Tag Archives: White House

Kanye West: presidential adviser?

I do not mean to denigrate Kanye West, who I guess is a pretty good rapper/singer/reality TV celebrity spouse.

But it’s fair to ask this question. Doesn’t the president of the United States have more credible experts with whom to consult on matters such as gang violence, prison reform and, oh, whatever else he and Kanye West are going to discuss at the White House?

West is going to meet with Donald Trump in the White House to talk about the big things. I guess he’s also going to get some love from Trump over the stated support that West has given to the president, which likely explains why he’s been invited to the White House in the first place.

This is the kind of publicity stunt that Trump craves. I’m sure you’ll recall how West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, ventured into the Oval Office to plead for the release of a woman who had been imprisoned wrongly for a drug violation. Trump commuted the woman’s sentence and Kardashian basked in the credit she received for making it happen.

It was a reality star-meet-reality star moment for the president, whose prior claim to fame was as the host of “Celebrity Apprentice,” yet another so-called “reality” TV series.

Now he’s welcoming Kanye West to the White House.

I don’t know about you, but there surely must be more legitimate experts with whom Trump can consult on prison reform and gang violence.

If only they would agree to meet with this president.

Hoping that ‘truth’ wins this war

Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” doesn’t plow a lot of new ground regarding Donald J. Trump’s slipshod administration.

Still, to hear a renowned print journalist declare there to be a “war against truth” within the administration has a way of getting one’s attention.

“Fear” has been published. I’m awaiting my copy via Amazon in a few days. Woodward has been making the talk-show circuit, telling interviewers that the president is waging a “war against truth.”

It is the 19th book Woodward has written. He has covered nine presidents of the United States, dating back to the Nixon administration. All the presidents from Richard Nixon forward — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama — have felt the sting of Woodward’s penchant for reporting the truth.

The current president has taken an entirely different tack when pushing back against Woodward. He calls the jounalist’s work “fiction” and has launched a campaign to discredit a man known for meticulous reporting techniques. He produces multiple sources and stands squarely behind his reporting.

Time to ‘wake up’

I continue to believe the reporter more than I believe the president, a man known as a serial liar who appears genetically wired to prevaricate … even when the truth stands in the way.

Woodward said his former boss at the Washington Post, the late Ben Bradlee, used to live by the credo that “the truth will emerge” no matter what.

I’ll maintain the faith that the truth will emerge even as the president seeks to deny its existence.

Trump vs. Woodward: My money is on the journalist

If I had to pick which man — Donald J. Trump or Bob Woodward — is more credible, believable, truthful and trustworthy, I am going to go with Woodward every day of the week …  and twice on Sunday.

Woodward’s 19th book, “Fear,” was released today on the 17th year commemorating the 9/11 terror attack. It tells a stark story of dysfunction within the Trump White House operation. It speaks to attempts to prevent the president from acting on his more dangerous impulses.

Trump has blasted Woodward. So have many of his top aides, senior advisers, Cabinet hands. I’m interested in the lack of specificity regarding the criticism.

Woodward’s history as a journalist — dating back to the Watergate era that he covered along with his Washington Post reporting partner Carl Bernstein — reveals a journalist who takes meticulous care to ensure he reports the truth.

White House steps up attacks

I am sitting out here in the peanut gallery; I am aware that I am far from the fracas. However, Woodward’s reporting techniques have served well enough for him over the course of more than four decades. He has achieved iconic status for a good reason. The man does a thorough job of ensuring the veracity of whatever story he is seeking to tell.

Trump? His record of veracity?

Umm. Not so good. Not nearly so reliable.

For the president to challenge the reputation of a legendary print journalist, thus, is laughable on its face.

Except that none of it is funny.

When have we ever discussed presidential fitness?

I’ve been walking along this Earth for a lot of years. I’ve been watching politics for most of my life. For the life of me I cannot remember a national discussion that comes close to mirroring what we’re hearing at this time about the fitness of the man who serves as president of the United States.

We didn’t hear it at this level when President Nixon was mired in the Watergate scandal. We didn’t hear it in 1984 when President Reagan stumbled in his first debate with Walter Mondale, only to say at the second debate that he wouldn’t “exploit for political purposes my opponent’s youth and inexperience.”

