Tag Archives: White House

POTUS gives foes the ammo they now need to, um, impeach

Am I allowed to change my mind, to suggest that the evidence now has reached a form of critical mass that qualifies as an “impeachable offense”?

Of course I am!

I believe it has arrived in the form of an interview that Donald Trump granted ABC News anchor George Stephanopoulos in which the president said he would accept negative information on a political foe from a foreign government.

Bingo, bango! There you have it. The president then said the “FBI director is wrong” when he said just a month ago that anyone who gets that kind of “opposition research” should report it to the FBI. How does it feel, Christopher Wray, to take a shiv straight in the back?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has been fervent in our belief that impeachment is not in the cards, at least not until there is compelling evidence of wrongdoing. Well, it might that the president has provided it that evidence with his reckless pie hole spouting off how he would do precisely what has been alleged that he did during the 2016 election: that he would use information on a foe provided by a hostile foreign power.

I had stood with the speaker in her resisting calls for impeachment.

Today, after digesting what I have heard from POTUS, I am having second thoughts.

This is a dangerous man serving as our head of state.

Always good to separate the person from the institution

Maybe I have learned how to “compartmentalize” the way Bill Clinton demonstrated he was able to do during his eight years as president of the United States, from 1993 to 2001.

President Clinton taught us how he was able to set aside his political opponents’ personal loathing for him — and work with them anyway. He was able to put his own personal loathing for individuals into, um, compartments while doing business on behalf of the public.

So it is that form of compartmentalization that I am able to look at the presidency without much regard for the individual who inhabits the office in the moment. Donald Trump is president of the United States. I recently posted a blog item that mentioned how thrilled I was to see the White House with my wife, niece and nephew a couple of years ago. It didn’t matter to me in the moment that Donald Trump is the person who has taken up residence in that magnificent residence.

Later in the day after we stood outside the White House, we happened to see Marine One, the helicopter carrying the president flying overhead. We were in Georgetown at that moment and the chopper was en route to the White House; I don’t remember where the president had been, but he was returning to “my house” where he lives with his wife and youngest son. And, yes, it was a thrill to see the helicopter, too!

My point here is to reiterate that my respect for the presidency and all the trappings of that office are not diminished by the individual who seemingly seeks to sully it. All he does is shame himself.

The office and the institution of the presidency is too damn big even for Donald J. Trump to do permanent damage.

That “compartmentalization” thing comes in handy. Don’t you think?

White House still signifies dignity, power and majesty

I have made no secret on this blog about my intense loathing of the man who lives in the big ol’ house behind us in this picture.

Two years ago, my wife and I ventured to Washington, D.C., to visit the two young folks in this picture: our niece Andrea and her husband Loren. They showed us a marvelous time in the few days we spent in the nation’s capital.

Our walking tour took us to the White House. We stood on Pennsylvania Avenue and gazed at the place along with other turistas who were gathered along the fence.

It dawned on me in the moment and it occurs to me now that despite the intense political differences one might have with the individual who sits in the Oval Office, the presidency is far bigger, far more important than the knucklehead who serves in the office.

The building is a lasting symbol of the nation and its greatness.

To be crystal clear, Donald Trump never will earn my support. I didn’t vote for him in 2016. He won’t get my vote in 2020. However, my dislike for him as an individual and what he represents does not diminish for one instant, doesn’t take away any bit of love I have for my country or the respect I continue to hold for the office of the presidency.

I suppose that is why I want my president to be better than the rest of us. I want the president to represent us with dignity, class, grace, even a bit of elegance.

I want that individual to be worthy of taking up residence in that beautiful structure. After all, it is our house. Yours and mine.

Thus, it was a thrill to lay eyes on it two years ago.

Civility likely to require long-term rehab

If we look ahead for a moment to the November 2020 presidential election, then we need to ponder what I consider to be the worst possible outcome: the re-election of Donald John Trump.

The president might win a second term. What in the world is going to occur then? How will the next Congress deal with a president who labels Democrats to be everything short of spawns of Satan? He won’t work with Democrats because they are continuing to insist on searching for answers to that still-nagging Russia electoral interference issue.

For their part, Democrats won’t be pleased, either, with the prospect of working while Trump is still in office. How in the world will they react? Will they keep saying and doing things that sets Trump off on endless Twitter tirades?

Imagine the president traveling overseas after the 2020 election and behaving as he did at Normandy during the commemoration of the D-Day landings of June 1944. He sat in front of those 9,000 headstones where U.S. servicemen are buried and called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “disaster.”

Just suppose, too, that Pelosi keeps her speakership after the 2020 election. How is she going to react to more verbal trashing from the president?

Oh, and then there’s the Senate, which might flip from Republican control to Democratic control.

Imagine that scenario, with Democrats possibly controlling both legislative chambers while Republicans keep possession of the keys to the White House.

