Tag Archives: Oval Office

Trump’s boast about working hard rings hollow

Donald Trump’s brainless boast about being the hardest-working president in U.S. history rings as hollow as his many other such fits of braggadocio.

He has bragged about his wealth, how he has the “best brain,” how he knows “the best words,” how he attended the “best schools.”

Now in response to the revelations about the “executive time” he takes as president and reports of how he spends huge amounts of that time watching TV and firing off Twitter message, he has decided to brag about how hard he works at making America great again.

My life’s experience has taught me a lot about people.

I have learned that rich folks don’t brag about their wealth, geniuses don’t boast about their intellect, the well-educated don’t brag about the quality of the schools they attend.

I also have learned that heroes don’t brag about their heroic exploits and those who work hard don’t feel the need to remind us of the time put into the jobs they do.

The president of the United States appears to act like the most insecure man ever to hold that high office.

Sad.

They call it ‘executive time’?

Axios is reporting that Donald Trump spends a lot of what is being called “executive time,” meaning time off the clock, in the White House residence, doing something I presume other than reading briefing papers and intelligence reports.

This really isn’t a huge deal to me. I’ve noted already many times that I don’t even mind the president playing a lot of golf. What irks me about all that golf time is that this president promised he wouldn’t do it . . . and then he reneged on that promise!

Presidents are never off the clock. They’re only a radio message or phone call away from being summoned to respond to a national emergency; by that I mean a real emergency, not a phony one such as what Trump says is occurring on our southern border.

As for the executive time business, I  wish Trump would spend more time studying how to be president. He ought to learn about what the U.S. Constitution lays out in terms of executive power, and how the framers established Congress and the courts as co-equal branches of government. He doesn’t seem to know any of that.

Then again, maybe he is spending his executive time actually reading. Do you think? Nahhh! If he was doing it we certainly would know about it. He’d be firing off Twitter messages informing us of all the brainy work he is doing behind the scenes.

See the Axios story here.

Axios suggests he spends a lot of time each day reading newspapers and watching TV before he heads to the Oval Office, or the Cabinet Room, or the Situation Room to do the things that presidents do.

Still, the Axios story does reaffirm what many of us have noted all along, that we have elected a bizarre, unconventional and, um, “unpresidented” fellow as head of state, commander in chief and chief executive.

It’s all kinda weird.

Cliff Sims: from nowhere to center of attention

How do some people manage to emerge suddenly and dramatically from the weeds to the center of the political arena?

I refer to a young man named Cliff Sims, who’s written a book called “Team of Vipers,” in which he chronicles the chaos and confusion that has dictated the flow of events inside the Donald Trump operation at the White House.

I had never heard of Cliff Sims prior to this week. I don’t know what he did in the White House. He is making the TV talk circuit promoting his book. He has said he attended meetings with the president in the Oval Office, in his private office, in the Cabinet room. Trump, to no one’s surprise, denies that Sims had that kind of access.

Do I believe the president’s account of their relationship? Uhh, no. I don’t. I mean, the president lies constantly, even when there’s no need. Do I believe Sims’s account of their relationship? Let me think. I don’t yet know.

He is not the first tell-all author to spill what he considers to be the beans on Donald Trump. He likely won’t be the final one.

However, he becomes the latest social media instant celebrity, someone who reveals himself under the glare of media scrutiny.

I’ll just add that the title of his book, “Team of Vipers,” does seem to ring true. At least it does to my eyes and ears.

Great! Another zillionaire wants to be POTUS!

This is just great, I tell ya . . . just great!

Americans have been subjected to the chaos associated with a real estate mogul turned politician who was elected president of the United States in 2016.

Now we hear that another business tycoon might decide to make a run for the nation’s highest office in 2020.

Please! No! A million times no!

The latest novice pol who wants a shot at playing the role of commander in chief and head of state is Howard Schultz, the former owner of Starbucks. He calls himself a “centrist independent” and a “lifelong Democrat.” Schultz told “60 Minutes” he would run as an independent candidate.

Let’s see. How would that work? He could siphon off votes that would go toward an actual political figure running as a Democrat opponent against Donald J. Trump. Is there a chance a Schultz candidacy could improve the president’s re-election chances? Yeah! Do ya think?

Trump campaigned for president touting (falsely it likely turned out) his past as a “self-made billionaire.” He touted his business acumen, forgetting to mention all those bankruptcies, lawsuits and failed business ventures. He had zero political or government or public service experience before deciding to run for POTUS . . . and oh brother, it shows!