These days, the discussion has turned to Donald J. Trump’s actual fitness for the job. There’s open discussion about invoking a constitutional amendment that would strip the president of his powers. There is talk among White House aides about the president’s “impulses” and whether this man has the capacity to understand the myriad complexities of his high office.

Am I missing something? I just don’t recall ever having this discussion at any time, at any level with our previous presidents.

And yet, here we are.

The White House is pushing back. Trump allies say the president is fully capable. They say he’s engaged in the nuance of policy. They’re condemning the “gutless coward” who wrote that anonymous op-ed published in The New York Times, the essay that talks about the theft of memos from Trump’s desk and the effort to protect the nation against the president’s more dangerous instincts.

Yes, Trump promised he would be an “unconventional president.”

Boy, howdy! The man has delivered on that promise.


‘Well-oiled machine’ needs serious lube job

Donald John Trump’s delusions keep mounting up.

Take what he said again this weekend, that the White House is “well-oiled.” It’s all going swimmingly, according to the president. No worries at all. The executive branch is functioning precisely as it should and the president — he hastens to add — is doing more than any president in history.

A new book, “Fear,” written by legendary Washington journalist Bob Woodward, tells a different story. And, oh yes, there’s that now-infamous anonymous essay published in The New York Times that tells essentially the same tale that Woodward has laid out.

And that is? The White House is rife with chaos. Staff members are in near-panic mode. The president cannot be trusted to make the right decisions every time.

Donald Trump says it’s all a ruse. He said Woodward has made up all the things he reports in “Fear.” The mystery essayist is a “coward” who faces a Justice Department investigation, according to Trump.

That is the sign of a well-oiled machine running the executive branch of the federal government? Hardly, man. It’s the sign of a White House and a president with a shallow bench that cannot fill key posts.

Yep. The White House is in serious disarray.

The anonymous essay doesn’t tell us much new about the White House operation, say observers in Washington, D.C. As for the Woodward book, it, too, tells of a chaotic atmosphere.

Trump can believe what he says, I suppose. What galls me and perhaps millions of other Americans is that he expects others to believe what he says as well.

I do not believe him. The White House has become something just short of a loony bin.

Anonymity produces courage

A mentor of mine, a fellow who gave me my first job in daily journalism, once said that newspaper readers have the right to judge what people said in opinion pieces against those who write them.

In other words, anonymity was a non-starter.

So, the New York Times today has just upset that norm. It has published an op-ed column by a “senior White House official” that declares that the White House staff’s first order of business is to protect the nation from Donald Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

Are we now going to dismiss this officials dire warning merely because he or she didn’t put a name on the piece that the NY Times has just published?

I’m not ready to do that.

Read the essay here.

Over the years I edited opinion pages in Oregon and in Texas, I rejected many requests for anonymity. Most people who wanted me to shield their identity was because they would be embarrassed by what they had to say. That wasn’t good enough. I usually didn’t hesitate telling them so. Yes, there are exceptions: rape or incest victims come to mind; I didn’t get any such requests during my nearly four decades in journalism.

The individual who has written this piece for the NYT appears to be motivated by a high calling. This individual doesn’t want to lose his or her job and believes that staying on the job is vital to continuing to protect the nation against the president’s nuttier notions.

Still, having said all that, I wish the individual who wrote essay this would have put a name on the essay. He or she would have lost a job, but there would be others at their respective posts who would remain faithful to the mission of protecting the United States against the president of the United States.

Think of how strange it is that we’re even having this discussion.


Waiting to read this blockbuster book

I’ll admit it. I couldn’t wait until Christmas to get a copy of “Fear,” the latest book by esteemed journalist Bob Woodward.

My son and daughter-in-law had given me a Father’s Day gift card from Amazon, which I redeemed this morning. The book will be on its way to my house once it is released on Sept. 11.

There is so much to digest, so much to ponder, according to the excerpts that have been released for public review. Here’s one tidbit, as expressed in a Twitter message put out by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.: Trump’s previous personal lawyer was convinced would commit perjury if he talked to Mueller. Let that sink in.