Civility? It’s a goner. I continue to hope we can find it. Somewhere. Somehow.

It’s gone for as long as Donald Trump remains in an office for which he is totally unqualified … and I’ll say it again: for which he is unfit.

Rep. Taylor quietly earns his stripes in Congress

The media and political pundits have become enamored of the flash and sizzle of a few Democratic rookie members of Congress this year. I refer, for example, to Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, both of whom attained instant celebrity status partly because of their big mouths and radical points of view.

The young man who represents my congressional district, Texas’s Third District, meanwhile has done something quite different in his first term in the House of Representatives.

Republican Van Taylor has quietly been working with Democrats, crossing the aisle, learning the ropes without making headlines.

I kind of wondered what has become of him since he took office in January. Now I know, according to a Dallas Morning News article.

The Morning News reports that Taylor, from Plano, is trying to govern on Capitol Hill the way he did as a Texas legislator. He has drawn praise from some of those dreaded Democrats who like the way he reaches out. Imagine that, if you can.

He is seeking to become a sort of “Mr. Bipartisan” as he navigates his way around the legislative maze.

Good for him.

I like that the new congressman is a veteran. He served for a decade in the Marine Corps, seeing duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Indeed, he succeeded a legendary congressman, fellow Republican Sam Johnson, who endured hideous torture as a Vietnam War prisoner for more than six years. So the Third Congressional District is being well-represented by another veteran with an understanding of the dangers of sending men and women into harm’s way.

As the Morning News reports, Taylor said military personnel “don’t get to pick your commanders,” nor do you ask what political party your comrades in arms belong to. You just do your job, he said.

So it should be in the halls of the nation’s Capitol.

If only the leaders on both sides of the aisle — and the leader in the White House — would follow Rep. Taylor’s advice.

‘Chaos president’? Trump sees it as a compliment … maybe?

Jeb Bush told us during the 2016 Republican Party primary campaign for president that Donald Trump would govern under an aura of chaos.

Yep. He was right. Trump vanquished the GOP field bigly, then went on to eke out a victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The White House has become a place where sensibilities go to die. The president fights with the media, with Democrats, with Republicans who oppose him, with his national security team, the national intelligence network, our nation’s historic allies in North America and Europe.

I’m at the point of this individual’s term in office that I am considering tossing aside the word “chaos” to describe him and the manner he seeks to govern the nation. Why? I am beginning to believe that Trump sees the terms “chaos” or “chaotic” as endearments.

He likes governing this way. Is it possible that he sees chaos, confusion, controversy as his ticket to re-election?

That question is not as dumb/idiotic/moronic as you might think. You see, this president vowed to be an unconventional head of state when he won that Electoral College victory in 2016. Of all the promises he has made, this is one that he has kept in mega-spades.

He has fired no fewer than a half-dozen Cabinet officials; sure, some of ’em “resigned,” but we all know they were shoved out the door.

He changes his mind at the sound of the last person to whisper in his ear. He governs with his Twitter account. He makes pronouncements that serve as policy and doesn’t tell the “best people” he purportedly hired to surround him and give him the “best advice.”

Oh, but wait! This is the same guy who said during the campaign that he knows “more about ISIS than the generals.” Trump declared the Islamic State was “defeated” in Syria, only to watch as ISIS launched another terrorist attack.

I thought Jeb Bush’s prediction of a “chaos presidency” was correct. I also thought that it would frighten enough voters away to deny this clown the election as president of the United States.

Silly me. I was wrong. Jeb Bush was right, but it doesn’t matter to this guy that so many Americans are worried about the chaos he has brought to the White House.

Why should it bother him? It’s the way this nitwit rolls.

First things first, Mr. VPOTUS: you gotta be nominated

This is just my view, but my sense is that the national political media are getting ahead of themselves with regard to Joe Biden’s entry into the 2020 presidential campaign.

The former vice president is the 20th Democrat to enter his party’s primary. A lot of highly qualified, well-heeled, articulate candidates have been in the game for a good while.

Yet the media have become focused on Biden’s campaign rollout and the ire he is incurring from Donald Trump, who is responding to Biden’s direct criticism of him.

I hope Biden keeps getting under Trump’s skin. The president deserves to be rankled and riled. I want him to lose the next election. I want him gone from the White House. He has disgraced the office. He has sullied and soiled our nation’s good name. He has proven to be an incompetent imbecile, a lying narcissist.

However, I am not yet willing to say that the former VP is the man who should beat him. Biden has a towering hurdle to clear if he hopes to win his party’s presidential nomination. He has to get past those 19 other Democrats. That’s just for starters.

I just want the media to stop inching toward treating Biden as if he’s the presumptive nominee already.

UVA declines invitation to visit White House … what gives?

The list is now up to three.

