Tag Archives: Secret Service

Trump rattling his fellow Republicans with DHS purge

Donald Trump is on a tear through the agency formed to protect Americans against enemies of our nation.

He has fired (essentially) the secretary of homeland security, gotten rid of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, canned the Secret Service director. There are threats of more dismissals/resignations to come.

Republican senators are shaking their heads, according to Politico. Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa said she thought DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was doing a “fantastic” job.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said “It’s a mess,” referring to the border situation and the confusion and chaos at DHS.

Yep, it’s a mess, all right.

I believe that is exactly how Donald Trump prefers it.

Cohesion and smooth operation? Forget about it! Yet he calls his administration a “fine-tuned machine.” The president is not hearing the clanks and misfires from the political “engine” he has built.

I guess I’m allowed to wonder how all this tumult at Homeland Security is going to affect the agency’s ability to, um, secure the homeland.

It’s so believable that Trump would say such a thing

If only Donald Trump hadn’t built such a huge public record of personal insults.

Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for The New York Times, says he had heard from sources inside the White House that the president had mocked the appearance of Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles.

What makes it so believable? The things Trump has said out loud. Such as . . .

The time he mocked Sen. Rand Paul’s appearance during a Republican primary presidential debate in 2016; or he hung the nickname of “Little Marco” on Sen. Rubio of Florida, another GOP primary opponent; or when he mocked the appearance of yet another GOP opponent, Carly Fiorina; or the “best” one of all, when he mocked the physical disability of a NY Times reporter, Serge Kovaleski.

Three areas always should be off limits when political foes argue public policy: their respective families, their given names and their appearance.

Trump has violated two of those three axioms. Do you recall how he posted that hideous picture of Heidi Cruz, the wife of Sen. Ted Cruz, still another GOP presidential opponent?

The man lacks class. He lacks dignity. He lacks empathy. He lacks humanity.

I also should add that he lacks self-awareness.

See what I mean?

Trump mocks his appearance, then fires him . . . coincidence?

The president had soured on Alles a while ago, even making fun of his looks, calling him Dumbo because of his ears, two officials said.

That would be Randolph Alles, the soon-to-be former head of the U.S. Secret Service. The observation of Donald Trump’s view of Alles comes via Twitter from Peter Baker, chief White House correspondent for the New York Times.

OK, I happen to believe what Baker is reporting. I completely believe that the president of the United States is fully capable of exhibiting untold cruelty toward individuals. Example? Recall the time he mocked NY Times reporter Serge Kovaleski’s severe physical disability.

So now we hear that Trump (allegedly) mocked Randolph Alles, the man in charge of the agency whose most high-profile job is to protect the president and his family.

Must I remind readers of this blog who think the sun rises and sets on Donald Trump’s vacuous head that he ain’t exactly GQ material.

Would it surprise anyone that this man, the president, is systematically alienating himself from the public service professionals who put everything on the line in service to their country? To think the denigration and the disgrace comes from someone who has no clue about what it means to serve the public.

It wouldn’t surprise me.

Not in the least.

Great job, fella . . . but hit the road

This kind of thing drives me nuts when I hear about matters such as this. A public servant is fired from his or her job and the guy to whom the person reports tells us all what a “great” job he or she did.

If the person getting canned is doing a great job, wouldn’t that person keep his or her job?

They’re cleaning house

U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph “Tex” Alles is heading for the exits. Donald Trump instructed White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to fire Alles. So, he did.

Then press secretary Sarah Hucakabee Sanders said on behalf of the president that Alles had done a great job running the agency that used to be part of the Treasury Department, but has moved to the Department of Homeland Security.

DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen “resigned” effective immediately over differences with Trump on immigration policy. The president thanked her for her service. That’s it. Message received: Nielsen wasn’t cutting it at DHS, in Trump’s view.

But the Secret Service ouster appears to be part a wholesale housecleaning at DHS.

I’ve read the reports that the man/child behind the shakeup is that 30-something whiz kid/maniac Stephen Miller, who seems to believe that the president needs to get even more harsh on immigrants, legal and illegal alike.

This isn’t fun to watch, no matter the president, the party or the policy involved.

Celebrities’ comments have this way of reverberating

Johnny Depp has joined a list of celebrities with big mouths.

Depp, the movie actor, mused out loud the other day about the last time an actor assassinated a president. He seemed to suggest that’s what he wants to do, follow in the footsteps of another actor, John Wilkes Booth, who shot President Lincoln to death in April 1865.

Bad call, Johnny.

I guess what these folks need to grasp is the notion that their celebrity status not only acquires loyal followings for them, it also magnifies their idiotic statements or actions. For the record, I am not a fan of Johnny Depp.

