 presidential election.

Good luck with that.

The panel led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is called the Election Integrity Commission. The president has asserted — with zero evidence at hand — that “millions of illegal immigrants” voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016, giving her the popular vote margin over Trump.

So he cobbled together this group to find a problem in search of a solution.

The Texas secretary of state is the state’s top elections officer. According to the Texas Tribune: “Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said he plans to respond to the request, but it’s not entirely clear how much data he’ll be handing over. Pablos said his agency would treat Kobach’s letter like any other public information request, and would only hand over information that’s considered public under Texas law.

“’The Secretary of State’s office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state’s elections system,’ Pablos said in a statement. ‘As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law.’”

Social Security numbers are private and as I understand it, that’s about the extentof the information Pablos’s office will withhold from this commission.

Check out the Texas Tribune explanation here.

The voter fraud panel’s request has been met with considerable resistance around the country. Officials in states that voted for Trump have said “no” to requests, as have those in states that voted for Clinton.

Honestly, this semi-acquiescence from Rolando Pablos makes me a bit nervous … and I’m a U.S. citizen.

I also wonder about something. Why is the president so damn intent on looking for widespread voter fraud that few local officials believe exist while he continues to ignore the assertion by U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia meddled in our electoral process?

Voter fraud probe runs into trouble … good deal!

States across the nation aren’t playing ball with a task force created to find a problem that likely doesn’t exist.

To which I say, “Good for them.”

Donald J. Trump alleged — without foundation — that voter fraud was rampant across the land during the 2016 presidential election. You’ll recall that he said “millions of illegal immigrants” voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton, thus giving her a substantial popular vote margin over the president. This has been one of the countless lies that the president has told since he launched his political career in the summer of 2015.

So, he sought the formation of a task force to get to the root of the problem. States, though, aren’t giving in to this — if you’ll allow me to use this term — witch hunt in search of problem.

The White House commission led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach have asked all the states and the District of Columbia to turn over records of voters, including birth dates, the last four Social Security digits and party affiliation. Roughly half the states have said “no.” Even Texas, as friendly toward Trump as any state, has agreed only to turn over certain publicly held information; Social Security information and dates of birth won’t be turned over.

A good number of states refusing to comply, incidentally, happen to states that Trump won. So this isn’t a strictly partisan boycott of this ridiculous notion. As The Hill reported: “In the event I were to receive correspondence from the Commission … My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from,” Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said in a Friday statement.

The voter fraud commission is trying to reel in a red herring. Indeed, Kris Kobach is known to be something of a conspiracy theorist who believes voter fraud has reached epidemic proportions in his state and across the land.

Independent studies have revealed only minuscule numbers of people voting illegally, certainly not in numbers sufficient to decide electoral outcomes nationally.

I’m sensing a showdown is on the horizon. I’m going to pull for the states to stand their ground. As Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes, a Democrat, has noted, the commission was formulated on a “sham premise.”