Tag Archives: White House

How about some more chaos and confusion at White House?

Do you want some more chaos and confusion emanating from the Donald Trump administration? Let’s try this out.

The president asserts repeatedly that he did nothing wrong when he talked with the president of Ukraine about “corruption” in Ukraine, even when he asked for a “favor, though” regarding the shipment of military hardware for Ukrainian forces fighting Russia-backed rebels. The “favor” involved some dirt that Trump wanted on Joe Biden, who might be a 2020 opponent in the presidential election. Ukraine would get the equipment if it delivered the goods to Trump’s re-election team.

Then we hear from the acting White House chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, who declares that, yes, the president withheld the arms for political purposes. Then he tells the nation, while standing in the White House press room, to “Get over it.”

What? You mean the chief of staff of the White House has admitted that Donald Trump broke the law? That he violated his presidential oath? That he has committed an offense for which he can be impeached by the House of Representatives?

Reporters gave Mulvaney several chances to take it back. He didn’t. He insisted that was the essence of the phone call Trump had with the Ukrainian president, Volodormyr Zellenskiy.

Oops!

Now he has sought to walk it back. He said his remarks were “misconstrued.” Mulvaney has actually sought to take back what the entire nation heard him say. It’s as if he is saying we all need hearing aids. You didn’t really hear him say what he said.

The White House team is scrambling. They were stunned, bumfuzzled by what the chief of staff said. They couldn’t believe it either in real time, which makes Mulvaney’s effort to erase the record as ridiculous as it looks.

He said it. As it is declared on occasion: You cannot unhonk the horn.

Do not worry about U.S. government’s strength

Donald Trump can boast all he wants about how impeachment is “good” for his re-election chances and for the Republican Party. The truth has to be that in his private moments he is worried to the max.

To be candid, so am I. So should the rest of the country be worried about the course on which this man’s presidency is about to take.

It’s about impeachment, man!

The House of Representatives has taken on this task three times in the nation’s history: Presidents Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton all have traveled down this perilous path.

Johnson and Clinton both were impeached and acquitted in Senate trials; President Johnson survived by a single Senate vote, by the way. Nixon quit the presidency as the House Judiciary Committee submitted articles of impeachment to the full House of Representatives.

Now it well might be Donald Trump’s turn.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed sadness at what she has announced, that the House will launch a full “impeachment inquiry.” Yes, she should be sad. So should the rest of us, even those of us who out here who detest the man who occupies the office we hold so dear.

He has denigrated, defaced and disgraced the office. He has insulted our allies, stood shoulder to shoulder with some of our international opponents, some of whom are dictators/killers/tyrants. His behavior has been reprehensible.

Now we hear reports that he allegedly sought a foreign government’s help in bringing down one of his political foes at home.

Is this the kind of thing that gives anyone joy? Are we supposed to cheer the prospect of the House traipsing down the impeachment path? Hah! No. We aren’t.

We should be sad. We should be worried.

I don’t worry about our system of government. Our nation’s founders crafted a system built to withstand this kind of tumult and turbulence. Indeed, as President Ford told us during his inaugural address moments after being sworn in after President Nixon left the White House for the final time, “Our Constitution works.”

If the House proceeds with impeachment, the burden then falls on the Senate to conduct a trial.

Therein rests what I consider to be where this matter could derail. Republican senators who comprise a Senate majority do not appear at this moment ready to join their Democratic colleagues in convicting the president of “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

This will play out over time. It will get ugly. It will soil and sully our system of government and our politics.

It will sadden all of us as we await an outcome. However, I will argue that we shouldn’t worry about the strength of the government system under which this drama will unfold.

It’s strictly personal, Mr. President

There is no nice way to say this, Mr. President, so I’ll just blurt it out.

My loathing of your presidency is a product of my feelings toward you. It’s personal, Mr. President.

You’ve enacted several policy positions with which I disagree. Your rolling back of clean air and water requirements, for example. Your decision to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military — which you avoided doing during the Vietnam War — is another. Your insistence on repealing the Affordable Care Act when some tinkering would suffice is yet another. I could go on. I won’t.

No, Mr. President, it’s almost exclusively personal with me. It’s visceral. I feel it in my gut.

