Tag Archives: White House

It’s still the ‘people’s house’

I want to get something off my chest. The subject of this rant is the house in the background of a “selfie” we took with our niece and nephew.

My wife and I went to Washington, D.C., a year ago to see Andrea and Loren … and to take in some of the sights around the city. We took the train into town and walked all over creation on this hot day.

We stopped in front of the White House to snap this picture.

I want to make a quick point about the building and, oh yes, its current occupant.

This blog has been unrelenting in its criticism of Donald J. Trump, the president the president of the United States. I will continue to criticize him whenever I see fit. I’ll offer praise when he deserves it, too.

No matter the occupant, no matter his politics or his behavior or his demeanor, the White House on this day in June 2017 stood as a magnificent symbol of this great nation. It reminded me that the stature of the office of president transcends any individual who happens to occupy that office.

Later in the day, we were walking through Georgetown when we noticed the helicopter designated as Marine One as it flew past us toward the White House. I believe the president was returning at that moment from one of his getaways to Mar-a-Lago. The chopper was taking him back to the place he has derided as “a dump.” The comment offended me in the moment, as the current tenant was referring to “my” house, the “people’s house.”

Seeing Marine One fly overhead provided a treat as well, reminding me of just how cool it is to see the trappings of this great office up close in that manner.

I’m looking forward to the day when the president can treat this house with the dignity it deserves simply by carrying himself — or herself — in a dignified manner.

Do not misunderstand me. None of his has a single thing to do with the White House, the structure. It is to be admired and revered.

I am proud to be one of its owners.

Yep, Trump is a ‘joke’

There he goes again, “telling it like it is” even when it isn’t.

Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a chat the other day, discussing the president’s decision to impose steep tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

He said the imports present a “national security threat.” Trudeau took serious issue with that assertion, to which Trump said, “Didn’t you guys burn down the White House” during the War of 1812?

Um. No. They didn’t. The British set the White House on fire.

Is this another “joke” that came from the president? If so, and that’s becoming one of the throwaway responses from the White House. someone will have to tell me how the “joke” is relevant to anything.

If it is a joke, then I also will need an explanation as to how the remark is supposed to generate a laugh.

The president already has demonstrated a shocking lack of historical perspective. To his base, that doesn’t matter. He’s “telling it like it is.”

Stupid.

Sadler leaves White House … without a needed rebuke

Kelly Sadler has left her job at the White House. No one out here in Flyover Country had ever heard of her, until she popped off about Sen. John McCain in a closed-door meeting.

Bad call, Ms. Sadler.

Sen. McCain had called waterboarding “torture” and urged his Senate colleagues to reject the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA; he cited Haspel’s role in an “intensive interrogation” program. McCain knows torture, as he endured more than five years of it as a Vietnam War prisoner.

Sadler’s response? She “joked” that McCain’s criticism “doesn’t matter; he’s dying anyway.” What a knee-slapper.

She’s now gone. Donald J. Trump ordered a White House communications office revamping. Sadler is a casualty, having been shown the door.

McCain, of course, is battling a grievous illness. Sadler’s comment was totally, unequivocally out of bounds. It was tasteless and crass in the extreme.

I’m glad she’s gone. However, the president has not yet issued a public rebuke of the comment. He hasn’t yet said a word about how sorry he that a distinguished American politician was ridiculed by someone on his staff. The president has yet to say a word on McCain’s behalf or a word wishing him well as he battles brain cancer.

Oh, no. The housecleaning is aimed at plugging the leaks that made Sadler’s hideous “joke” public.

I am left, therefore, to conclude that Trump really is as heartless as other critics have concluded. A man with a heart would have told Sen. McCain he is sorry for the remark and then he would have fired — on the spot — the person who blurted it out.

Why do simple ceremonies become such hassles?

Presidents of the United States have been doing these kinds of things for, oh, about as long as anyone can remember.

Professional sports teams win championships. They get invitations to come to the White House to receive a nation’s congratulations delivered by the head of state. They have a few laughs. They take plenty of pictures. They hand the president a ceremonial jersey, usually with the name of the president and the No. 1 on the back.

That’s not how it goes with Donald J. Trump in the White House.

Oh, no. He decides to weigh in on a controversy created by young men who decide to “take a knee” to protest police brutality. The president goes on the stump and says something about team owners firing any “son of a bi***” who declines to stand for the National Anthem.

The players object. Some of them don’t want to go to the White House. The president disinvites them.

Then all hell breaks loose. Other athletes condemn the president. The White House responds. Back and forth it goes.

Good ever-lovin’ grief, man!

