Tag Archives: POTUS

Climate change will bring more storms

A report came to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk that delivers a stern message without actually saying the words it needs to say.

The Gulf Coast is going to experience more severe storms with increasing frequency, the report states. Why? Earth’s climate is changing. However, the report doesn’t use the words “climate change” to explain what is patently obvious.

Gov. Abbott won’t accept climate change as a contributing factor, but the report does contain some stern and dire warnings.

According to the Austin American-Statesman: “The enormous toll on individuals, businesses and public infrastructure should provide a wake-up call underlining the urgent need to ‘future proof’ the Gulf Coast — and indeed all of Texas — against future disasters,” according to “Eye of the Storm,’ the report released Thursday by . . . Abbott’s Commission to Rebuild Texas.”

But as the American-Statesman notes, “future proof” has become Abbott’s favorite term as it relates to what the state is experiencing.

Earlier reports note that storms as savage and sweeping as Hurricane Harvey are going to pound the coast with increasing frequency and savagery. Again, our climate is changing. Sea levels along the coast are rising. The rising levels put our fragile coastal wetlands in peril. Other reports note the shrinking Arctic and Antarctic ice caps that could cause sea levels to increase by more than four feet by 2100.

Also, according to the American-Statesman: “The current scientific consensus points to increasing amounts of intense rainfall coupled with the likelihood of more intense hurricanes,” the report states.

The president of the United States says climate change is a “hoax.” I believe he is wrong to say such a thing knowing that he is making a false declaration.

As for the Texas governor, it is long past time for him to climb aboard the climate change wagon. The evidence is there, even if a thorough report doesn’t say it in so many words.

One more stark difference between Trump and Bush 41

Americans have just bade farewell to a great and good man, George Herbert Walker Bush, with tributes and praise that brought instantaneous comparisons to one of his presidential successors, Donald John Trump Sr.

The tributes honored the former president’s empathy, compassion, the size of his heart, wisdom and coolness under the most extreme pressure imaginable. Many of us drew a straight line between the 41st president and the 45th president and found the latter man lacking in all those categories.

What has gotten almost no attention has been the qualifications chasm that exists between the men.

We went from electing arguably the most qualified man ever as president to electing — without question, in my mind — the most fundamentally unqualified man. Yes, we made that leap between 1988 and 2016. In just 28 years we reset the standard for electing the leader of the free world and the commander in chief of the world’s greatest military machine.

Bush served as a U.S. Navy aviator in World War II (who came within a whisker of dying in combat), successful West Texas businessman, two-term member of Congress, CIA director, special envoy to China, Republican Party chairman, ambassador to the United Nations and then vice president of the United States. All that occurred before his smashing election as POTUS in 1988. He also was married to the same woman for 73 years, with whom he produced six children.

And Trump? His business record has been, shall we say, mixed. He had zero public service experience. His entire professional life was aimed at self-enrichment. He has filed multiple bankruptcies. The only public office he ever has sought is the presidency of the United States. The personal part? He’s been married three times and has admitted to cheating on his first two wives — with evidence mounting that he did the same thing to his current wife.

President Bush brought honor and an enormous well-spring of commitment to public service to the world’s most powerful office. Donald Trump has brought — um, let me think — not a single shred of any of it to the office to which he was elected. We have turned the presidency into an office where the occupant can receive on-the-job training. No experience necessary. How utterly astonishing!

George H.W. Bush was worthy of the praise he received. Donald J. Trump is equally worthy of the scorn he is receiving.

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.

White House chief of staff: no longer best job in the world

There once was a time when the White House chief of staff was considered the best job in Washington, D.C. The chief was closest to the president. The chief ran a staff of individuals who helped formulate public policy. It was a dream job.

