Tag Archives: Oval Office

Evangelical support of POTUS remains a mystery

I am shaking my head. Hard. I cannot believe how this particular president has managed to do the seemingly impossible: retain the support of the nation’s Christian evangelical movement.

I’ll start this rant, though, with a word of praise for Donald Trump. I am thrilled that he and his administration were able to obtain the release of an American pastor held captive in Turkey for the past two years. Andrew Brunson is a free man and the president insists the United States gave away nothing — not a thing — to secure his release from the Turks.

Leaders praise Trump

Brunson went to the White House to thank the president. The men prayed in the Oval Office. I am delighted he is home, a free man once again. Congratulations belong to the president and his team.

***

But then comes the strange endorsement of Trump from religious leaders who continue to sing the man’s praises, even though they know of his myriad indiscretions, his serial philandering, his abuse of women, his hideous public rhetoric about how he has never sought forgiveness for his sins.

Televangelist and Trump adviser James Robison said this: “He wouldn’t be our Sunday school teacher necessarily but he’s doing a great job of leadership.  I love him so much I can hardly explain it.”

Necessarily, Rev. Robison? Do ya think?

How in the name of all that is holy did this president pull this off? Sure, he has made some policy pronouncements that have stoked joy in the hearts of evangelicals. He recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; he sought to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military; Trump has been able to seat two conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court.

I just cannot get past the man’s lengthy history of decadence and behavior that used to send chills up the spines of the most faithful among us. No longer, or so it seems.

Evangelicals are willing to give him a pass because he is so effective at pandering to their wishes.

Baffling. In the extreme!

Kanye West: presidential adviser?

I do not mean to denigrate Kanye West, who I guess is a pretty good rapper/singer/reality TV celebrity spouse.

But it’s fair to ask this question. Doesn’t the president of the United States have more credible experts with whom to consult on matters such as gang violence, prison reform and, oh, whatever else he and Kanye West are going to discuss at the White House?

West is going to meet with Donald Trump in the White House to talk about the big things. I guess he’s also going to get some love from Trump over the stated support that West has given to the president, which likely explains why he’s been invited to the White House in the first place.

This is the kind of publicity stunt that Trump craves. I’m sure you’ll recall how West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, ventured into the Oval Office to plead for the release of a woman who had been imprisoned wrongly for a drug violation. Trump commuted the woman’s sentence and Kardashian basked in the credit she received for making it happen.

It was a reality star-meet-reality star moment for the president, whose prior claim to fame was as the host of “Celebrity Apprentice,” yet another so-called “reality” TV series.

Now he’s welcoming Kanye West to the White House.

I don’t know about you, but there surely must be more legitimate experts with whom Trump can consult on prison reform and gang violence.

If only they would agree to meet with this president.

‘Trump-bashing’ to continue

Some readers of this blog — those who support Donald J. Trump — keep calling me out because I continue to “bash” the president.

Two answers are in order. The short answer: So what? The longer answer: There’s going to be more of it; allow me to explain.

Donald John Trump Sr. campaigned for the presidency with a campaign that was awash in insults and innuendo against his foes in the Republican Party primary, then against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, and also against the media.

What he’s getting from critics, such as me, simply is a payback for the kind of campaign he waged to attain the nation’s highest office.

Never in my many years of watching politics at this level have I seen a politician employ such negativity, such anger, such outrage. Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017 by giving an abbreviated, but quite grim inaugural speech.

I didn’t hear a call to our nation’s better angels. I heard anger and rage at what he called the “American carnage.”

What does the president expect in return? He should have anticipated that the reaction from those on the other side of the vast political chasm would take the form it has taken.

O.n the very first day of his campaign, the day he announced his candidacy, Trump went for the throats of illegal immigrants, calling them “rapists, murderers and drug dealers,” while admitting “there are some fine people, I’m sure.”

That’s where it started. It is where he continued on his way to the GOP nomination and then to the election. It is the path he has chosen since he settled into the Oval Office.

Yes, I’m going to continue “bashing” the president. And, yes, I also am going to speak positively about him and his policies when circumstances merit it.

Believe it or not, I truly am tired of speaking badly of the president. I’ll let up when I feel like it.

Give pols and their families some space

I have noted many times in this blog that presidents of the United States are “never off the clock.” They become presidents, meaning they have the awesome power of the office at their fingertips even when they’re not sitting in the Oval Office or in the Situation Room.

That said, presidents deserve some time to spend with their families. That courtesy most certainly extends to their staff. To their Cabinet officers. To other politicians. To those who make or administer public policy.

The issue has risen to the level of public discourse in recent days. I maintain that as much as I might criticize a politician’s public policy decisions, I find it offensive to accost them while they are spending time with their family or other loved ones.