The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl. Most of the team accepted a White House invitation. Then most of them backed out. The White House issued a critical statement that accompanied a picture of Eagles players kneeling in prayer prior to the start of a game, but then said falsely that they were “taking a knee” out of protest.

The president has managed to turn feel-good ceremonies into a sort of political demonstration that does nothing but engender harsh feelings.

This is how you “unify” a nation? This is how you define “winning”?

It’s how I would define “presidential petulance.”

Longing for a return of this kind of collegiality

I believe I have shared this video already, but I want you to look at it again.

It speaks to a “kinder, gentler” time in Washington, D.C. A president of one political party welcomed back his immediate predecessor, a president of another party.

They unveiled official White House portraits of President Bush and first lady Laura Bush. President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama spoke of the “seamless transition” from one administration to another. They spoke of warmth and hospitality, of cooperation and collegiality.

That kind of mood is missing these days. I want it to return. Perhaps one day it will.

Enjoy this video. It tells me that political opponents need not be enemies. That love of country transcends the partisan divide.

Honest. It does.

Wishing success for the country … as always

I have been grappling with conflicting emotions ever since, oh, Jan. 20, 2017 — the day Donald John Trump took office as president of the United States.

You know, without a shadow of a doubt, about my feelings of him as president. He is unfit for the office at almost every level imaginable, in my view at least. However, he was elected to the office under the rules provided by the U.S. Constitution. I don’t quibble with that. Not for a moment.

Do I wish him success? Well, yes. But only grudgingly.

The better question might be: Do I wish the nation success? Yes. Without any malice at all.

Where is the disconnect? It probably rests in Trump’s penchant for gracelessness when the moments demand grace and class.

When good economic news presents itself, the president is prone to boast out loud, taking all the credit for himself and never giving credit to anyone else, such as — oh, let me think — his predecessor for leaving the nation in much better economic health than he found it eight years earlier.

Trump stands on the cusp of achieving possibly a monumental breakthrough with an enemy of the United States. He’ll meet next month in Singapore with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un. It will be the first face-to-face meeting between U.S. and North Korean heads of state.

Do I wish, hope and pray for a positive outcome? Do I hope that Kim agrees to de-nuke the Korean Peninsula? Do I want the nations to forge a “normal diplomatic relationship”? Of course I do. I want the nation to succeed.

Trump, though, is likely — as he has demonstrated so many times in the past — to piddle all over the good feelings that should come from a successful U.S.-North Korea summit. How will he handle it? Will he boast that none of this would have been possible with anyone other than him at the helm?

I remain adamantly opposed the idea of Donald Trump serving as president of my country. That opposition is unlikely to dissipate any time soon — if ever!

However, I always want the nation to prosper, to succeed, to continue its march along its path of greatness.

Yes, even with Donald John Trump as president.

Hannity needs a new gig: How about WH adviser?

Sean Hannity is crossing a serious line that is supposed to separate the media from those on whom they report and provide commentary.

The Fox News host reportedly talks regularly with Donald John Trump, as in nightly after his TV talk show. The president is a big fan of Hannity, who’s been a stalwart defender of the president throughout his entry into public life as a candidate for high office and then an occupier of it.

I have argued that Hannity isn’t a journalist in the sense of the word we normally associate with it. He isn’t trained in the craft. He dropped out of two colleges. He has been a staple of conservative media for many years, owing to his gift of gab.

I have an idea for Hannity to ponder. Give up the Fox gig and ask your pal the POTUS if he has something for you to do at the White House. He doesn’t have a communications director. The last one, Hope Hicks, quit. I figure that Hannity is at least as qualified as the previous two communications chiefs, Hicks and The Mooch — aka Anthony Scaramucci.

Hannity already has been outed as a secret “client” of one of Trump’s lawyers, Michael Cohen. Yeah, yeah, I know: Hannity says he wasn’t an actual “client” of Cohen, that they discussed real estate issues or some other nonsense. But he does have a relationship with him and he failed to disclose that relationship while he took up the cudgel in Cohen’s defense while also defending Cohen’s other client, Donald Trump.

But if the reports are true of Hannity’s cozy relationship with the president — that he might be discussing policy issues with him and perhaps even briefing the Big Man on what he ought to say about this and/or that — then quit the pretense.

Ask Trump for a job. I’d bet real American money he would find one for you. Fox won’t have any trouble finding someone to replace you on the air.

‘Optics’ keep getting in the way

UPDATE — I’ve been advised that I made a mistake regarding this picture. I wrote below that it was taken at a White House function to honor the mothers and spouses of those serving in the military. It was taken in late April at the Joint Armed Forces of Washington Luncheon. The White House did not plan this event. I offer my sincere apology and regret.

