Tag Archives: Washington Post

A real-life ‘Bozo’ hurls another epithet

I suppose this was to be expected. Donald J. Trump would use Twitter to poke fun at another man’s name, which where I come from is one of those off-limits targets, right along with poking fun at someone’s appearance or their ethnic background.

The president has referred to Washington Post/Amazon owner Jeff Bezos as “Bozo.” He chides the zillionaire media mogul for being challenged by other media outlets and then, quite naturally, mentions Bezos’s divorce from his wife — and his relationship with another woman.

Wow! Kettle, meet pot . . . and vice versa!

Yep, he went there

Trump vowed he would become more “presidential” once he took office. He hasn’t. I’m going to remain silent on that aspect of this individual’s presidency.

However, for this serial philanderer whose own name has been butchered and bastardized by critics to say anything critical of another man, well, it’s the kind of thing only a Bozo would do.

If only Trump were ‘good’ at lying; he isn’t

Donald Trump is setting some sort of unofficial record for lying, prevarication, misstatements muttered, uttered and sputtered from the White House.

One of his more recent, um, lies takes the cake.

The commander in chief stood before troops in Iraq the day after Christmas. He went to the war zone with his wife, Melania, and told the men and women assembled before him that they had just gotten the first pay raise in 10 years. Lie!

Then he said he fought for a 10-percent pay increase, even though others wanted to grant them a considerably smaller pay raise. Lie!

Our fighting personnel have gotten raises every year for more than three decades. As for the 10-percent raise this year, it didn’t happen. Their raise is considerably smaller than what the president described to them.

Here is what troubles me greatly: Donald Trump’s incessant barrage of falsehoods seems pointless, needless, foundationless. It is gratuitous. He lies when he doesn’t need to lie.

The Washington Post has been keeping track of the president’s lying/prevarication/misspeaking. The newspaper’s total now is past 7,500 such statements — and this is before the end of the first half of the president’s term! His lying is accelerating as well!

I should be more circumspect in calling these statements outright “lies.” To lie is to say something knowing it is false. Some critics have suggested that Trump simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about; therefore, he doesn’t necessarily purposely lie to our faces.

However, Donald Trump has told us repeatedly that he possesses a level of intelligence that few men have ever had. He knows the “best words.” He went to the “best schools.” He got the “best education.” He surrounds himself with the “best people.” Doesn’t all of that suggest to you — as it does to me — that the president should know of which he speaks when he opens his mouth?

The president is a liar. Now he’s gone before the men and women he purports to “love” and revere — our warriors in harm’s way — and lied to their faces!

Amazing.

Bolton has lost his spine

I am going to concur with Paul Begala, a former Bill Clinton political confidant and pal, who says national security adviser John Bolton has shown himself to be a coward.

Yes, Begala is a partisan. For that matter, I suppose you can argue that I am, too. Sure, I lean in the same direction as Begala, but I’ve never worked for politicians.

Begala is angry that Bolton has chosen to avoid listening to the recording of slain U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi being slaughtered by his Saudi Arabian captors, who killed him in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey.

Reporters asked Bolton why he hadn’t listen to it. He said: “Unless you speak Arabic, what are you going to get from it?”

Begala responded in an essay: A lot. You will, presumably, hear struggle. You will hear beating, according to a Turkish newspaper, citing Turkish security sources. You will hear torture. You will hear an innocent man’s final, desperate words: “Release my arm! What do you think you are doing?” You will hear one of the alleged conspirators, who allegedly put on Khashoggi’s clothes to act as a body double, comment that “it is spooky to wear the clothes of a man whom we killed 20 minutes ago.”

Bolton didn’t want to hear that. Nor did he want to ask an interpreter to translate it for him. He said he could “read a transcript” if he could find an Arabic speaker to listen to it.

Read the essay here

Bolton’s crass and callous response defies human decency, in my humble view.

He is the national security adviser, for crying out loud! He needs to hear the screams of a journalist based in Washington, D.C., a Saudi national and a champion of political dissent. He had the temerity to insist on reforms in the land of his birth . . . and this is the response reportedly from the crown prince who allegedly ordered the man’s murder.

The CIA has determined that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s murder. The president has blown that assessment off. So, too, I guess has John Bolton, choosing to join Donald Trump in the hideous game of disparaging the nation’s intelligence experts.

Cowardly.

Trump ‘afraid’ to visit troops at war? Aw, c’mon!

Donald J. Trump has offered varying reasons for why he has yet to visit troops deployed in war zones.

He has too much to do at home. He’s too busy. He’s dealing with the so-called “witch hunt.” Then he said he doesn’t want the troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the first place.

