Tag Archives: RNC

This is a ‘smooth’ legal team?

Chris Ruddy, a friend and political ally of Donald Trump, said the president considers his legal and political to be a “smooth running machine.”

Really? Yes, really. The president’s self-delusion and lack of self-awareness has presented itself again.

Get a load of this sequence.

He sought out the legal services of former federal prosecutor and Fox News TV “contributor” Joe diGenova and his wife, Victoria Toensing. Then his lead lawyer, the guy who’s representing him in the “Russia thing” probe — John Dowd — quits, claiming that Trump doesn’t listen to his legal advice.

This weekend, moreover, Trump decided that diGenova and Toensing wouldn’t be joining his team after all. It seems they had some “conflict of interest” issues that needed to be resolved.

Oh, but the president said — via Twitter, of course — that he has no shortage of brilliant legal minds begging to join the Trump legal team to defend him against the investigation into collusion with Russians who meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

Oh … really? Honestly, Mr. President?

Who in the name of juris prudence is this guy trying to kid?

He cannot hire a good lawyer to save his life, let alone his political  backside. Nor can the president retain a national security team. He cannot fill important posts within the State Department. Washington is bursting with rumors that if White House chief of staff John Kelly quits, that the president won’t hire a new person to run the executive branch “ship of state”; Trump will do it himself.

There you go. He told the nation at the Republican National Convention that “I, alone” can solve every problem under the sun.

It is beginning to look as though he’ll get a chance to deliver on that bold bit of boastfulness.

Good luck with that, Mr. President, as you handle the controls of your “smooth-running machine.”

‘I, alone’ appears to be more than a throw-away line

Donald John Trump’s surprise announcement of a planned meeting with Kim Jong Un underscores arguably the single deepest flaw in this president’s administration.

The president said he would surround himself with the “best people” to “make America great again.”

And during the 2016 Republican National Convention he stood at the lecturn and bellowed that “I, alone” can repair the things that ail this nation.

Fast-forward to this past week. The president accepted an invitation to meet with the North Korean dictator. Who did he inform of his decision? Was it his national security team? The vice president? The, um, secretary of state? None of the above.

He freelanced this one. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the nation’s top diplomat and the man who would need to know about such a momentous event before it is announced, was kept in the dark.

Donald Trump plans to meet with Kim no later than May. They’re supposed to talk about nuclear weapons and the North Koreans’ desire to become a bona fide nuclear power. The president is having none of it.

Where, though, is the pre-meeting preparation? How is this political novice — I refer to Trump — going to approach this event? Will he listen to a single word from the likes of Tillerson, or national security adviser H.R. McMaster? How about Vice President Mike Pence, who served in Congress before being elected Indiana governor?

My definition of “best people” no doubt differs from Trump’s use of the term. However, the president has assembled a team and has charged them with implementing policies that originate in the Oval Office.

It all begs the question, at least in my mind: Will the president let the “best people” do the things they must do or will be continue to act alone, pretending to be the world’s most indispensable human being?

Trump doesn’t deserve a ‘mulligan’

This discussion, captured on this YouTube video, tells me plenty about the amazing blind spot that evangelical Christian leaders have with regard to Donald John Trump.

They are willing to give the president a “mulligan” over allegations that he fooled around with a porn star back in 2006, not long after his third wife, Melania, gave birth to the couple’s son.

As former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, said, “Shut the hell up.” Those evangelicals who have preached to us on who we should love, how to live, how to behave and who have excoriated politicians for misbehavior now want to look the other way when the president of the United States fights off allegations that he messed around with a porn queen?

Such blatant, bald-faced hypocrisy!

‘The Gun Guy’ is getting back into the game

Well, I’ll be hornswoggled.

Jerry Patterson wants his old job back. What is that? He is the former Texas land commissioner who four years ago decided against seeking a third term.

His successor is George P. Bush, the grandson and nephew of two former presidents of the United States. Patterson doesn’t think Bush has done well at the Land Office. He considers him to be too much of a politician with his eyes seemingly on grander political prizes.

So the former Texas state senator who once was known primarily for authoring the state’s concealed handgun carry legislation in 1995 is wanting to get back into the political game.

I welcome Patterson back. The former “gun guy” is going to liven the Republican Party primary if he actually takes the plunge.

I remember meeting him years ago during his time as land commissioner. I found him to be self-deprecating yet smart at the same time. I recall him mentioning how he finished “in the top 75 percent of my class at Texas A&M.” He was acutely aware that his primary legislative accomplishment — enactment of the concealed carry bill — would brand him with the “gun guy” moniker.

Those two matters endeared him immediately as someone who did not take himself as seriously as he takes his public service responsibility.

I’ve never met George P. Bush, although I do remember him speaking on behalf of “Poppy” Bush during the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston. The youngster stood at the Astrodome podium as a 16-year-old and declared “Viva Boosh!” in an appeal to Latino voters, given that his mother is an immigrant from Mexico. He brought the house down.