It is sinking in as I write this brief blog post. It gives me a much clearer understanding on why John Dowd, the aforementioned “previous personal lawyer,” turned in his resignation as Trump’s lawyer. He couldn’t represent a client who would be prone to lying, even under oath, where he swears to tell “the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

“Mueller,” of course, is Robert Mueller, the special counsel who at this moment remains up to his eyeballs in trying to determine whether the 2016 Trump campaign “colluded” with Russian goons who attacked our electoral system.

For the president’s former personal counsel to suggest he had no faith in his client’s ability to tell Mueller the truth is, um, shall we say, shocking in the extreme.

As it is frightening.

How can POTUS call anyone a liar? Really, how?

Donald J. “Liar in Chief” Trump is tossing the epithet of “liar” around a bit too loosely … if you ask me for my humble opinion.

His latest target is Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House special assistant who is alleging the president has used the n-word while discussing certain individuals.

You see, my issue here is that Trump has utterly zero moral standing to call anyone a liar. The man is the country’s pre-eminent lying politician. He cannot tell the truth. It’s impossible.

Any situation — big or small — is open to prevarication from the president.

So now he says Newman’s assertion that the future president’s use of the n-word while working on “Celebrity Apprentice” is false. He said the tape recordings that Newman alleges contain his use of the word don’t exist.

How in the name of Honest Abe am I supposed to believe a single utterance that flies out of POTUS’s pie hole?

I don’t want any misunderstanding here. Omarosa is no saint. She’s trying to sell a book. She got herself hired to work in the White House doing a job that no one has yet defined. She didn’t belong there. For all I know she well might have deserved to be fired.

But if you’re going to put her word against the Liar in Chief, well … I’m going with Omarosa.

Do we need tape recordings to prove racist view?

Omarosa Manigault Newman has dropped a few stools in the punch bowl regarding her former boss and (apparently) former friend, Donald John Trump.

She says she has heard tape recordings of the future president using the n-word to describe “Celebrity Apprentice” contestants. He account has been backed up by illusionist Penn Gillette, who says he heard Trump say it in the moment.

She’s written a book about her time as a special White House assistant, a post she left when chief of staff John Kelly fired her. Newman recorded the termination that occurred in the Situation Room, which is a serious breach of national security protocol. That, however, is a whole other story.

But I have to ask: Do we really need to hear these recordings to verify what has been virtually obvious? I mean, consider the following.

  • Trump fomented the lie about our first African American president’s place of birth.
  • He also challenged Barack Obama’s academic credentials that admitted him to Harvard Law.
  • Trump denigrates the intelligence of U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, CNN News anchor Don Lemon and pro basketball superstar LeBron James … all prominent African American public figures.
  • The president calls NFL football players protesting police brutality — the players are virtually all black — “sons of bitches.”
  • And all the while, he declines to issue a categorical condemnation of white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis.

Does the president refer to white critics as being less than intelligent? Why in the world did he continue to promote the defamatory lie that questioned President Obama’s constitutional right to seek the presidency? And why can’t the president bring himself to condemn hate groups such as the Klan exclusively? He recently watered down such “condemnation” with that sterile “all types of racism” qualifier.

Again, I ask: Do we really need to hear these recordings to validate what many millions of Americans — including me — believe about the man who’s been elected president of the United States of America?

This individual is a racist.

Wacky, deranged? Why did you keep hiring her, Mr. POTUS?

Omarosa Manigault Newman might be all the things Donald Trump says she is: wacky and deranged, for example.

He’s angry with his former special White House assistant because she alleges the president used the n-word while he was running his TV show “Celebrity Apprentice,” where Newman first became associated with the future president of the United States.

Trump’s view of Omarosa has covered the pea patch. He has praised her and condemned her. She’s been alternately smart and sharp … and now she’s a dimwit, according to Trump.

The president now says the tapes of him using the n-word don’t exist. Omarosa says they do. Who’s telling the truth?

Hmm. Do we go with the man who’s been proven to have lied through his teeth or the woman who’s trying to sell a few books about her life and her work as a special White House assistant?

I’ll go with the former White House assistant.

What’s more, if Omarosa is as slimy and contemptible as Trump now says she is — why did he hire multiple times on his TV show before firing her and then hire as a White House special assistant?

This melodrama is a long way from its conclusion.