Now comes a Washington Post item that suggests the president has a fear of harm that might come to him were he to venture into a war zone. As the Post reports: Trump has spoken privately about his fears over risks to his own life, according to a former senior White House official, who has discussed the issue with the president and spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly about Trump’s concerns.

“He’s never been interested in going,” the official said of Trump visiting troops in a combat zone, citing conversations with the president. “He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him.”

Come on, will ya? Didn’t the president say he would be willing to rush into a school where a shooter was gunning down innocent victims? He said that after the Parkland, Fla., massacre.

Hey, the president is fearless. That’s what he has told us!

Wait for the discrediting campaign to commence

It’ll come, of that I have no doubt.

Donald John Trump will seek to discredit the reporting skills of one of America’s premier journalists, who has just completed a book on the Trump administration called “Fear.”

As I noted in an earlier blog post, Bob Woodward, the author of “Fear,” is no schmuck publicity hound. He is a reporter who has become legendary for his meticulousness, for the thoroughness of his reporting.

He won a Pulitzer Prize back in the 1970s after he and Washington Post partner Carl Bernstein reported on the White House’s involvement in the Watergate office break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

Then we hear this remarkable recording of Woodward talking to Donald Trump, telling the president of the effort he made to talk to the president prior to the completion of the book.

I know for certain there will be complaints that Woodward is doing the dirty work for Democratic Party operatives. Hmm. So, um, fascinating, given that Woodward’s history shows him leaning Republican … although his politics has never tainted the quality of his reporting for the Washington Post.

“Fear” follows a trend of earlier tell-all books about the Trump administration. Former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman speaks to the chaos within the West Wing, as does David Woolf’s earlier publication.

One can challenge the credibility of Newman and Woolf. It would constitute a serious mistake to do the same thing to Bob Woodward.

The man is a pro. He’s a careful craftsman who for decades has brought honor to his profession.

My gut tells me Bob Woodward has done so yet again with “Fear.”

Bernstein: ‘Worse than Watergate’

Carl Bernstein knows a serious political scandal when he sees one.

The veteran journalist had a front-row seat as the Watergate scandal unfolded in 1972 through much of 1974. His work for the Washington Post in tandem with fellow reporter Bob Woodward uncovered a constitutional crisis that eventually brought down President Richard Nixon.

So, when Bernstein asserts that the current troubles involving Donald Trump are “worse than Watergate,” I tend to take notice.

I will concede immediately that Bernstein is no fan of Trump. Indeed, he came from a family of radical left-leaning political activists. I recognize his bias.

However, he is able to apply some serious analytical thinking to these two events. His view about Trump’s handling of the Russia matter means a lot to me.

The Hill reports: “I think it’s time to recognize that what we are watching in the Trump presidency is worse than Watergate,” Bernstein told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “It’s worse than Watergate, as I say, because the system worked in Watergate.”

“The heroes of Watergate were Republicans who demanded that the president be held accountable, who demanded that he be transparent, who demanded to know what did the president know and when did he know it, and who conducted bipartisan investigation that led, in fact, to understanding and finding out what Nixon had done,” he continued. “Whereas the Republicans on Capitol Hill thus far, have done almost everything they can to impede and undermine legitimate investigation.”

The “legitimate investigation” seeks to find out whether the Trump presidential campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system and whether there is a demonstrable obstruction of justice. The president calls it a “witch hunt,” and his GOP allies have sought to derail the investigation headed by a man — Robert Mueller — who was hailed universally as a man of principle when the Justice Department appointed him to be special counsel.

Republicans say something different about Mueller as he continues to tighten the circle around Trump, the White House and key members of his presidential campaign.

I guess my question goes like this: Are there any Republican “heroes” going to emerge?

Are we entering Watergate 2.0?

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m beginning to sense a certain frenzy developing around the White House that — if memory serves — resembles the climate that fell over the place during the Watergate scandal.

Yes, Watergate happened a long time ago. President Nixon resigned on Aug. 9, 1974 just as he was about to be impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. As Carl Bernstein — one of the Washington Post reporters who covered the story — noted the other day, the “real heroes” of the Watergate saga turned out to be congressional Republicans — led by Sen. Barry Goldwater — who told the president he had no Senate support were the impeachment to go to trial.

That kind of “heroism” is missing at the moment.

Still, my sense is that there is a growing tension beginning to develop in Washington, on Capitol Hill and the White House as special counsel Robert Mueller continues his work to determine if there was any “collusion” between the Trump campaign team and Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016.

I am in no position to know how this case will conclude. It well might end with Mueller saying, “I got nothin’, folks” — which I doubt will happen. He might recommend criminal proceedings against key White House aides, maybe even the president himself.

Or … he could scold the president and his team and leave all the political consequences up to the House of Representatives and the Senate.