Now it’s a nightmare post. Donald Trump has just pushed his second chief of staff in less than two years out the door. John Kelly is leaving at the end of the month. He couldn’t control the president. He couldn’t manage the staff. He couldn’t do what Trump promised he would do after he fired the first chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

The heir apparent, Vice President Pence’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, was thought to be a shoo-in for the White House chief job. Then he backed out. He doesn’t want the post and, I’ll presume, the intense aggravation that goes with it. He wants to move back to Georgia with his young family.

What has the president done to this formerly plum political post? He has wrecked it. He wrecks the reputation of those occupy that post. He continues to govern by the seat of his britches. The man is clueless, yet he wants to manage the White House staff all by himself, while he continues to “make America great again.”

So very sad. And weird. And bizarre.

Can all these observers be so totally wrong?

Social media are exploding at this moment. They are swarming with comments, predictions, speculation, conjecture and assorted opinions that seem to run along the same line.

Donald John Trump is in seriously deep doo-doo. Three of his former close aides and friends — Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort — are convicted felons. Cohen today received a three-year prison sentence. The president’s former “fixer” and friend is now getting ready to wear a prison jump suit.

I’m not sure what the future holds for Flynn, the former Army general and national security adviser and Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman.

The social media chatter, though, is alive and abuzz with belief that Donald Trump might be among the next tall tree to fall.

Can they all be wrong? Can they all be mistaken?

The odds are against that notion. It looks to me as though the odds are lengthening about whether Donald Trump is going to finish his term as president of the United States.

This drama needs to play itself out.

Is POTUS above the law?

Federal prosecutors are making some serious allegations against the president of the United States.

They are alleging that Donald Trump orchestrated the illegal payments to two women with whom he allegedly had sexual relations; the payments were made to keep them quiet about the encounters, which — quite naturally — Trump says never happened.

The allegations bring to mind a key question. Does the U.S. Constitution protect the president from indictment?

Trump in trouble?

I cannot pretend to be a presidential scholar, but I’ve read the document from beginning to end several times over many years. I am not at all aware of where it says in there that the president is immune from criminal prosecution if he commits an offense such as, oh, authorizing illegal payments to women with whom he took a tumble . . . allegedly!

Is it contained in Article II, the part of the U.S. Constitution that deals with presidential power and authority? Is it somewhere in any of the amendments that were added to the document? If it’s in there, someone will have to tell me where to look.

We keep hearing all the time that “no one is above the law” in this country. Does that include the president?

I believe that when we declare that the law excludes “no one,” that the president must be included in the masses of Americans who can, and do, face criminal prosecution if they mess up.

Can you really blame Hillary for the snub?

I want to defend former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton for a moment, so bear with me.

The media have reported extensively on her refusal to acknowledge the arrival this week of Donald J. Trump at the funeral of former President George H.W. Bush. She sat in her front-row church pew seat, looking straight ahead while the president and first lady Melania Trump greeted former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

Hillary sat next to her husband, another former president, Bill Clinton. To her left was former President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter; the Carters didn’t acknowledge the president’s arrival, either.

So, why the hubbub? I guess it’s because the Obamas were able to muster up the courtesy of extending their hands to the Trumps. Many in the media have asked: Why didn’t Hillary Clinton do the same thing and pretend to make nice with a fake smile?

If only the president had won the 2016 election with a smidgen of grace. If only he had defeated Hillary Clinton and then kept his trap shut. He didn’t do that. He has continued to suggest that Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted for unspecified crimes and locked up. He has defamed her, insulted her at every turn, denigrated her service to the country (which far outstrips anything Trump has done or ever will do).

It’s helpful as well to ask: How would any of us act if we encountered someone who continually defames our character and suggests the things Trump has done with Hillary Clinton?

I give the Obamas credit for smiling and shaking the Trumps’ hands. They are better people than I would have been in that circumstance, given the things that Trump has said about his immediate presidential predecessor.

As for Hillary Clinton’s declining to acknowledge Trump, I am OK with that, too.

I am certain that every word all the former presidents and their spouses heard from the pulpit by those honoring the late President Bush — the descriptions of his decency, humanity and his decades of public service — drew immediate comparisons to the man sitting at the end of that church pew.

