Tag Archives: POTUS

Trump trips over himself again

What is it about Donald Trump that prevents him from doing something quietly, gracefully, with empathy and compassion?

He’s walked into yet another controversy, this time over a phone call he made to the wife of a fallen U.S. Army soldier who was among four soldiers killed in Niger.

A Florida congresswoman, Democrat Frederica Wilson, said the president told Myeshia Johnson that her husband, Sgt. David Johnson, “knew what he was getting into.” He added that “it still hurts.”

He said, she said

Trump, quite naturally, has denied saying what Wilson alleges he said. Rep. Wilson said she was overheard the conversation between the president and Mrs. Johnson and is standing by her comment.

I won’t pass any judgment on who’s right, except to note yet again that Trump has shown quite a propensity for prevarication. I have no knowledge of Rep. Wilson’s reputation for veracity.

I guess my point here is that Trump simply is not wired to perform simple — but admittedly tough — tasks without somehow calling attention to himself. It’s always “lights, camera, action!” with this guy.

He said previous presidents didn’t call the loved ones of fallen warriors. Aides to Presidents Clinton, Bush 43 and Obama have denied vehemently what Trump has suggested.

And so … the chaos continues.


Melania vs. Ivana adds to Trump chaos

This is unbelievable.

Ivana Trump once was married to Donald John Trump.

They divorced. Donald Trump then married Marla Maples.

Trump and Maples divorced. After that, Donald Trump married his current wife, Melania.

What, then, is Ivana Trump trying to do here? She’s sowing seeds of chaos by saying she has immediate access to the White House, that she’s the actual “first lady.”

You see, chaos follows the president in seemingly every aspect of his life, or so it seems.

As if it needs to be spelled out to Ivana Trump … she ain’t the first lady. She’s one of two former wives of the man who was elected president in 2016.

“This is unfortunately only attention-seeking and self-serving noise,” the first lady’s communications director, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement to Fox News.

Trump isn’t the first divorcee to be elected president. Ronald Reagan was married to actress Jane Wyman before he married Nancy Davis. If memory serves, I don’t recall Jane Wyman making ridiculous assertions regarding her status as it related to the president.

But, oh, this is a new day, with a new president, and apparently a new set of behavior standards.

The chaos, though, seems oddly familiar.

Ex-presidents look so, so relaxed

This picture makes me happy.

It shows the three most immediate past presidents of the United States of America: Barack H. Obama, George W. Bush and William J. Clinton.

Look at those men. Don’t they look happy? Relaxed? Chummy?

They opened the President’s Cup golf tournament today in Jersey City, N.J., the first time three ex-presidents have opened the event that pits American golfers against an international team.

It’s a big deal.

For some time after he left office, I was left pining for former President Obama. I missed him terribly. At one or two levels, I still do. But seeing this picture reminds me of how much he and Presidents Bush and Clinton have earned the right to look so damn relaxed.

The same can be said of former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter. They weren’t there. President Bush is in poor health. President Carter is likely building a house somewhere for Habitat for Humanity; indeed, President Carter hasn’t stopped working since he left office … in 1981!

And, oh how I wish I could be a fly on the wall as these three former heads of state talk about the guy who holds the office these days.

Still struggling with ‘President’ and ‘Trump’

I fear I am entering a critical phase of my commentary on the president of the United States.

Some months ago, I declared in this blog that I couldn’t write the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively. It’s not that I disrespect the office; it’s because I disrespect the individual who occupies it.

I thought I might get over that resistance the farther along we progressed into the Trump administration. My concern now is different. It’s that the farther along we go into the president’s term, the more difficult it is going to be for me to use those two terms consecutively.

Let me stipulate once again that it has nothing at all to do with my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. I have had no trouble referring to President Nixon, President Ford, President Reagan, President Bush (41) and President Bush (43) — despite never having voted for any of them.

They all conducted themselves appropriately while holding their exalted office. They all knew how to act and talk like the head of state and head of government. They all brought public service credentials to their job. Except for President Nixon, none of them disgraced the office the way the current president has done.

But you see, even though Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace after covering up the Watergate break-in, I still am able to refer to him by putting the word “President” directly in front of his name.

A critic of this blog has challenged me to refer to Donald Trump in that manner. I’ll have to respectfully decline that challenge.

My concern now is that I might never do what I concede is the correct thing to do.

Trump keeps saying inappropriate things in equally inappropriate settings. He keeps launching those Twitter tirades. He continues to hurl personal insults at his domestic political foes. Trump keeps up the drumbeat of disparaging nicknames he attaches on those who disagree with him.

He has yet to apologize for the many hideous statements he has made about: John McCain, the Gold Star family that criticized him this past summer, the disabled New York Times reporter, Barack Obama’s eligibility to serve as president, or the many lies he has told about any number of incidents he purported to have witnessed.

