Tag Archives: POTUS

Democrats seek to keep it simple in its impeachment strategy

U.S. House of Representatives Democrats have ripped a page out of the book that contains the saying, “Keep it simple, stupid.”

They went for just two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump. They want to impeach the president on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress accusations.

There will be no reference to the Robert Mueller III investigation into the Russia collusion/obstruction of justice matter. House Democrats chose to center on what Trump has done to merit — in their view — impeachment with regard to Ukraine.

So the House will impeach the president on accusations that he solicited a political favor from a foreign government and then stood in the way of Congress doing its constitutionally mandated duty by ordering key witnesses to ignore congressional subpoenas.

To my way of thinking those are clear and obvious grounds to impeach this president.

The House Intelligence and Judiciary committees don’t want to muddy matters up by bringing in Mueller’s report.

That’s a good call. Will it persuade Republicans in the House and Senate to see the light and do their duty to uphold the Constitution, which Trump has flouted through his impeachable offenses? Hardly.

Still, I applaud them for keeping it simple.

Let the impeachment proceed

There you have it.

U.S. House of Representatives Democrats have announced two articles of impeachment on which they will vote. One of them involves abuse of power, the other one alleges obstruction of Congress.

They are preaching to this choir out here in Donald Trump Country.

I don’t need to be convinced that Trump abused his power when he solicited a foreign government for personal political help. Nor do I need convincing that he has obstructed Congress by banning key witnesses from testifying before relevant congressional committees, ordering them to defy congressional subpoenas.

Democrats, accordingly, aren’t likely to convince their Republican colleagues in the House and Senate, who are standing behind the president, who in my mind has violated his oath of office.

The articles under consideration suggest a narrow focus. Democrats don’t want to make this process even muddier than it is already.

No one’s minds will be changed, or so it appears. Democrats want to impeach Trump. Republicans are resisting that effort.

What now? Let’s have that vote in the House before Christmas. Let’s also prepare for a trial in the Senate; and let’s get that trial completed.

Then we can proceed to a presidential election campaign, which gets to feature an incumbent president trying to wipe away the indelible stain of impeachment.

For what it’s worth, Donald Trump lost this voter the moment I watched him ride down that escalator and announce his candidacy for the nation’s highest office.

‘We’re the laughingstock of the world’

One of the many campaign mantras that Donald Trump would recite repeatedly on his way to winning the presidency in 2016 was that the United States had become “a laughingstock.”

He would bellow from campaign podiums that “We are the laughingstock of the world.” The crowds loved it. He would vow to make the world “respect” this country.

How is it working out? Not so good, I would say, were you to seek my opinion.

Trump’s recent carnival act while attending the North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in London offers a case in point. The president decided he wouldn’t tolerate the snickers and whispered jokes among fellow heads of state at the NATO conference.

So, he bolted. He came home early after canceling a press conference.

Mr. President, the world is laughing now, out loud, in public, in front of us. Donald Trump has turned us into the laughingstock he accused us of being while running for the only public office he ever has sought.

So very sad.

My sentiment … exactly

Truth be told, I couldn’t really say this any better. But I am going to weigh in nonetheless.

I get occasional comments from critics of this blog who suggest that I should respect the presidency more, that I should cease with my criticism of Donald Trump because, after all, he is the president of the United States.

I also want to disagree a bit with what this Twitter dude says. I do “refer” to Trump as “president.” What I cannot do it attach the words “President” and “Trump” together. Still, I don’t have a sufficient issue with referring to him as president.

He won the 2016 election the way you’re supposed to win it: He collected more Electoral College votes than his opponent and he won enough of them to be elected.

My problems with Trump — and they are many — deal with the way he has behaved while campaigning for president and while he has served as president.

The recent Twitter image that he sent out with his noggin photoshopped on Sylvester Stallone’s chiseled “Rocky III” body is just the latest case in point. I watch those campaign rallies where the president riffs incessantly about Hillary, the so-called “witch hunt,” Democrats in general, the so-called “fake news,” the media in general and, oh yes, impeachment. This kind of rhetoric is so very un-presidential.

That just peels the first layer of skin off the presidential onion.

The manner he uses to treat his Cabinet members, the insults he hurls at war heroes, a disabled reporter, the intelligence agencies, a Gold Star family. How does one respect the individual who behaves in such a manner?

That behavior, as I see it, doesn’t reflect negatively on the office of president. It does, however, reflect totally and exclusively on the individual who lacks any understanding of the decorum and dignity that the office requires of the individual who occupies it.

If I get pounded yet again for my statements about the president, well, bring it! “My deep respect for the nation’s highest office,” as the Twitter messenger known as @USMCLiberal notes, “is precisely the reason I show zero respect to #Trump.”

No, Mr. POTUS, you didn’t ‘beat’ your predecessor

“And then we beat Barack Hussein Obama and whatever the hell dynasty that is.”