The “comedian” Kathy Griffin? She was video recorded holding up the image of a severed head depicting that of Donald J. Trump.

The over-the-hill rocker/guitarist Ted Nugent has said a multitude of hideous things about Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now we have Depp popping off, trying to be clever. Instead he sounds stupid.

Donald Trump’s son, Don Jr., has slammed Depp. You’d expect a son to come to the defense of his father.

Depp has apologized for his idiocy. It doesn’t erase it, sad to say.

These folks are entitled to their political opinions, just as you are entitled to yours and I am to mine. I don’t know about you, but I express my opinions freely on this blog.

The difference, though, between us and those who have some kind of celebrity status is that — in my case, at least — I can sound like a dumba** and relatively few people are going to pay attention. When someone such as Johnny Depp says something stupid, then many others’ ears perk up.

That includes the Secret Service.

A word to wise ought to go to Johnny Depp and other celebs with strongly held political opinions: be circumspect.

What? No outrage over pricey Trump outings?

Wait for it. The fiscal conservatives who were so outraged over President Barack Obama’s vacation tabs are going to go ballistic over the cost to taxpayers of Donald J. Trump’s jaunts to his posh Florida estate.

Do you think they’ll cry the blues over it?

Naw. Me neither.

It’s a fascinating case of selective outrage. The current president’s outings to Mar-a-Lago have cost taxpayers nearly as much in a month as the Obamas cost in an average year of Barack Obama’s presidency.

What was outrageous is now acceptable. Isn’t that the message?

I am having difficulty understanding any of this, much as I am having difficulty understanding why Trump’s behavior has been given a pass by those who continue to hang on his every inarticulate sentence.

I should note that Trump was among those who were critical of Obama’s golf outings, his family vacations and his assorted visits to whomever and wherever away from the White House.

Judicial Watch, a conservative think tank, estimated the annual cost of Obama’s travel expense at $12 million annually. Meanwhile, the Trumps’ three visits to Florida since he became president a month ago have cost about $10 million. It’s a rough equivalence, but it’s telling nevertheless.

Still, the silence from the right about the president’s pricey travel to his resort home in Florida is deafening in the extreme.

And, what the heck: I haven’t even mentioned — until this very moment — the cost of providing Secret Service protection for the first lady and the couple’s son, who are living in Trump Tower in New York City.

Open your eyes to threats to Obama

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Michelle Malkin is one of the nation’s more fiery conservative columnists.

I don’t care for her world view, but I’ll read her essays every so often just to hyperventilate a little, oxygenate my bloodstream; it’s good for my physical health.

Today, the Amarillo Globe-News published a little ditty from Malkin that deserves a brief rejoinder. She writes about what she calls the “assassination fascination” since the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

Malkin talks about how all those meanies on the left keep saying they want to kill Trump. They’re echoing earlier meanies who said the same thing about President George W. Bush.

The only mention I could find in the column of President Obama came in a sentence in which Malkin asks why the president is silent on these idiotic pronouncement from aggrieved lefties.

http://michellemalkin.com/2016/11/22/from-kill-bush-to-assassinatetrump-the-return-of-assassination-fascination/

I’ll accept that as a good point. The president ought to condemn such talk.

However, let’s take stock of something else.

Nowhere in Malkin’s screed does she mention that Barack Obama received arguably a record number of threats against his life during his eight years in the White House. There were assassination threats being leveled constantly at the president. The Secret Service has been working diligently to examine all these threats against the current president.

Therefore, this “assassination fascination” isn’t a one-party monopoly.

I agree that such threat-making is dangerous and uncalled for. The lefties who say such things need to get a grip, take stock and understand the consequences of what they’re saying.

A columnist who launches into a partisan polemic, though, needs to understand as well that there’s plenty of guilt and blame that belongs to her side of this argument.

Why didn’t she condemn the Barack Obama haters for their equally shameful pronouncements? Oh, I know. It doesn’t fit her right-wing narrative.

Trump to ‘batch it’ at the White House

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Note: This blog post has been updated.

Melania Trump has declared that she and her son, Barron, will move into the White House after the youngster finishes his school year at his private school in New York City.

***

An interesting and somewhat puzzling development has cropped up in this transition from one president to another.

Melania Trump won’t be moving to the White House when her husband, Donald J. Trump, is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

She and the couple’s son, Barron, will remain in New York while husband/dad tends to governing the country. Why won’t she move to the White House? Mrs. Trump said she wants her son to continue attending the private school he attends near their home.

OK, I won’t challenge her parenting skills. Mrs. Trump reportedly wants to shield 10-year-old Barron from the pressures of living in the People’s House.