The University of Virginia won the NCAA men’s basketball championship with a stunning victory over Texas Tech University. Then the White House invited the Cavaliers to be feted by Donald Trump.

The Cavs’ response? No can do, Mr. President.

They now join the University of North Carolina and Villanova University in declining to take part in what most of us thought was a part of D.C. normalcy. Teams win national championships, then travel to the nation’s capital to be honored by the president of the United States.

That was until Donald Trump became president of the United States. Now we find the president politicizing these events, criticizing pro football players for kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem. He infuriates players, who then balk at coming to the White House. The Golden State Warriors this past year won the NBA title, chafed at going to the White House and then the president disinvited them.

Now the third straight men’s college basketball team has said “no thanks” to the White House, citing what school officials called “scheduling conflicts.” Sure thing, man.

When you think about it, what we’re seeing is an ongoing trend involving this president.

Donald and Melania Trump haven’t attended a Kennedy Center Honors event that pays tribute to artists who contribute to the world’s culture. The president refuses to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, I presume because of his antipathy toward the “enemy of the American people.”

These once-pro forma events have become news in and of themselves because of the president’s clumsy relationships with national institutions.

So the drama continues.

The UVA Cavaliers won’t break bread with the president. I fully expect Donald Trump to say something inappropriate — if not downright stupid — in response to the NCAA men’s champs’ decision to stay away.

Weird.

Security clearance plot thickens

So now the plot continues to thicken inside the White House.

A longtime White House staffer who works on issuing security clearances for key administration personnel has told congressional investigators that the Trump administration has issued top-secret clearances to individuals who had been denied them for a variety of reasons.

Tricia Newbold has worked under four administrations, Democrat and Republican, dating back to 2000. She said the Trump White House has been amazingly lax in its security-clearance procedures. Imagine that, will ya? Who knew?

As the New York Times has reported:

Described as both “no nonsense” and “intense” by people who have interacted with her during the clearance process, Ms. Newbold has served under four presidential administrations, beginning with the Clinton White House in 2000. Eventually she worked her way up to adjudications manager, a job that required her to help make determinations about the security clearances of administration employees. Her office is filled with holdovers from other administrations, and it is meant to be nonpartisan.

Yet in the Trump administration the office was filled with people who had little experience in vetting employees in the interest of national security, Ms. Newbold said in a nine-hour deposition with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform last week.

I keep thinking of presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, garnering clearances even though neither of them had a lick of national security experience prior to Daddy Trump becoming president of the United States.

The president denied running interference for either of them. Others have reported, though, that he most certainly did.

Again, from the NY Times:

John F. Kelly, the president’s former chief of staff, wrote in a contemporaneous internal memo about how he had been “ordered” to give Mr. Kusher the top-secret clearance. In her interviews with the House committee, Ms. Newbold said that Mr. Kelly and Joe Hagin, the former deputy chief of staff, had been attentive to the national security issues she had tried to raise.

Gosh, do you think there might be a national security risk being presented inside the White House’s West Wing?

I do. It frightens me.

Congressional toxicity is flaring to dangerous level

So . . . just how toxic is the atmosphere in Congress, if not in all of Washington, D.C.?

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff provided a critical example.

Committee Republicans today demanded that Schiff resign as chairman of the committee. Donald Trump has called on Schiff to quit Congress altogether. GOP Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway of Midland said Schiff no longer has the standing to lead the committee and said he should resign immediately.

Schiff has been a stern critic of Donald Trump. He maintains that the president’s campaign did collude with Russians despite special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings to the contrary.

Schiff then took the microphone after Conaway’s lecture and gave it right back to his GOP colleagues. He held firm on his assertion that there was collusion. “You might say that’s all OK,” Schiff said. “You might say that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I think it is immoral, I think it is unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt.”

Yes, it is highly toxic on Capitol Hill. The mood between Congress and the White House is equally toxic.

Why mention it? Because it seems different now than any era I can recall. President Bush 43 managed to maintain working relationships with the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy; President Reagan famously befriended House Speaker Tip O’Neill, his after-hours drinking buddy; President Bush 41 also maintained strong friendships with House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Rostenkowski; President Clinton managed to work with House Speaker Newt Gingrich to craft a balanced federal budget.

These days we hear Donald Trump calling Adam Schiff “pencil neck.” He is throwing out “traitorous” and “treasonous” terms to describe Democrats behavior during the special counsel’s probe into alleged collusion; and, yes, Democrats have tossed those terms at the White House, too.

Good government requires leaders of both political parties to find common ground. Dear reader, there ain’t a bit of commonality to be found these days. Anywhere!

It is going to get more divisive, more toxic the deeper we plow into the 2020 election season. After that remains anyone’s guess.

It is no fun — none at all — watching these men and women tear each others’ lungs out. Too many important matters are going unresolved because of the outright hatred one senses among politicians across the aisle that divides them.