Uh, Mr. President, I had to share that quote you blurted out in Florida last night just to remind you of the idiotic notions that fly out of your pie hole.

Mr. President, you didn’t “beat” President Obama. You never ran against him. Maybe you meant to allude to the fact that you did manage to eke out a win over the candidate he wanted to win, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, in keeping with your rhetorical carelessness and your penchant for lying, you didn’t bother to qualify that idiocy with anything approaching the truth.

Why? I am convinced as sure as I’m typing these words that you are utterly unaware of the meaning of “truth.” It is a foreign concept to you and your self-indulgence, self-aggrandizing and service only to your own self-interest.

So, when you blather something nonsensical about how you “beat Barack Hussein Obama,” we are left only to shake our heads … and hope like the dickens that you (a) are tossed out of office in the Senate trial or (b) are drummed out at the ballot box next November.

I remain hopeful that one of those things will happen.

I’ll add just this, once again: Mr. President, you make me sick.

Painful to acknowledge … but ex-VP Biden likely is finished

It hurts to say what I am about to say, but here goes.

As much as I like and admire Joseph R. Biden Jr., I am concluding that his time has past and that he is not the right man at this time to become the next president of the United States.

The former vice president remains the frontrunner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination. To be honest, I do not yet know how I will vote when the Democratic primary parade rolls into Texas in the spring. Biden’s presence on the ballot likely will complicate my choice.

I have become afflicted with a bit of “joint candidate appearance fatigue,” which means I did not watch the latest one Wednesday night. I have heard about Joe Biden’s latest gaffe, when he said he has earned the endorsement of the “only” African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate; he was referring, I presume, to former Sen. Carol Mosely-Braun … but she isn’t the only one elected. The other African-American female senator stood on the podium along with Biden; her name is Kamala Harris.

This kind of stumble-bum rhetoric is grating on me. I don’t doubt Biden’s mental acuity. I believe he remains intellectually intact. I also believe he gets too worked up, too excited, wound too tightly to offer measured and reasonable pronouncements at all times.

I believe Democrats should nominate someone on what I would describe as the center-left portion of the spectrum. That would be Biden. Except that he keeps tripping over his own tongue. I do not want that in the next president.

I once posited that Democrats need to look for a newcomer, someone who jumps out of the tall grass, someone no one had heard of before the start of the current election cycle. That someone also should stand toward the center, but lean a bit left.

The individual who seems to fit that bill is Pete Buttigieg. He is intellectually sharp; he is a political moderate; he has executive experience as the mayor of a smallish American city; he is veteran who has served in a war zone.

I don’t want a flaming lefty. I don’t want a socialist, or a “democratic socialist” or someone who is trying to make some sort of a statement to be nominated and then elected. Nor do I want yet another billionaire business mogul.

We have a long road to travel. There will be plenty of twists, turns perhaps even a crackup or two along the way.

Perhaps the former veep can pull it together. However, the seeds of doubt are beginning to sprout.

Has the POTUS added another impeachable offense?

Good grief! All the president of the United States had to do with sit back along with many millions of the rest of us and listen to what this former ambassador had to say in response to questions from the House Intelligence Committee.

Did he do that? Oh, no! Donald J. Trump instead decided to unlimber his Twitter fingers and insult and denigrate Marie Yovanovitch while she was in the middle of her congressional testimony.

The tweet that Trump fired off prompted Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to stop the testimony and read the president’s message out loud and into the record.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” Trump tweeted. “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

As we used to say in high school, “No sh**, Sherlock!” Of course it is a president’s right to appoint ambassadors. It’s also within his right to fire them. The question at hand, though, as it regards this former envoy is: Why did you choose to insult her publicly and demean her before dropping the hammer?

Now we hear that the president, in the minds of some on Capitol Hill, might have added witness intimidation to the list of offenses for which he is likely to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

Trump defended his tweet saying he has the right of “freedom of speech” afforded to all Americans. Well, yeah, sure he does. However, he happens to the president of the United States who is being investigated for allegations that are likely to lead to his impeachment.

Therefore, does the president of the United States have the freedom to say whatever the hell he wants? I guess he does … if he has some sort of political death wish!

This guy, Donald Trump, is out of control. He needs to go!

Day One proved more eventful than some of us expected

The first day of public hearings into the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry could have turned into a snoozer.

It didn’t. Far from it. The daylong testimony was riveting on a couple of levels.

On one level we got to hear from the mouths directly of two career public servants about the things they said in private to the House Intelligence Committee. Their public testimony was as damaging as what we were led to believe their private testimony had been.

William Taylor is the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine; George West is a deputy secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. They were strong. They were forthright. I believe they told the truth.

They told us that Trump sought political favors from a foreign government. They said the president was more interested in digging up dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, than in rooting out corruption in Ukraine.