***

This picture showed up on social media today and, once again, we find ourselves out here in cyberworld wondering about the optics of an event involving the White House.

The message atop the picture asks a point-blank question. Anyone with any sort of discernment skills knows the answer. There is a decided absence of “women of color.”

First lady Melania Trump played host to military moms this weekend in honor of Mother’s Day. You don’t have to squint too hard to notice how, um, pale the gaggle of women appears to be.

I take nothing at all away from the service these women are performing as their sons and daughters, and their husbands, are defending the nation we all love. I wish them all nothing but the safe return of their children and spouses, many of whom likely are serving in harm’s way as we all get ready to shower the women in our lives with love, gifts and a nice meal.

But for crying out loud! Can’t we get past the questions about racial insensitivity that keep dogging the Donald J. Trump administration. The president has told us he is the “least racist person you’ll ever know.”

Really, Mr. President? How can believe that when pictures such as this one seem to suggest or imply something else.

You know what they say about “perception becoming reality.”

Earth to Beijing: Taiwan is a nation, not a ‘province’

The People’s Republic of China is engaging in what the White House calls “Orwellian nonsense.”

The PRC is angry at private commercial air carriers because they refer to Taiwan as a “country.”

Oh, brother.

It’s complicated.

Taiwan broke away from China in 1949 after a bloody civil war. The communists kicked the Nationalist Party out of power. The Nationalists moved to Taiwan and set up a separate government. The PRC runs the mainland; Taiwan has taken on a new identity, although it is not recognized throughout most of the world as a sovereign state. China calls Taiwan a “renegade province” and has vowed to take it back — by force if necessary.

Believe me. It is. I’ve been to Taiwan five times since 1989. It is a country.

Thus, the White House’s criticism of the PRC is on point. As The Hill reported: “This is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Sanders also vowed that “China’s efforts to export its censorship and political correctness to Americans and the rest of the free world will be resisted.” 

“The United States strongly objects to China’s attempts to compel private firms to use specific language of a political nature in their publicly available content,” she said.

Sanders is correct to condemn China for seeking to dictate to private firms how it should refer to countries — and governments — with which they do business.

Taiwan operates in a sort of parallel universe with the rest of the world. The United States withdrew its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan — officially known as the Republic of China — in 1978. The United Nations expelled Taiwan at that time so that the PRC could join the body.

Yet, Taiwan continues to function as a de facto independent nation, although it has never officially declared its independence from the PRC. Taiwan has flourished and has become a vibrant state that functions with many of the trappings of sovereignty without the actual designation.

As for the People’s Republic of China, it need not impose its political will on private firms.

What has become of the GOP?

What would Honest Abe, Teddy Roosevelt and Ike think of what’s become of the Republican Party? If only we could ask ’em.

Above is a tweet I posted two years ago wondering about the state of today’s GOP and how it was abducted by a form of “populism” that has no real resemblance to the movement that I had grown to understand.

Donald J. Trump got elected president on a pledge to do certain things, all of which he said at the time would be “easy.”

Build a wall along our southern border? Piece of cake.

Make Mexico pay for it? No sweat.

Negotiate the “best trade deals” in U.S. history? Done deal.

Craft a new health care program? Got it.

Cut taxes for everyone? Perfecto.

And so it went. How has he done? Not too well, by my way of looking at it.

As for the “populist” angle he pursued while running for office, the president hasn’t fulfilled that promise either. He continues to hobnob at his extravagant resorts. I haven’t seen him visiting housing projects, or tour squalid neighborhoods in Appalachia.

Indeed, Housing Secretary Ben Carson recently announced a desire to triple the rent paid by low-income residents of government housing. Dr. Carson then said his idea would “incentivize” residents to improve their lot in life and get them out of housing projects.

Man, that’s just so damn populist of him. Don’t you think?

Back to my Twitter message of two years ago. What, precisely, does the Republican Party stand for these days? Does it go along merely with what the president desires, even though this president had no history of political activism — let alone political experience of any kind — before he ran for the highest office in the land?

The party of Abe, TR and Ike is now the party of Trump.

President Lincoln stood for unifying the nation; President Theodore Roosevelt was an environmental champion; President Eisenhower sought to return the nation to a peace footing after so many years of open warfare in Europe, the Pacific and in Korea.

What does Trump believe? He touts his hatred of the media, he stiffs the opposing party at every turn, he is ravaged by an endless series of controversies — and a scandal or three — and he promises to “make America great again” by bullying our allies.

I’ll give him props for one potentially huge achievement, if he can pull it off: getting North Korea to back off its nuclear program.

However, a success there doesn’t erase the rest of the nastiness that has pervaded this man’s presidency.

Abe, TR and Ike are spinning in their graves.