I do have some advice for the new first lady. She ought to get on the phone and talk once again to Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and — oh, yeah! — Hillary Rodham Clinton. What do these women have in common? They all raised young children under the glare of the White House lights.

* The Obama girls haven’t quite left the nest, but they appeared to adjust well as Mom and Dad went about the business of being the First Couple; it helped, too, that Mrs. Obama’s mother also lives in the White House. Grandma no doubt was a steadying hand for Malia and Sasha.

* The Bush girls — twins Barbara and Jenna — also have grown into successful adults after spending most of two full terms in the White House.

* Chelsea Clinton was famously protected by her parents during her father’s two terms as president. She turned out just fine, too.

If she wants to go way back, Mrs. Trump could visit with Caroline Kennedy, who lived for a time in the White House as the daughter of a president before tragedy struck on Nov. 22, 1963.

I’ll have to think more about this news for it to sink in. My reaction to learning about Melania Trump’s decision to stay in New York City, though, is that it seems to be yet another curious turn in what’s becoming a most unusual presidential transition.

And don’t you know: The Secret Service is gnashing its teeth over the measures it will take to protect Melania and Barron Trump while they’re away from the White House.

Bernie’s out … but not entirely

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Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is over.

He won’t be nominated at the party convention in Philadelphia. Hillary Rodham Clinton will get the nod and will march off to campaign against Republican nominee, who at this moment appears to be Donald J. Trump.

But …

Why does Sen. Sanders still have all those Secret Service agents shadowing him as he returns to work in the U.S. Senate?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/an-expensive-reminder-that-sanders-still-hasnt-dropped-out-his-secret-service-detail/2016/06/19/a3f717c6-3555-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html

I get that the Secret Service protection won’t break the federal bank. It does seem a bit “lavish,” though, for him to continue to have the protection.

Sure, he’s entitled to it. President Lyndon Johnson issued an executive order back in 1968 that provides this protection for presidential candidates. He acted in the wake of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s murder in Los Angeles on the night he won the California Democratic primary.

Sanders has sought to portray himself as a common man, someone who eschews big-money speaking fees.

But the presence of the Secret Service and all the bells and whistles the protection brings tells a bit of a different story.

According to the Washington Post: “There’s no denying that some of the accoutrements that come with campaigns can be intoxicating,” said Jim Manley, a longtime Democratic operative who is supporting Clinton.

Sanders won’t “suspend” his campaign because he still wants to have a say at the party convention this summer. I understand the reason for his staying in … even though his candidacy has been reduced to symbolism.

Does he still need the Secret Service protection? Really?

I think not.

It’s over, Sen. Sanders.

What a way to go, Mr. President

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STONEWALL, Texas — My wife and I came to this place expecting to be moved in some fashion.

Neither of us expected precisely what we felt when we walked up to this family plot on the sprawling LBJ ranch, which the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the National Park Service have turned into a national historic site.

The cemetery lies under a grove of live oaks. It’s got a few headstones. The tallest two grave markers belong to President Lyndon Baines Johnson and first lady Lady Bird Johnson.

It was the circumstances of the president’s death that struck me the most today as we paid our respects to the late former first couple.

My wife marveled at the peace and serenity of the place. She said — only half-jokingly, I believe — that she “wouldn’t mind” being buried there. It won’t happen, obviously.

But later on our tour of the ranch, we heard from a young guide — who admitted he was born in 1991, 28 years after LBJ’s death — about how the president was able to go out “on his own terms.”

Johnson’s presidency perhaps killed him. I remember how he had aged in the more than five years he served as president. He’d had two heart attacks already, the first one coming in 1955 when he was just 47 years of age.

The Vietnam War raged throughout his presidency — which began, of course, under the enormous weight of international tragedy, the assassination of President Kennedy.

Johnson would win election in the 1964 landslide. Then he would become the target of intense national anger over the conduct of the war he inherited from his predecessor.

He left office in January 1969 and returned to the place along the Pedernales River that formed his character.

The young guide informed us how LBJ — once he settled in back at the ranch — resumed his smoking habits, dragging on Lucky Strike; he drank too much; he ate all the foods he wasn’t supposed to eat, given his history of heart trouble.

Then, just four years and two days after leaving the White House, the fatal heart attack struck him. He phoned his Secret Service garrison the moment he felt it coming on and told them, “Get in here, boys; something bad is happening.”

He died essentially in his bedroom.

President Johnson was just 64 years old when he died. But he was an old 64.

They buried him under the live oaks about 200 yards from where he came into this world in a modest home that’s been reconstructed.

My thought as we left that place today? What a way to go, Mr. President.