Imagine this image with POTUS No. 45

The video I am sharing here occurred not long after the 2008 presidential election.

President George W. Bush welcomed President-elect Barack Obama to the Oval Office for a get-together with three other gentlemen with intimate knowledge of the office of president of the United States.

Former Presidents Bush, Clinton and Carter all joined in wishing the new guy well as he prepared to assume the massive responsibilities of the world’s most difficult public service job.

I watch this video and wonder: Could such an event have occurred when Donald J. Trump succeeded Barack H. Obama?

I will answer my own question: Hell no!

Trump managed all along the way toward his election to trash virtually all of his predecessor. Presidents George H.W. and George W. Bush didn’t vote for their fellow Republican; Trump managed also to denigrate President Carter’s service; oh, and let’s not forget the way he defamed President Clinton while running against the 42nd president’s wife in 2016.

George W. Bush looked at his successor and told him, “We want you to succeed.” He added that all the men gathered in the Oval Office had unique knowledge of the challenges that awaited the new man and would be glad to share their advice if asked.

I read only recently that Presidents Obama and Trump haven’t spoken since Trump took office. The 45th president continues to isolate himself and the presidency from two centuries of tradition and custom.

Then again, I have to remind myself of what Donald Trump declared from the podium at the 2016 GOP national convention. You’ll recall he said that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems.

No. You cannot, Mr. President.

Mitch is striking ‘bipartisan’ tone for new year

Can it be true? Is the Senate majority leader finding some form of “religion” on how to govern?

Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is talking about a more “bipartisan” approach to legislating in the coming year. Well now. Imagine that.

The New York Times is reporting that McConnell is going to shy away from highly partisan measures and concentrate more on issues that have broader bipartisan support. He’s going to look for more Democratic support to go along with the Republican majority that controls the flow of legislation in the U.S. Senate.

Dodd-Frank, which governs the financial industry, has bipartisan support for overhauling the law enacted in the wake of the 2008 banking crisis. McConnell said he virtually certain to push that overhaul forward.

Mitch is going bipartisan

As Politico reports, McConnell and other Republicans failed in their effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this year. “I wish them well,” he said of efforts to continue to repeal the ACA and replace it with … something!

As an American who favors a bipartisan approach to legislating in Congress, I welcome the majority leader’s stated intention to seek another way to govern.

Now … if only Sen. McConnell can persuade the guy in the Oval Office that cooperation works far more effectively than confrontation.

Another one bites the dust

Blake Farenthold has given a new, but strangely ironic meaning to the “Me Too” movement.

The Republican member of Congress from Corpus Christi has said “Me, too … I’m ‘retiring’ from the House of Representatives because of sexual harassment allegations.”

Farenthold reportedly is going to call it a career after the 2018 midterm election. He won’t seek re-election.

He joins a growing and infamous list of members of Congress who’ve bowed to immense and intense public pressure brought on by their sexual misbehavior. We have seen the departures of Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Democratic Rep. John Conyers, Republican Rep. Trent Franks and now this guy, Farenthold.

Read more about it here.

Are there other individuals out there? I’m thinking … yep. There are.

Farenthold is a back-bench member. He’s not a GOP leader in the House. He’s just sort of a loudmouth who once implied he would like to engage in a duel — you know, with pistols — with female members of the House who voted against the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Then it got even worse!

Farenthold was revealed to have spent $84,000 in public money to settle sexual harassment complaints against him. To his credit, he took out a personal loan to pay it back.

That’s not the end of it. CNN reports that new allegations have come forward, accusing Farenthold of being verbally abusive and sexually demeaning.

I guess that signaled the end of the line for this guy. I would prefer he would just walk away now and allow someone else to win a special election and represent the Coastal Bend district with dignity and honor. We’ll have to settle for this clown serving until the end of his term.

This is the new culture in Washington, D.C. Women are coming forward, emboldened to speak out strongly against those who they contend are abusing, demeaning and threatening them.

Now … if only we could just get the goods on yet another leading politician, the guy who calls the shots in the Oval Office.

Maybe that day is coming, too.

As long as we’re insisting on resignation …

Three U.S. senators — two Democrats and an independent who sides with Democrats — have broached a subject that’s on the minds of millions of Americans.

If we’re going to demand and accept the resignations of senators and House members over allegations of sexual abuse, assault and harassment … how about demanding it of the groper in chief, Donald John Trump Sr.?

My distaste for Donald Trump as president of the United States is documented quite thoroughly on this blog. He has behaved like a slug and a boor among women. Moreover, he has actually bragged about it!