A man who cannot conduct himself like a president doesn’t deserve to be called one.

I’ve struggled with trying to decide whether to put the word “President” in front of Trump’s name. I wish I could report that I’m closer to taking that leap … but I can’t go there.

Trump shows more juvenile petulance

The nation’s juvenile delinquent in chief just keeps demonstrating his unfitness for a job that requires a huge measure of dignity.

Donald John Trump Sr. fired up his Twitter finger to retweet an animated image of the president hitting Hillary Rodham Clinton with a golf ball.

Pretty funny, huh? Oh, not at all!

But that’s the president of the United States of America for you. He just cannot stop insulting his political foes and critics. He just cannot resist the temptation to illustrate why so many of his fellow Americans detest the notion of his occupying the White House.

It goes without saying that heads of state need to conduct themselves with dignity and decorum. Trump doesn’t understand the tradition that accompanies the office he won in 2016, defeating Clinton in one of the most raucous and divisive elections in our nation’s history.

Trump’s Twitter tirades need to stop. They won’t, of course. The president will continue to denigrate others through this social medium for as long as his base of supporters keep cheering him on.

What the heck. He’s pandering to his base on many levels, forsaking the rest of the country that didn’t support his election in the first place.

Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, calls it “distressing that we have a president who will tweet and retweet things as juvenile as that.”

I’ll add another word: disgraceful.

However, the president is going to “make America great again.”

Aren’t you proud of him? Neither am I.

Letter from ‘BO’ now seems oddly unwelcome to DT

Under normal circumstances, a letter from one president of the United States to his successor wouldn’t seem to be worthy of much attention.

These aren’t normal times. For starters, Donald J. Trump isn’t your “normal” president. He spoke kindly of his immediate predecessor, Barack H. Obama, when the two men met face to face for the first time in the Oval Office right after Trump’s election as president.

It went downhill from there. Rapidly. Angrily.

So, when CNN released the contents of the traditional note that presidents leave behind, it’s worth noting the outreach that President Obama extended to his successor.

The note ends with this: Michelle and I wish you and Melania the very best as you embark on this great adventure, and know that we stand ready to help in any ways which we can.

I do not doubt the former president’s good wishes for the Trumps. I’d like to throw away my doubt about how the new president felt about the former president upon visiting him in the Oval Office. But I cannot.

Here’s the full note from Obama to Trump.

If only the president hadn’t defamed the former president with that scurrilous and baseless claim about wiretapping the Trump campaign’s offices in Trump Tower. Or if only he would resist the temptation to say again and again about the “mess” he inherited from the 44th president, which I happen to believe is another lie.

Trump’s loud mouth and his boisterous criticism of All Things Obama appear aimed at pleasing only the base within his own Republican Party while ignoring the support that the former president enjoyed among millions of other Americans.

So now we know what the former president wrote to the man who took his place in the Oval Office. To me, the most poignant passage in the note deals with the transitory nature of the office.

It reads: (W)e are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for. Regardless of the push and pull of daily politics, it’s up to us to leave those instruments of our democracy at least as strong as we found them.

There’s no need to elaborate on whether I believe Donald Trump — to date — has kept faith with that bit of advice.

Trump does right by Harvey’s victims

Donald Trump makes it hard for his critics to say something good about him.

I’m going to try, though, to give the president of the United States of America two thumbs up. I had pledged to speak well of the president when opportunities presented themselves. One such opportunity occurred today.

Trump and his wife, Melania, ventured back to Texas today to get a better look at the devastation brought to the Gulf Coast by Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey. He went to a church that doubles as a shelter for Texans displaced by Harvey’s wrath. He took selfies with children and their parents. He offered many words of encouragement.

That’s what presidents are supposed to do.

Yes, some critics have alluded to the notion that Trump should have done all this during his first trip to the Gulf Coast. They’re suggesting he’s doing this only because of the criticism he took for the photo-op quality of that initial post-Harvey visit.

I won’t go there — although, yes, I’m sure some critics of this blog might point out that merely mentioning the criticism of others projects my own dim view of the president.

Instead, I choose to offer a good word of encouragement for Donald Trump. He took the time to look victims in the eye and offer them the federal government’s full attention and assistance.

These Texans are in trouble, which Mother Nature delivered in awesome proportion. They needed to know that the president of the United States is capable of donning his consoler in chief robe and is willing to express verbally and openly the care and concern of the federal government he was elected to oversee.

This duty is part of the job description. I’m glad the president understood it today.

Teamwork, not warnings, is in order, Mr. President

Teamwork, Mr. President. Teamwork.

You need to reach out for help from Congress, not issue warnings of an “or else” consequence if lawmakers fail to enact a “once in a generation” tax overhaul.