Howard Schultz wants a crack at the world’s toughest job?

Give me a break.

I want someone who actually knows how government works to serve as my president. I want someone who isn’t in love with his own success and who is fully and wholly committed to public service.

Schultz is planning a national tour to pitch his notion of running for president. Good grief. Spare me the platitudes and promises.

I want someone sitting behind the big desk in the Oval Office who has an understanding of what’s at stake. Trump isn’t the guy. Neither is Schultz.

Oh, and check out Trump’s response to Schultz’s possible candidacy. He wrote this on Twitter: Howard Schultz doesn’t have the “guts” to run for President! Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the “smartest person.” Besides, America already has that! I only hope that Starbucks is still paying me their rent in Trump Tower!

Yep. That’s the president of the United States of America.

Isn’t he just so damn dignified?

WH chief of staff gets a dose of Trump

Donald Trump selected Mick Mulvaney to be the acting White House chief of staff to succeed John Kelly, who resigned far ahead of his announced timetable.

Mulvaney, who runs the Office of Management and Budget in his real day job, said upon his hiring that he planned to “let Trump be Trump.” He had no intention, or so he implied, of reeling in the president while trying to prevent him from some of his more impulsive behavior.

Well, it’s being reported that Mulvaney got a serious dose of the real Donald Trump during a White House meeting with Democratic congressional leaders. The group met ostensibly to find a way to reopen the government, which has been shut down partially for three weeks.

Trump reportedly dressed Mulvaney down in front of those congressional leaders, telling him to “Stop, stop, just stop. What are you doing? You’re f***ing it all up, MIck.”

There you go. That’s Trump being Trump, per the White House chief of staff’s stated desire. Is this what he really intended when he took the job on an “acting” basis? I think not.

Don’t misconstrue me here. I don’t feel sorry for Mulvaney. He’s a grownup who likely knew about the loony bin into which he was entering when he agreed to run the White House staff.

Still, what I find astounding is that the president of the United States would (allegedly) treat the chief of staff in that fashion in front of a roomful of politicians and other staffers. Then again, given the president’s lack of decorum or dignity at any level, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at all!

The White House chief of staff once was considered the plum of plum jobs in D.C. No longer. Not for as long as Donald Trump is president of the United States. He’s already burned through two chiefs of staff, Kelly and before him Reince Priebus. Kelly was brought in to bring a sense of order after Priebus was canned; indeed, Priebus couldn’t control the traffic in the Oval Office, just inflaming the chaos that dictates the flow within the White House.

Now we have Mulvaney perched in the White House hot seat. I’ve thought all along that an “acting” chief of staff cannot sustain himself over any length of time. I mean, Mulvaney already has a full-time gig at OMB, which is a huge job all by itself.

So now he gets pounded and pilloried by the president while the government remains shut down.

Great work if you can get it, right, Mick?

Happy new year, in all CAPS!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE, INCLUDING THE HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA! 2019 WILL BE A FANTASTIC YEAR FOR THOSE NOT SUFFERING FROM TRUMP DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. JUST CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE, GREAT THINGS ARE HAPPENING FOR OUR COUNTRY!

That, right there, is Donald Trump’s new year’s message to the country he was elected to govern.

A couple of things strike me about the tweet that came off the president’s cell phone.

One is the use of all capital letters, which a tweet sender usually employees to express excitement, agitation or angst. Yet he tells us to “CALM DOWN AND ENJOY THE RIDE.”

Go figure.

The other thing is the apparent attempt at sounding magnanimous.

Trump offers new year’s greetings to the “HATERS AND THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA!”

I know he intends to aim that message at others, such as his critics and those who work for various media organizations. When I think just a little bit about it, though, I cannot get over the notion that the president himself is a “hater” and is the nation’s supreme purveyor of “fake news.”

Whatever. Happy new year to the president. I am betting that 2019 is going to ruffle a few more feathers.

As for “GREAT THINGS” happening, I must say that the greatest thing I can imagine for our great country will occur when Donald John Trump exits the Oval Office for the final time.

Whether to tweet or be ‘presidential’

I’ll concede the obvious, which is that Donald John Trump has redefined the presidency of the United States.

He issues policy pronouncements via Twitter. He tweets his brains out, firing off messages conveyed normally through more, um, diplomatic channels. Part of me still wishes he would cease and desist.