Now we hear from Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Corey Booker, D-N.J., and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., all of whom have said that the president should resign just as Democratic Sen. Al Franken, Republican Rep. Trent Franks and Democratic Rep. John Conyers have done.

I won’t climb aboard that hay wagon just yet. However, Trump and his acknowledged misbehavior — and the myriad complaints and allegations that have been leveled against him — do suggest one of the more profound ironies of the “Me Too” movement that is swallowing powerful men.

Trump’s recorded voice has him boasting to a TV host about his grabbing women by their genitals. He boasted about how his celebrity status enabled him to kiss women whenever he felt like it. He has talked about how he was able to walk in on half-dressed beauty pageant contestants because, by golly, he was the boss.

Trump’s “punishment”? He was elected president of the United States. The election does not absolve him of anything. Instead it brings it all into sharp relief when juxtaposed with the allegations that have forced other politicians to walk away from their public service jobs.

I’m not prescient enough to know where this “Me Too” movement is going from here. Perhaps it will gather even more steam. It well might explode inside the Oval Office. Or … it might fizzle and die.

If it does expand and if it does reach even more deeply into the president’s personal behavior, well … then I believe we need to take these resignation suggestions from Sens. Sanders, Booker and Merkley quite seriously.

So, too, should the president.

Trump shrinks a big office

I wish I had thought of this, but since I didn’t I’ll deliver appropriate credit to the source of this piece of wisdom.

It comes from U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., who fired off this tweet today about Donald J. Trump Sr.:

“The President would have left American students in a foreign jail because their families didn’t lavish sufficient praise on him. How can someone in such a big office be so small?”

What a great question, even though it’s more or less a rhetorical inquiry. Here’s another twist on it: How can Trump shrink the high office he won a year ago in one of those most stunning political upsets in U.S. history? I think it shrunk the very moment he took the oath of office.

POTUS shrinks his office

The object of Schiff’s retort concerns the Twitter tussle that Trump entered with LaVar Ball, the father of one of three UCLA student/athletes who were charged with shoplifting at a high-end store in the People’s Republic of China.

Trump talked to Chinese leaders while visiting that country and reportedly persuaded them to release the young men instead of convicting them and sentencing them to potentially years-long prison sentences. LaVar Ball then tweeted that Trump didn’t do anything to obtain the release of his son and the other athletes.

Then the president decided to fire back at Ball — a man known for his big mouth and outsized public presence in the lives of his athletically gifted sons.

He said he “should have left them in jail” because LaVar Ball didn’t lavish enough praise on the president for his efforts.

That is one way a small man can occupy such a big office. Indeed, Trump is managing to shrink the office itself with his persistently petulant behavior.

Trump has turned this remarkable “skill” into an art form.

POTUS does the impossible

Donald John Trump has done the seemingly impossible.

He has turned yours truly into a fan of Republicans who — prior to Trump’s ascendance into the presidency — likely wouldn’t get a good word from this blog.

Who … knew?

I’m going to single out three GOP senators briefly.

* John McCain. This man is a hero. He fought bravely during the Vietnam War. He served heroically as a prisoner of war after being shot down. McCain’s valor is beyond dispute. His commitment and love of country cannot possibly be questioned. He’s now fighting for his life against brain cancer.

* Bob Corker. I am less familiar with this fellow. He’s ending his Senate career after just two terms. He’s a conservative. He is a mainstream fellow. He seems intelligent, measured, reasonable.

* Jeff Flake. He, too, is ending his Senate run at the end of next year. He’s another conservative. He’s also a true-blue Republican.

All three of these men have another thing in common. They detest the president of the United States. So do I. Wow! Imagine that. I agree with them — and other lawmakers in both houses of Congress — in their assessment of Trump’s competence.

Donald Trump is not competent enough to do the job to which he was elected. What’s more, he’s not even a real Republican. He is no Democrat, either. He’s a man without a party, or a man with a party he is seeking to craft in his own image.

What an image that would be, yes?

A fellow inherits a stake from his wealthy father; he invests it in real estate development; he makes a ton of money. Then he ventures into beauty pageant management/ownership. Then he becomes host of a reality TV show.

Oh, then he marries three women, produces five children with all three of them. He cheats on his first two wives — and brags about it! He admits to groping women and grabbing them by their, um … oh, you know. He mimics a disabled reporter. He disparages a Gold Star family. He hides his tax returns from public review.

Trump doesn’t know how to govern. His “fellow Republicans” do understand how run the government. They are frustrated, angry and mortified at the so-called “leadership” coming from the White House.

I am on their side in this growing dispute.

The common denominator who has brought me to the Republicans’ side? He sits in the Oval Office.