Donald Trump ventured to Missouri today to hawk a plan to change the federal tax system. His public remarks were, typically, short on details. The rough outlines suggest that the president wants to cut tax rates for wealthier Americans and perhaps simplify the monstrous tax code — which I read the other day comprises 78,000 pages.

Yikes, eh?

But as his the president’s style, he is putting pressure on Congress to do his bidding. What we learned, though, from the failed Republican-only effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is that the president needs to weigh in with detailed analysis and must be willing and able to argue the fine points of what he prefers from the lawmakers he needs to make it become law.

Time to pull together.

Trump failed famously to do any of that as the ACA repeal effort floundered and failed in the U.S. Senate.

Now he’s implying a threat to congressional leaders. “I think Congress is going to make a comeback. I hope so. I’ll tell you what, the United States is counting on it,” Trump said in Missouri.

I need to mention, too, that the president’s relationship with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has gone from frosty to frigid. Trump needs McConnell at least as much as the other way around. Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan — who presides over the body where all tax legislation originates — isn’t exactly singing the president’s praises of late, either.

Get in the game, Mr. President. If you want any sort of success, then it’s time for you to stop threatening and start cajoling.

Politics isn’t easy. Or simple. You can’t just make demands of legislators and expect them to march to your cadence. They have actual “bosses” back home, in their states and congressional districts, who they need to please.

They work for them, Mr. President. Not you.

Are mainstream Republicans wising up to Trump?

Peter Wehner is no Republican in Name Only.

Neither is John Danforth, or Mitt Romney, or Jeb Bush, or John McCain. They are among an increasing number of serious-minded individuals — some of whom have been in public service for decades — who are speaking out finally against another prominent member of their political party.

I refer to the president of the United States of America, Donald John Trump.

I mention Wehner in this post because I want to include an essay he’s written for the New York Times.

Here it is.

The overarching issue for the president seems, in my mind, to be fairly clear cut. He’s not a Republican. He’s a classic RINO. He attached himself to a political party because it suited his personal ambition. Besides, he had spent years defaming a Democratic president, Barack Obama, suggesting he wasn’t a “natural born” American, that he was born overseas and, therefore, wasn’t qualified to hold his high office.

It didn’t stop there. He questioned President Obama’s academic credentials. He suggested that the president really didn’t earn Harvard law degree, or that he didn’t excel academically. He said Obama was a fraud.

So, he sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. Then, of course, he was elected.

But he’s no Republican. Wehner, who has served under three GOP presidents, laments the wreckage that Trump has brought to the presidency. It’s almost as if Trump has formed a sort of de facto political party that is neither Republican or Democratic. As Wehner writes in the Times:

“The more offensive Mr. Trump is to the rest of America, the more popular he becomes with his core supporters. One policy example: At a recent rally in Phoenix, the president said he was willing to shut down the government over the question of funding for a border wall, which most of his base favors but only about a third of all Americans want.”

Yes, his base — even though it is shrinking — still loves the guy. They cheer his idiotic rants. They proclaim their adherence to an individual who “tells it like it is.” They dismiss any notion that he doesn’t know what he’s doing, that he doesn’t understand how government works, that he has spent his entire adult professional life with one mission only: to enrich himself.

I have conceded many times that this guy has defied the laws of conventional political gravity. The idea that he could be elected after hurling the insults, defaming his foes, and lying virtually daily is in itself a stunning testimony to the national mood — which Trump managed to mine.

Peter Wehner’s essay, though, is worth reading. It reminds us — or at least it should remind us — that governance requires a depth of knowledge and an understanding of history that the 45th president has demonstrated repeatedly that he lacks.

Just think, too, that this criticism is coming from a member of the president’s own political party.

Oh, and then the transgender ban takes hold

The president is still looking for a problem to apply in need of a solution.

Donald Trump’s “solution” is to ban transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military. The problem? Someone will have to explain that one to me, because I don’t believe a problem exists.

On a day when Texas is facing a catastrophic hurricane, the president pardons a highly controversial former Arizona sheriff, Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of disobeying a federal judge’s lawful order.

He also issued a directive to institute a transgender ban for the armed forces.

Holy moly, Mr. President!

The transgender ban — along with the Arpaio pardon — are initiatives aimed at appealing to the 35 percent of Americans who still think Trump is doing a good job as president. The rest of us? Trump doesn’t care what we think. Nor does he care that the transgender ban effectively removes a patriotic cadre of Americans who are dedicated to serving in the nation’s armed forces — something, I feel compelled to note with emphasis, that Trump never did.

When the president first announced his intention to issue the ban on transgender Americans serving in the military, he said something about the supposedly large medical costs associated with transgender Americans. It was noted at the time that the military spends many times more on Viagra prescriptions than it does on the transgender issue.

The president once more has disgraced himself and his high office.