The next time I would see his name would be during the 2014 campaign for Texas land commissioner.

Patterson seems to be primed for a tough battle against the incumbent, according to the Texas Tribune: “Patterson has been a regular critic, recently sending an editorial contrasting the land office’s response to Hurricane Ike, when he was in charge, with his response to Harvey this year. “Harvey victims still living in tents along the coast are, at least in part, victims of a politician’s desire to look good for the next election by being a ‘small government Republican,'” Patterson wrote in what looks like a preview of his political campaign.

This could be a fascinating campaign to watch.

Go for it, Mr. Gun Guy!

Dare we say, ‘Lock him up’?

It’s difficult to feel much sympathy for retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.

He has pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the FBI about when and with whom he met with the Russian government. He faces a possible prison sentence — once he finishes cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into that “Russia thing.”

I doubt he’ll serve prison time. But that’s just me. Whether he remains free or in behind bars might depend on the quality of the goods he delivers to Mueller’s team of legal eagles.

However, Flynn now is being cast in a curious role in this probe. He stands to become the star witness for the special counsel’s office in its search for answers into whether the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign colluded with the Russian government that hacked into our 2016 presidential election process.

Here’s the juxtaposition that cannot be ignored:

Flynn stood at the podium in the summer of 2016 during the Republican National Convention and led the GOP faithful into that ghastly chant “Lock her up!” — the reference being aimed at Hillary Rodham Clinton and her use of her personal e-mail service while she was serving as secretary of state during President Obama’s first term.

I use the term “ghastly” because such conduct was totally unbecoming of a man with a distinguished military career who morphed into a leading politician’s national security adviser. Flynn, though, took the low road in that preposterous display.

Will this guy be locked up? Will he get the kind of punishment he urged for a political foe?

It’s tempting to shout “Lock him up!” I won’t do it, though.

Oh, wait! Maybe I just did.

Mr. President, what about that ‘American carnage’?

Donald J. Trump is fond of trumpeting his own real (or imagined) skills.

The night that he accepted the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, Trump proclaimed that “I, alone” can solve the nation’s problems. Then he ran a successful presidential campaign, got elected, put his hand on a Bible and took the oath of office this past January.

The brand new president then delivered a dark speech that didn’t speak to the nation’s ideals, but instead recited a grim litany of heartache and alleged failure. The only line many of us can remember from that speech goes like this: “The American carnage is going to stop … right here and right now.”

Where am I going with this?

A president who boasts that he “alone” can fix any problem needs to explain why he hasn’t stopped “the American carnage.”

Case in point: In just the past few months, we have seen nine people killed when a terrorist ran over them with a rented truck in New York City; a madman opened fire on a Las Vegas crowd, killing 59 of them; another lunatic then walked into a Sutherland Springs, Texas, church and killed 26 more people.

The American carnage that Trump said he would stop has continued.

What has been his solution to any of it? What has he proposed to protect people from gunmen or international terrorists? Has the president produced any legislative remedies? Has he articulated the need to act to stem this violence?

I know full well that presidents cannot act alone, even though the current president said he can and promised he would. And that brings me back to my point.

If Donald Trump is able to do the myriad things he has boasted he could do, then isn’t it time he delivered the goods?

The man needs to spend more time, devote more attention and deploy his self-proclaimed immense intelligence to things that really matter — and stop wasting his time tweeting about football players’ protests and whether he did enough to bail three young basketball players out of jail.

Evangelical infatuation with Trump still confuses

Someone has to explain something to me in simple language.

My question goes like this: How does Donald J. Trump continue to hold tightly onto support from the evangelical Christian community?

I ask because of a blog posted by R.G. Ratcliffe in Texas Monthly. Ratcliffe writes about a potential Republican challenger for U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz next year from an evangelical TV network executive who is angry that Cruz didn’t endorse Trump at the 2016 Republican presidential nominating convention.

The challenge might come from Bruce K. Jacobson Jr., vice president for LIFE Outreach International and an aide to James Robison, a noted televangelist.

I do not get this! Honest! It confuses me in the extreme!

Christians line up behind Trump

The president of the United States would seem to be totally anathema to the evangelical movement, given the president’s past. He has bragged about his marital infidelity; he has admitted to groping women; he never has been associated with faith-based causes or associated openly with religious organizations.

Sen. Cruz has been much friendlier to evangelical causes than Trump ever had been prior to his becoming president. Jacobson, though, holds Cruz’s non-endorsement at the RNC in 2016 against him.

As Ratcliffe writes: Cruz had signed a pledge to support the party’s nominee, Jacobson said, but then didn’t follow through at the convention. “I’m concerned about anybody who doesn’t keep their word. I’ve very concerned about that. In Texas, when we give our word, it’s our word,” Jacobson said.