I felt that way when you and Melania rode down that escalator at Trump Tower, when you announced your presidential candidacy, and then trashed Mexicans as rapists, murderers and assorted other felons was too much for me right out of the chute.

Your entire adult life has been geared toward self-enrichment. You didn’t have a single moment of public service on your resume. Your behavior is well-chronicled: the cheating — alleged and acknowledged — on all three of your wives; the hideous videos of you at professional wrestling matches; the “Access Hollywood” interview.

Hey, I’m only touching on the matters that come to my mind in the moment.

Your conduct as president has been nearly as hideous. Your trashing of our allies. Your denigration of our intelligence analysts who say the Russians interfered in our election. Your standing behind dictators such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and an assortment of other tin horn tyrants around the world.

Of course, there’s also the serial lying. You cannot tell the truth. You are pathological. Your lying knows no bounds. You lie when you need not lie.

And I cannot let pass your repeated denigration of a legitimate war hero, the late John McCain, who fought, suffered and nearly died during the Vietnam War. He resisted his captors valiantly and you had the unmitigated gall to say he was a “hero only because he was captured.” You sickened me with that statement, Mr. President.

For that matter, you continue to sicken me every moment you serve as our head of state/commander in chief.

I just had to get this off my chest. I know it won’t do a damn bit of good. You likely won’t see these words. Some of your supporters will and they might give me grief for expressing myself in this manner.

Too bad. I want you out of office at the earliest possible moment.

There. Now I feel better.

How will Donald Trump depart the presidency?

Hey, it’s worth asking: Am I the only American who wonders just how Donald Trump is going to leave the presidency, particularly if he happens to lose the 2020 election?

I wonder because of all the norms that the president has tossed into the crapper since taking office more than two years ago.

He makes policy pronouncements via Twitter; he uses the social medium to fire Cabinet officials and top executive branch leaders; he berates our allies while cozying up to our foes; he lies through his teeth on every level imaginable. You get my point.

Suppose he loses the election in 2020. What in the name of good losers is he going to do? Will he pledge to work for a smooth transition with whomever defeats him? Will he go quietly into the night to pursue a new life as a private citizen? Will he form a foundation that does good work? Will he write his memoir? Will he select a site for a presidential library?

Pardon me while I laugh out loud.

He won’t do any of that. You know it, too. He’s going to go out kicking and screaming. He’ll bitch about the election being “rigged” and he’ll launch a never-ending Twitter tirade against any and all of his foes.

President Bush 41 lost his re-election bid to Bill Clinton in 1992. He went out with class. President Carter did as well when he got clobbered in 1980 by Ronald Reagan. President Ford lost his bid for election in 1976 and became good friends with the man who beat him, Jimmy Carter.

Do you believe Donald Trump will exhibit that kind of class when he exits the White House, either in 2021 should he lose his bid for re-election or — and perish the thought — in 2025 if he manages to finish a second term as president?

I know. It’s laughable on its face.

Trump cannot be believed about anything!

This likely goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway.

Donald Trump is so manifestly untrustworthy that I no longer can believe a single word that flies out of his mouth.

Every declaration this man has made since becoming a politician in June 2015 has been fraught with falsehood. I don’t know why or how it is that it took me so long to make my own non-belief declaration about the president of the United States.

I guess I’m just a bit slow on the uptake.

I’ve been saying since the moment he rode down that Trump Tower escalator to declare his presidential candidacy that Trump is unfit for the office. I based my belief in his  unfitness on a number of issues relating to his personal history, his lack of understanding of government, his behavior.

I didn’t factor in his obsession with lying.

Everything he says needs to be fact-checked. All of Trump’s proclamations need to be run through screeners. Not a single statement that comes from the POTUS can be believed.

Nothing! Zero. It’s all phony. It’s all, shall we say, “fake news.”

Here’s the rich part: The president continues to blast the media for reporting “fake news.” Do the media get everything right every single time? No. Of course not. However, the media do manage to retract stories, offer clarifications, or corrections, or make expressions of “regret” for misreporting events and statements that public figures make.

Trump, though, cannot own any single falsehood. He cannot acknowledge his lying. He must make matters worse by lying about his lies.

I am done believing a single thing Donald Trump says.

Is it really all that unbelievable?

I am having a bit of trouble wrapping my arms around this latest personnel shift within the White House.

Madeleine Westerhout no longer serves as Donald Trump’s personal secretary. Trump fired her allegedly because of remarks she made to reporters that suggested that she gets along better with the president than his own daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany.

What’s more, Westerhout told reporters that the president doesn’t like being photographed with Tiffany because he considers her to be, um, overweight. Tiffany Trump is the daughter the president produced with his second wife, Marla Maples. She keeps a low profile, out of the public eye — unlike, of course, daughter Ivanka.

OK, so Trump canned Westerhout. The president reportedly called Tiffany to assure her he didn’t say what Westerhout said he did. He told reporters that he loves Tiffany.

So, is any of that totally unbelievable? I mean, Trump does have this curiously boorish way of talking about women, even those within his own family. I believe he once said he would “date” Ivanka, but for the fact that, well … she’s his daughter. I don’t know about you, but that kind of remark gives me the creeps.

To be fair, Madeleine Westerhout shouldn’t have said those things to reporters about her boss, the president of the United States. Trump was right to let her go.

However, does anyone out there actually disbelieve the contents of all that she supposedly said?

Mr. Sam knew his place

BONHAM, Texas — The plaque pictured here offers an important civics lesson. It tells of the late Sam Rayburn’s role as speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and also as a rank-and-file member of the legislative branch of the federal government.

The great Mr. Sam said he didn’t work “under” eight presidents, but that he worked “with” them. Listen up! Pay attention!

Too many presidents over many decades have fancied themselves as bigger than their office, occupying an office bigger and more powerful and meaningful than the other two co-equal branches of government.

Yes, Donald Trump, I refer to you as well.

Rayburn served in the House with eight presidents, the first of whom was Woodrow Wilson; the last of them was John F. Kennedy. Rayburn died in November 1961.

He was the Man of the House, even when he wasn’t pounding the gavel as its speaker.

I came back to the Rayburn Library and Museum today to show my visiting brother-in-law — who is quite a student of history — this place my wife (his sister) and I visited for the first time just a few weeks ago.

I didn’t see the plaque on our first visit. I feel compelled to offer these few words as a tribute to the understanding that Speaker Rayburn had about Congress and its role as a partner in the making of laws that govern all Americans. He was a student of government and knew he was duty bound to work within the system, reaching across the partisan divide, to find common ground in search of the common good.

There is a huge lesson that needs to be learned in the present day. Donald Trump, then the Republican nominee for president, declared in the summer of 2016 that “I, alone” can repair the things that he said were ailing the country. Uh, Mr. President, good government is most definitely a team sport, requiring all branches of government — even the judiciary — to play a role in the crafting and interpretation of law.

Sam Rayburn knew what has been lost on occasion in the present day. Legislators dig in against the president, who digs in against the men and women who serve in Congress. Nothing gets done. They all seek to declare political victory, when in reality they all fail.

Given that we have only one president at a time, the onus for failure — at least in my mind — falls on the doofus in the White House at the moment.

I cannot stop thinking at this moment how the great Sam Rayburn would react to the bullying and showboating he would witness from down the street at the White House.

My guess? He wouldn’t stand for it.

Has anyone seen Barron Trump?

I am going to broach a subject that well might expose me to criticism that I am picking on a youngster who doesn’t deserve to be picked on.

Well, I am not going to pick on anyone. I am just curious about something I want to express out loud: Barron Trump, the youngest of the president’s five children, has kept an amazingly low profile while living in the most public of houses.

Do not misunderstand. I am not going to say a single critical thing about the youngster. He is the 13-year-old son of the first couple. He didn’t choose to move into the White House after his father got elected president. He’s there because Mom and Dad are there.

However, as the nation wrestles with the various policies and debates surrounding the Trump administration, I am just struck by the absence of any “optics” involving the president’s young son.

You know what I’m talking about. First couples with young children living with them in the White House often trot the kids out for photo ops. You see pictures of the president being a loving father, playing with the kids, smooching them on the forehead, acting like a dad.

Barack and Michelle Obama lived in the White House with two young daughters. We would see the Obama family on occasion at play.

George and Laura Bush’s twins were more or less grown when W. was elected president, but we saw plenty of the Bush family cavorting and carrying on at the White House.

Bill and Hillary Clinton’s daughter Chelsea grew up in the public eye as well and we saw plenty of the three of them during their eight years in the White House.

George and Barbara Bush’s family was grown, too, but the president was proud to show off all five of his children and his many grandchildren.

John F. Kennedy famously was photographed with his two young children — Caroline and John Jr. — during his brief time as president.

I hope you get my point. Barron Trump has four older siblings. Three of them — Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric — have been in the news constantly during Dad’s term in office. A healthy portion of that news coverage has been, oh, less than flattering. Tiffany, the fourth sibling, has kept out of sight, too, but then again, she doesn’t live with the first couple in our house.

As for Barron, well, the young man deserves plenty of privacy. He’s getting it. As a constituent, though, of the president I am left to wonder out loud why we don’t see any evidence of the Trumps acting like a family.

This inquiring mind wants to know.

Yep, it’s personal through and through

I want to acknowledge what I am sure is patently obvious to readers of this blog.

It is that my intense opposition to the presidency of Donald John Trump is visceral. It is rooted deep within my gut. It roils constantly as I watch the president go through each sickening day of his time in office.

I wish I could identify a specific policy or set of policies that have angered me so intensely. I cannot. The man doesn’t govern on a metric defined by policy standards, principles, a core set of values.

I am not entirely sure why I am sharing these thoughts today. Perhaps I just feel the need to get a few things off my chest.

Donald Trump’s inability to acknowledge mistakes is one thing that troubles me deeply. He told us once he never has sought forgiveness, which according to the way many of us were brought up is a fundamental tenet of Christianity; yet the evangelical movement follows this guy through the wall, over the cliff, out the window … you name it.

Trump vowed to act “presidential” once he took office. He does not do anything of the sort.

He doesn’t exhibit a scintilla of compassion, empathy, human kindness, authentic sorrow even in the face of horrific tragedy. Wildfires destroy a California town and he blames it all on Democratic politicians and their “failed” forest management policies. Mass shootings destroy the lives of innocent victims and the president doesn’t say a word about how to curb the scourge of gun violence. The Earth rumbled under the feet just recently of residents of southern California and I have yet to hear a word from the president about helping them recover from the physical damage and the emotional trauma they are suffering.

Donald Trump cannot tell the truth. His lying is incessant, relentless and pathological. He lies when he need not do so.

He uses language to define his domestic political opponents one doesn’t normally hear from presidents of the United States. He recently referred to the San Juan, Puerto Rico as a “despicable” human being. OK, so he calls a fellow American citizen despicable but still kowtows to the come-on offered by a truly despicable tyrant, Kim Jong Un. I do not get that.

Donald Trump’s presidency has been a disaster at almost every level I can conjure up. I want it to end no later than Jan. 20, 2021. I want him out of “my” house. I want him to disappear from the public stage, although I am acutely aware that is far from likely to occur no matter when he walks out of the Oval Office for the final time.

Yes, it is personal.

Bernie still singing off the same song sheet

I just have to get this off my chest: Bernie Sanders annoys me.

The independent senator from Vermont is running for president once again. He sought the Democratic Party nomination in 2016, but fell short of the delegates he needed.

He’s back in the game this year, again as a Democrat.

Why the annoyance? He is singing off the same song sheet he used in the previous election. When given free rein to talk about the issues of the day, he turns to his favorite: income inequality. 

OK, it’s not an unreasonable issue. However, the senator needs to immediately expand his list of talking points. The presidency requires its occupant to focus on a wide range of issues. The war against terror? Russia’s election interference? Syria? NATO? The future of the European Union? Trade policy? Infrastructure repair and rebuilding? Budget deficits and the national debt?

It always turns back to income inequality. All of it. It never seems to fail.

Sen. Sanders has had his day. He came up short the previous time. There now are 24 actual Democrats running for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

I know what you’re thinking. So has Joe Biden had his day. He has run twice for president already. He came up far short both times. Barack Obama selected him to serve as vice president, a task he performed well for two terms.

I just am hearing a more well-rounded, diverse and global list of issues that are driving his candidacy.

Start talking to us, Sen. Sanders, about something other than income inequality. Oh, and tell us just how we will be able to afford to send every student to college for free.