However, those of us of a certain age — such as Americans, like me, who came of age politically during the Watergate era — might be feeling a bit of deja vu as we watch the current White House writhe and squirm as the special counsel goes about his complicated task.

I know I am.

‘Our Constitution works …’

No one can predict how the current tumult involving Donald Trump, the investigation into his 2016 presidential campaign and the insult onslaught that is being hurled at the special counsel conducting the investigation.

However it ends, I take heart in a statement that came from the newly sworn-in 38th president of the United States.

“Our Constitution works,” declared President Gerald R. Ford moments after taking office on Aug. 9, 1974. “Our great republic is a government of laws, not of men,” the president said.

The 45th president is up to his armpits, his eyeballs, perhaps even his comb-over in a probe that is seeking to determine whether his 2016 campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral process. Special counsel Robert Mueller is no fool. He’s not a hack. He is a dedicated professional who once led the FBI. However, the president has launched a full frontal assault on Mueller, seeking to discredit an honorable man and a dedicated public servant.

I don’t know what he’ll conclude when this process ends. Whether he recommends criminal prosecution of senior White House advisers or even the president himself, or decides there’s nothing there, then I will accept whatever he determines.

He is doing this all under the guidance of the U.S. Constitution, which as President Ford told us when he took office functions as it should.

Gerald Ford’s ascent to the presidency was unique. His predecessor, President Nixon, was forced to resign after seeking to cover up a “third rate burglary” at the Watergate office complex on June 17, 1972. One thing led to another and a pair of intrepid Washington Post reporters — Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward — peeled the layers of deception away for the nation to see for itself.

The constitutional crisis that evolved from this investigation was unprecedented in its scope. Yet the government held together.

Nixon quit the presidency. Ford — who became vice president when Spiro Agnew resigned in another scandal involving bribery — calmly took office and assumed control of the executive branch of government.

No matter how this latest controversy ends, I am taking considerable comfort in the words of wisdom offered by a president whose straightforward eloquence spoke volumes about the inherent strength of our governing document.

It held together then … and will do so now.

Listen to this former GOP leader, Republicans

Bill Frist needs to be heard and heeded.

The former U.S. Senate majority leader worries that the Republican Party he served on Capitol Hill has become something foreign, something he doesn’t recognize.

He has written an essay for the Washington Post in which he says it is imperative to let special counsel Robert Mueller to complete his investigation into whether the Donald Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 election.

Read the essay here.

Frist, a heart and lung transplant surgeon, doesn’t believe Trump’s campaign colluded with the Russians. Nor does he suggest the Senate where he served lacked partisanship. He does say that it was his belief that politicians should put patriotism above party.

He suggests that’s not the case at this moment in our history. It’s dangerous in the extreme to undermine Mueller, Frist writes: Every American should be rooting for Mueller’s success in determining precisely how Russia interfered in our fundamental democratic process. I had no illusions about the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and I have none about Putin now. Mueller’s most recent court filings indicate that Putin is seeking to meddle in this year’s elections. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray — all Trump appointees confirmed by the Republican-led Senate — have also warned of foreign interference. We should heed these warnings and empower Mueller to see his important work through to its conclusion.

The president is intent on derailing Mueller. Indeed, to the extent that Mueller is under such attack by fellow Republicans, it looks to me that Putin has succeeded in undermining our electoral process.

And please … spare me the notion that Bill Frist is a Republican In Name Only. He is no such creature.

Dr. Frist served his country with honor and distinction. Did I agree with every decision he ever made? No. However, he is speaking a fundamental truth about the deteriorating condition of our national political discourse.

Listen to this man!

As he has written: No matter who is in the White House, we Republicans must stand up for the sanctity of our democracy and the rule of law.

Mend ICE, don’t end it

I happen to agree with a former homeland security secretary who is pushing back against progressive politicians’ call to get rid of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Jeh Johnson, who ran the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama administration, said that ICE needs to be reformed. To end it completely, he said, would compromise national security, given that ICE is a law enforcement agency.

Not at all surprisingly, Donald J. Trump has said progressive politicians favor “anarchy” instead of law and order. Those who holler for an end to ICE only give the president ammo to fire at his political foes.

He is at his demagogic best when given such ammunition. Trust me on this, he has been reckless in the extreme in suggesting that anti-ICE forces actually want the country to be “overrun” by gang members, assorted criminals and anyone who wants to do us harm.

As Johnson wrote in an op-ed in the Washington Post: “Abolish ICE” makes for a good rallying cry on the left. Demanding the abolition of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency also provides President Trump with a useful weapon for bludgeoning Democrats politically. He has said as much, and a good portion of the American public will listen to him.

Read the entire Post essay here.

If there is a way to make ICE a more compassionate law enforcement agency, then let’s look for that solution rather than an outright abolition.