‘Dumb as a rock’? Seriously, Mr. POTUS?

Donald J. Trump, president of the United States, has just posted a Twitter message about a man he nominated to become the secretary of state, the nation’s top foreign service officer.

Mike Pompeo is doing a great job, I am very proud of him. His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, didn’t have the mental capacity needed. He was dumb as a rock and I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough. He was lazy as hell. Now it is a whole new ballgame, great spirit at State!

Yep, that’s our president, the guy who sought to present the United States’ foreign policy statements through its secretary of state.

Now he calls the man he fired earlier this year “dumb as a rock.”

I don’t believe Rex Tillerson is “dumb as a rock.” He ran ExxonMobil oil company before he took the job as the nation’s top diplomat. I don’t believe he was well-suited for the job at State.

It is simply astonishing, though, that the president — our head of state, our commander in chief, the leader of the free world — would resort to the kind of language he is using to denigrate someone he hired for this most sensitive of jobs.

And we’re expected to take the president seriously?

Trump’s singular approach to presidency on display

Even when he’s not the center of attention — supposedly — Donald Trump finds a way, even when it’s not of his own volition, to become the center of attention.

There he was Wednesday morning sitting in a church pew next to his wife, first lady Melania Trump, along with the three surviving presidents and their wives.

He sat in the pew with his arms crossed. He didn’t recite the opening prayer along with the rest of those gathered to honor the life of the late President George H.W. Bush; nor did he recite the Apostles Creed along with his wife and the other presidents.

The Twitter Universe is abuzz with comments about it. Yes, it’s about Donald Trump. The comparisons to Bush 41 are inevitable. All those who eulogized the great man spoke of his humility, his dedication to public service, his empathy, his humanity, his steady and confident leadership while the Cold War came to an end, his self-deprecation.

How can one not think of Donald Trump when one hears the statements made about one of his presidential predecessors? I could not help myself. Neither, apparently, can millions of other Americans.

Bush 41 is going to be saluted once again later today in Houston. Then he’ll be placed on a train and will ride the rails to his burial site in College Station, at his presidential library, where he will lie next to his beloved wife, Barbara, and their toddler daughter, Robin.

We’ll hear more wonderful rhetoric about the glorious life this man led and we’ll hear more about the qualities that made him such a good and decent man.

And to be sure, there will be more not-so-kind thoughts about the fellow who occupies the office President Buch once did with grace and dignity.

Awkward encounter coming up?

If you’re honest with yourself, you are wondering the same thing I am wondering.

They’re going to honor the life of the late President George H.W. Bush on Thursday at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Attendees for the event clearly will be others who held the exalted office that President Bush held for four years.

George W. Bush, the late president’s son, will be on hand. Bill Clinton — who forged a close friendship with Bush 41 — will be there. So, likely, will Barack Obama. And yes, so will Donald Trump. I don’t know yet whether Jimmy Carter will attend; I hope he’s there.

What are we wondering, you and I? Well, speaking for myself only, I am curious about how Presidents Bush, Obama and Clinton might react when they encounter the current president.

My guess — and that’s all it is — would be that they’ll all act correctly in public. In private? Well, we cannot know, unless someone who is among them leaks it to the rest of the world.

Donald Trump has expended a lot of his waking-hour energy disparaging Presidents Clinton and Obama. He’s been less vocal about “W.” I’m not going to get into the particulars about what Trump has said about his predecessors, although it is worth noting that he even mocked Bush 41’s “Points of Light” program that the late president made one of his signature domestic achievements.

I believe, too, that Trump will deliver remarks about President Bush during the National Cathedral event. It’s also good to understand that these men were not friends. Bush 41 even acknowledged some time ago that he voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, stiffing his fellow Republican, Trump.

I can see the potential for a number of awkward moments this week while the nation continues to bid farewell to President George Bush.

Let’s all watch with keen interest, shall we?