However, another part of me — perhaps it’s the major part — actually wants him to keep it up. Keep using the medium to say things, to outrage us, to fire up your base, to give the rest of us reason to detest you.

A lengthy article in Politico talks about how Trump has overused Twitter. Remember when he promised (imagine that!) to cut off the tweets once he became president? That pledge had as much value as his promise to make Mexico pay for The Wall, that he wouldn’t have time to play golf and his pledge to be the “unity president.”

Read the Politico article here.

Trump has been unleashed on Twitter.

It’s given bloggers such as yours truly plenty of grist on which to comment. Keep it coming, Mr. President.

I’ll just add one caveat: Do not tweet out the nuclear codes or otherwise endanger national security any worse than you already have done through your careless remarks to Russians and other adversaries who visit you in the Oval Office.

The new year promises to be chock full of news, as if the year that just passed wasn’t full enough as it was.

With the “Stable Genius” at the helm, there’s never a dull moment.

Who in the world would want this job?

John Kelly is out as White House chief of staff. He apparently has been forced out, making him the second individual to lose that post involuntarily during the Donald Trump administration.

Reince Priebus was the first chief of staff to get the boot from Trump.

This all begs the question: If you’re watching these developments up close and you are on some sort of presidential short list for chief of staff, would you want the job?

If it were me, I would head for the hills, hide in the tall grass, plunge into a cave. I wouldn’t want the president to know where to find me.

Office and Management Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is the current acting chief of staff, which in itself is a bizarre development. Trump is looking for a permanent chief. Where he’ll find it is a mystery to most, perhaps even to the president himself.

I had high hopes for John Kelly. He’s a retired Marine Corps general, a Gold Star dad whose son died in action in Afghanistan. He was Homeland Security secretary when he got the call to run the White House staff after Trump fired Priebus. Kelly is a take-charge guy. I had hope he would calm the White House chaos.

He didn’t do it, but it’s not entirely his fault. He works for a guy — Donald Trump — who cannot be managed. The president has no understanding of the limitations of his office and so he tries to do things that are impossible. He relies on his “gut” more than he relies on “other people’s brains.”

The president’s gut is betraying him — and the country — every single day.

I have no clue how he’s going to find a chief of staff who is willing to tolerate the idiocy that flows out of the Oval Office. Reince Priebus couldn’t hit his rear end with both hands; Gen. Kelly brought a much greater level of competence to the job, but he couldn’t work with a president who is wired the way Donald Trump is wired.

Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, bailed on Trump. Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did, too.

It well might be that it won’t matter one damn bit who Trump selects as chief of staff. He tells us he is the smartest man on Earth. I am partly of a mind to let this bozo try to prove it.

Pence’s stony silence most disturbing image

Look at the picture. The person to Donald Trump’s right is none other than the vice president of the United States, Mike Pence.

Of all the chatter we’ve heard about that meeting, the one image that continues to stick in my craw is of Pence sitting there, silent, not saying a single word. Meanwhile, the president argues with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer about the federal budget and financing construction of The Wall on our southern border.

The image of Pence sitting there mute reminds me of what President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden said of their relationship during their eight years in power.

Obama has made it abundantly clear, and Biden has affirmed it, that Biden was the last person to leave any room where the two men were present. Biden would argue with Obama, telling him — sometimes with great emphasis — where he believed the president was wrong. The president would fire back. The two men would go at it tooth and nail.

But through it all, as the former president has recounted their service together, they forged a lasting friendship and partnership.

Do you think the current vice president and the current president have anything approaching that kind of relationship, let alone any semblance of a friendship? Of course not!

Trump comes from a world where he was The Boss. He made decisions. Those who worked for him did what they were told to do. If they didn’t, they were out. Indeed, we’ve seen evidence of that background even as he has morphed into what passes for the chief executive of the federal government.

Thus, when Trump, Pelosi and Schumer were haranguing each other in the Oval Office, one couldn’t possibly expect VP Pence to chime in with his own view. I mean, after all, he’s only the No. 2 man in the executive branch of government. He was elected right along with Donald Trump to lead the nation. Isn’t that right?

Doesn’t that by itself give him any “cred” to say what he believes, to tell the president anything at all that might contradict whatever passes for the president’s world view?

One would think. Except that we are talking about Donald Trump, who is unfit for the office he holds. He wanted an obsequious lap dog to serve as VP and, by golly, he got one.

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!