If memory serves, Cruz made that pledge early in the GOP presidential primary campaign, only to be humiliated personally by Trump’s insults and lies. Trump disparaged Cruz’s wife with a cruel tweet and then suggested the senator’s father was linked somehow to the assassination of President Kennedy. Cruz called Trump an “amoral” liar, which I also happen to believe he is.

Did the eventual Republican nominee conduct himself as a “good Christian” with that kind of behavior?

I don’t know about you, but I am not at all surprised — nor displeased — that Ted Cruz chose not to “endorse” Trump at the 2016 Republican convention.

So here we are. Cruz stood on a principle of fair treatment and for that he might get a Republican Party primary challenge from an evangelical Christian leader?

Explain it to me. Please.

Why the ongoing fight with government ‘partners’?

The president of the United States traditionally is part of a team.

He leads the executive branch of government, which works hand-in-glove with the legislative branch.

That’s what tradition would dictate. Yes? No longer. The current president continues to act as though he is a one-man band, a Lone Ranger who can solve all the problems all by himself.

Donald John Trump Sr., you’ll recall, stood before the Republican Party’s nominating convention in 2016 and declared that “I, alone can solve” the myriad problems he said were plaguing the nation.

He is mistaken. On that. On damn near everything!

Trump signed a bill into law this week out of sight of TV cameras or other media. It calls for tougher sanctions against Russia — along with Iran and North Korea. Trump issued a signing statement that tore Congress a new one. He blasted lawmakers for approving the sanctions bill, saying they were undermining the president’s authority to “negotiate” with Russia. The bill prevents the president from reducing the sanctions without congressional approval. That’s no good, Trump said.

He blasted Congress for failing to enact a law that would replace the Affordable Care Act. Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t that also a presidential responsibility? Oh, wait! I almost forgot. Trump said he wouldn’t “own” the failure, even though he is now the leader of the Republican Party, which controls both chambers of Congress.

The longer Trump trudges down this road to nowhere, the more he seems intent on separating himself from the partners he needs to do anything of importance.

The Russia sanction legislation provides yet another example — as if we need any more — of the president’s utter and complete ignorance of how government is supposed to work.

Effective governance, Mr. President, is a team sport. The president cannot govern all by himself. Put another way, one cannot run one governmental branch the way one runs a business. The two things are mutually exclusive.

Mooch shows us why POTUS hired him

Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci is cast, apparently, in the same mold as the guy who has just hired him.

He’s a loud-mouthed, profane insult machine who happens to serve as communications director for an administration that is seeking desperately to change the subject from pressing matters. You know, things like possible business conflicts of interest and that “Russia thing” aka the investigation into whether Russia meddled in our 2016 presidential election.

Mooch has called White House chief of staff Reince Priebus a “f****** schizophrenic, a paranoiac.” Priebus will be gone shortly, according to Mooch.

The die was cast when Trump hired Mooch to become communications chief and then said Mooch would report directly to the president, rather than the chief of staff, which has been the custom for, oh, many decades.

Mooch took that as his cue to trash Priebus, who deserves far better than he’s getting from Mooch or Trump or, frankly, the media that cover the White House. Priebus had to know what he was getting when he accepted the job as chief of staff. The former head of the Republican National Committee has worked with grownups. It’s just that he is now surrounded in the White House by goofballs, thugs, know-nothings and rank political amateurs.

This is part of the Trump modus operandi. He has hired a profane communications chief who parrots the boss — who, in my humble view, is utterly, profoundly and glaringly unfit to be president of the United States of America.

This is what we now have in charge of the executive branch of the federal government.

Do you feel good about it? Neither do I.

Spicer quits, chaos continues

The longest-running open secret came to fruition today with the resignation of Sean Spicer as White House press secretary.

Spicer was thought to be on his way out long ago. He sealed the deal today when Donald J. Trump announced that Anthony Scaramucci would become the new White House communications director.

That meant curtains for Spicer, who reportedly disagreed vehemently with the choice.

To be candid, I am left with decidedly mixed feelings about Spicer’s departure. At one level, I had some sympathy for a press flack who was charged with defending presidential policies in front of the White House press corps. The president, though, made that job even more difficult — indeed, damn near impossible — by contradicting his own messages hourly. Spicer then was left to fend for himself as he sought to explain what the president meant to say or do.

At another level, I was dismayed that Spicer — the former press spokesman for the Republican National Committee — continued in the role for as long as he did.

Consider, too, the strange — to my ears, at least — statement by Scaramucci about Spicer’s departure. “I hope he goes on to make a tremendous amount of money,” he said. Huh? What about saluting his service to the country? Or to the president?

Then, of course, this came from the president himself, who said in a statement that Spicer will succeed, adding, “Just look at this ratings.” What the … ?

I suppose we’ll all just wait for Spicer to tell us what really went on behind the scenes in a White House known above and beyond anything else for its confusion and chaos.

Do you expect the new press flack, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and the new communications boss, to assuage media concerns about the White House’s ability to administer anything?

Neither do I.