I believe they helped shore up the belief among many Americans that Trump has committed at least one impeachable offense. There might even be a bribery count thrown into the impeachment mix once the House of Representatives votes on the issue.

With several more days of hearings to go, the other aspect of this spectacle deals with how the Republicans on the committee and elsewhere in Congress are going to respond.

I will acknowledge my bias, but to my eyes and ears, the GOP didn’t fare as well as their Democratic colleagues. They struck out hard against Democratic motives and challenged what the witnesses saw and heard. Stunningly, they didn’t say a single word — that I heard — in defense of Donald Trump’s character. Which makes me wonder: How are they going to defend Trump against this impeachment tide?

They won’t defend their political main man. They will continue to attack, which will seek to divert our attention from the issue at hand: whether the president broke the law while violating his oath of office.

There will be more to come. This serious matter is likely to demonstrate — no matter how this drama concludes — that our Constitution does work.

‘Inappropriate’ but not ‘impeachable’?

I long have thought that Mac Thornberry was a smart man, even though I have harbored some deep personal — and largely private — objections to many of the public policy positions he has taken.

However, the Clarendon, Texas, Republican member of Congress has, um, inflicted some damage to my longstanding view of his intelligence.

Thornberry went on national TV Sunday and said that it is “inappropriate” for a president to “ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival,” But … then he said it is not “impeachable.”

Allow me to split a hair or two here.

The term “inappropriate” doesn’t necessarily equal “illegal.” However, presidents can be impeached for “inappropriate” behavior. I happen to believe, though, that Donald Trump broke the law when he sought foreign government help in investigating a political rival, Joe Biden.

I’ll stipulate that I am not a lawyer. Thornberry did earn a law degree from the University of Texas; he has called himself a “recovering lawyer.” However, I have read the Constitution, as I am sure has Thornberry. I interpret the Constitution as declaring that presidents cannot solicit foreign governments for political help. Donald Trump did that very thing in that infamous phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

So, has the president abused the power of his office? Did he commit an actual crime? I believe he has done both things. Abusing of power is impeachable; violating the law, not to mention his oath of office, certainly is impeachable.

That makes it far worse than “inappropriate,” as Thornberry has described it.

My disappointment in Thornberry is palpable. He was my congressman for more than 20 years when my wife and I lived in Amarillo. He took office the same week I arrived in Amarillo to begin my tenure as editorial page editor of the Globe-News. I had a good professional relationship with him and his staff.

He has announced he won’t seek re-election in 2020. What he does after he leaves office is a mystery to me. I wish him well. I only wish he would interpret Donald Trump’s egregious misbehavior differently than what he has expressed.

It’s clearly possible, as Thornberry has demonstrated, that people can reach vastly different conclusions while witnessing the same act. Rep. Thornberry has determined that Trump’s actions were “inappropriate,” but not “impeachable.” I believe Trump broke the law and, therefore, earned an early exit from the White House.

Past the point of no return with this POTUS

I have a declaration to make regarding the president of the United States. It doesn’t give me any joy to say this, but I must say it nonetheless.

It now appears highly unlikely that I ever will be able to put the word “President” in front of “Trump” for as long as this man occupies the nation’s highest office.

A few critics of this blog have called me on this policy I have invoked since Trump became president. They dislike my references to Trump without attaching his elected title in front of his last name.

Too bad.

Truly, though, I had hoped for a turnaround in the president’s conduct of his office. I had wanted to be able to respect the man enough to refer to him the way others have done. The media have done their part in bestowing the title in front of the president’s name. That’s their call. I am making my own call on my own blog. Why? Because I can.

Trump’s behavior since the day he announced his candidacy for president has been abysmal, deplorable, reprehensible, disgusting, disgraceful … stop me now! The list of pejoratives is endless.

He’s going to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate will put him on trial for high crimes and misdemeanors. He stands a good chance of surviving a Senate trial only because there do not appear to be enough Senate Republicans who will muster the courage to stand for the rule of law and vote to convict him of the charges the House impeachment articles will bring.

The backdrop for all of this is unique. Trump will be the first president to be impeached who is facing a re-election campaign. No one can predict with any certainty how the election will turn out when the votes are counted on Nov. 3, 2020.

As much as I wanted it to be different, I must declare that Donald John Trump Sr. has crossed a proverbial line of demarcation. I just do not see an instance that in the foreseeable future that will allow me to speak of this man the way I have spoken about other presidents with whom I have disagreed.

Presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush 41 and 43 all conducted themselves with dignity and class — even while they have endured extreme controversy and, yes, scandal.

The current president has not. He won’t change his ways. Given all that has transpired since he rode down that escalator in Trump Tower to announce his entry into political life, I cannot imagine a scenario that would allow me to use the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively.