Tag Archives: White House

‘A Warning’ paints dire picture of Trump White House

I haven’t decided whether I will read “A Warning,” a book written by someone known only as Anonymous.

That said, I am interested in the contents of the book, some excerpts of which have been obtained by The Washington Post. My reluctance in buying the book and reading all of it is my concern that someone with the kind of salacious detail about Donald Trump hasn’t found the courage to identify himself or herself to the public.

I dislike text written by anonymous authors.

OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, what I have seen in the Post’s article about the book sends chills up my spine. It does seem to confirm what I and many millions of others have believed from the get-go of this man’s presidency: Donald Trump is unfit for the office.

Anonymous writes that a large number of senior aides contemplated resigning en masse to protest the president’s behavior and his handling of policy matters.

According to the Post: “I have decided to publish this anonymously because this debate is not about me,” the author writes. “It is about us. It is about how we want the presidency to reflect our country, and that is where the discussion should center. Some will call this ‘cowardice.’ My feelings are not hurt by the accusation. Nor am I unprepared to attach my name to criticism of President Trump. I may do so, in due course.”

The author does tell about Trump’s intellectual shallowness, his lack of attention to any sort of detail, his absolute absence of curiosity about the nitty-gritty of policy. The writer says Trump operates solely from within his gut and hunch and surrounds himself exclusively with sycophants who are unwilling to tell the president the truth.

It paints an utterly ghastly future for a second Trump term if hell freezes over and he gets re-elected a year from now.

From what I have heard so far from Anonymous, my skin is crawling at the prospect.

Beto wipes out on wave he hoped would win the White House

Beto O’Rourke rode a huge wave to a near win in a 2018 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Texas.

Then the former El Paso congressman decided he would ride that wave in search of a bigger prize: the White House.

Today, though, he called it quits. He is no longer running for president of the United States. Indeed, O’Rourke never quite caught the same wave that excited so many Democrats in Texas and for a time got ’em pumped up in many other parts of the country.

I’ll admit to being disappointed. I had hoped to cast my ballot for O’Rourke once the Democratic Party primary parade marched its way toward Texas. However, O’Rourke never quite ignited the same level of interest in his presidential campaign that he did while he challenged Sen. Ted Cruz a year ago.

Oh, I wanted him to win the Senate seat in the worst way. He campaigned in all of Texas’s 254 counties. He took his message to progressive bastions such as Travis, Dallas and Bexar counties as well as conservative strongholds in the Panhandle, the Permian Basin and Deep East Texas.

O’Rourke finished Election Night 2018 less than 3 percent short of victory. In Texas, that constituted some sort of “moral victory” for Democrats who have lusted for a statewide election victory for more than two decades.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be as O’Rourke sought his party’s presidential nomination.

There might be another elected office in O’Rourke’s future. Just not this next year.

Nice try, Beto. Many of us still want to see you stay in the game, even if you’re no longer a candidate for public office.

Who needs a chief of staff, right, Mr. President? Well, you do!

News that White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney was kept out of the loop regarding the mission to kill Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi illustrates a fundamental failure of Donald Trump’s masquerading as president of the United States.

It shows how the absence of any public service or political knowledge in Trump’s pre-presidential background has disserved him and, worse, the nation.

Trump doesn’t seem to appreciate the value of a strong White House chief of staff. He calls the shots himself. He relies on no one to provide him with candid advice. He hires chiefs of staff and then ignores them, sends them to the back of the room, dismisses them with impunity.

That is the fate that has befallen Mulvaney, the “acting” chief of staff who didn’t know about the Army Delta Force raid on al-Baghdadi’s compound until after it already had commenced.

It looks for all the world as if Mulvaney will get the boot. It’ll likely be soon. He’ll go back home to South Carolina — where he was when he heard the news about the al-Baghdadi mission.

The question then becomes: Who in the world is willing to put up with the president’s ignorance about government and who is willing to dismissed, disrespected and disparaged the way Trump has done to Mick Mulvaney?

Let’s all keep our eyes peeled to Donald Trump’s Twitter account. An announcement is likely to be forthcoming.

Now it’s Mick Mulvaney who’s on the Trump Bubble

This is hardly a flash, but it looks for all the world as if “acting” White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney is heading for the exit.

It turns out that Donald Trump chose to keep his chief of staff in the dark prior to the launching of the most important military mission of his presidency: the killing of Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Mulvaney reportedly as at home in South Carolina when Trump tweeted the message: “Something very big has just happened.” Mulvaney then was brought up to speed as the mission was commencing.

What is so odd and frightening about this revelation is that White House chiefs of staff normally are part of the national security team that meets to discuss such operations prior to their being launched. Not so with Mulvaney.

Andy Card, chief of staff for President Bush 43, said he is “baffled” by Mulvaney being left out of the planning of such an event.

Mulvaney’s “acting” status has been in place since he took the job after John Kelly departed at the start of this year. Then he held that disastrous White House press briefing a couple of weeks ago in which he admitted that Trump asked for a political favor from the head of a foreign government, telling the media and others to “get over it.” 

So, the guy who once ran the Office of Management Budget only to step into the snake pit known as the White House is likely on his way out. Just think that this is payback for the guy who famously said when he took the White House job that he intended merely to “let Trump be Trump.”

Chaos, anyone?

Obama, Clinton remind us how presidents should act and sound

I was damn near overwhelmed today as I listened to the tributes that poured forth for the memory of the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings.

I want to mention specifically the remarks offered by two former presidents of the United States: Barack H. Obama and Bill Clinton.

The thought was inescapable. How wonderful it was to hear two men who used to occupy the White House who could speak in cogent sentences, who could remain focused intently on an individual they were asked to honor with their words, who could avoid traipsing off into nonsensical riffs about this or that.

Presidents Obama and Clinton embody so much of what we do not have in the current president. They spoke from their heart. They talked of Cummings’ strength, which he exhibited routinely through his compassion, empathy and caring for others.

I could not help but ask myself: Could I ever imagine that kind of rhetoric coming from the mouth of Donald J. Trump? The answer is plainly obvious: Hell no!

Obama and Clinton clearly were not perfect presidents. They made mistakes. Clinton, of course, made what congressional Republicans considered to be an impeachable mistake.

These men, though, always preserved an air of dignity about themselves and their exalted office. They elevated themselves to the occasion brought to them by their position. They understood that their rhetoric mattered.

Today, they reminded us how it used to be when the president stood before the nation to speak of a political icon. They reminded us how it always should be.

What’s more, they have reminded us of what is missing in the man who has succeeded them.

Reveal yourself, ‘Anonymous’

I am likely far from the only American who is concerned about the individual known only as “Anonymous” who is about to tell us about working within the Trump administration.

Why the concern? It centers on our lack of knowledge of this person’s identity.

“Anonymous” is the individual who published that op-ed essay in the New York Times in which he or she admitted to being part of “the resistance” that was fighting against Donald Trump’s impulses that endanger the nation and those of us who live here.

Now this person is publishing a book. We still don’t know the author’s name, or the person’s standing within the White House, what he or she did or the duties he or she performed.

Back in the old days when I was editing opinion pages in Amarillo and Beaumont in Texas as well as in Oregon, I operated on a simple rule regarding anonymous submissions to the newspaper: I didn’t accept them … generally. The only circumstance might have been if the author’s life would be put in jeopardy if the public knew his or her name. During my career, I never published an anonymous letter or column in any of the pages I edited.

My standard was fairly straightforward: Readers of the publication deserved to be able to measure the words they read against those who wrote them; readers deserved to know whether the writer had an axe to grind.

That’s the case here with this book published by “Anonymous.” The NY Times editors know the author’s name, but have kept it secret. That is their prerogative. I happen to disagree with their decision.

On that score, I am — more or less — in the president’s corner. This author reportedly is going to spill a whole lot of beans about life inside the White House during the Trump years. Donald Trump won’t like what this individual has to say, or so we are being told.

Americans deserve to know who this individual is and why he or she feels compelled to speak so candidly.

No, Mick, we won’t ‘get over it’

Mick Mulvaney needs to understand something about his role as the ostensible “acting” White House chief of staff.

When he makes public statements out loud in the light of day in front of the world. he cannot take them back.

A reporter asked him this past week about whether Donald Trump sought a “quid pro quo” in withholding funds for Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden. He said everyone does it and that we all should “get over it.” Mulvaney said there always has been “politics” associated with foreign policy.

Oh, my.

No, Mick. Not true. Not quite like what we all know has occurred.

Donald Trump had that phone call with Ukraine President Volodyrmyr Zellenskiy. They talked about U.S. aid to Ukrainians fighting Russian-back rebels. Zellenskiy thanked the president for the missiles, but then Trump said he needed a “favor, though.”

He withheld the arms until Zellenskiy produced the goods on Biden, a potential 2020 presidential opponent. He sought foreign government help for his re-election.

That, right there, sits at Ground Zero of the effort to seek impeachment of the president. It is not a matter that we need to “get over.” It is a profoundly serious political act that once it is done — and impeachment by the House now appears to be a near certainty — it will stain this presidency forever.

I am not nearly convinced the Senate will evict Trump from the presidency when it receives the articles of impeachment and then conducts a trial. Too many GOP senators remain loyal to Trump, disregarding the obvious “high crimes and misdemeanors” that this president has committed.

One of them involves Ukraine and that matter about withholding military assistance in exchange for a political favor.

C’mon, Mick. Knock off the shilling for the president. You’ve been “acting” chief of staff for damn near a year. Do your job. Provide the liar in chief with the kind of stern advice that White House chiefs of staff are supposed to give the guy who hires them. If he won’t listen and if he insists on careening toward impeachment, there’s one more thing you do can do.

You can resign.

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.