Tag Archives: Michelle Obama

Stay away, Mr. President

Donald J. Trump will get criticized if he doesn’t attend former first lady Barbara Bush’s funeral.

He’ll get criticized if he shows up in Houston this weekend.

For what it’s worth — and it’s not much, I’ll concede — I want to counsel the president to stay away.

Look at it this way: Mrs. Bush made no bones about her dislike and disgust at Trump. She didn’t like the way he treated women. She damn sure didn’t like the way he treated her two sons — Jeb, who ran against Trump in the 2016 GOP presidential primary, and George W., who drew Trump’s ire over the Iraq War.

Trump has said the correct things about Mrs. Bush. I watched him read his statement and was struck yet again by the feeling in my gut that he didn’t really feel it.

First lady Melania Trump is going to attend, which is customary for first ladies; they usually attend funerals for their predecessors. Michelle Obama attended the funeral for Nancy Reagan, for example.

Donald Trump is facing a couple of difficult choices here. He need not accompany his wife to the funeral of a woman who couldn’t stand him.

He’s already spoken of Barbara Bush’s toughness. There you have it.

Stay away, Mr. President. Let the first lady represent the government.


Here is what I wrote about whether Barack Obama should have attended Mrs. Reagan’s funeral.

Should POTUS attend ex-FLOTUS’s funeral?

Thumbs down on these portraits

I want to stipulate right off the top that I am the least-qualified American to offer a critique on pieces of art. I can barely draw stick figures, if you know what I mean.

There. That said, I want to offer a brief comment on the new official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.

I do not like them. Not at all.

I am a bit of a stodgy stick in the mud when it comes to these pieces of work. The portraits of former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush are much more to my liking. The paintings actually look like the subjects the artist was hired to depict.

The Obamas, I regret saying, barely resemble the images unveiled at the Smithsonian Institution earlier this week. Mrs. Obama’s image is particularly un-Michelle-like in its representation.

The 44th president and his wife present a striking image. They both are physically attractive. Thus, it boggles my mind that the Obamas would want to be portrayed in the manner that’s been revealed.

But … that’s their call.

Do not take any of this critique to the bank. I just had to vent.

I’m out.

Ready for the White House portrait unveiling?

At some point near the end of Donald J. Trump’s current term as president, his protocol staff will likely schedule an appearance by his immediate predecessor, Barack Obama, and the former president’s wife, Michelle.

It’s been a custom for many years. The former first couple returns to the White House to unveil their official portraits. The president’s portrait hangs next to other presidents; the first lady’s portrait hangs in a gallery that includes her predecessors.

I remember watching when President Obama and Mrs. Obama welcomed George W. and Laura Bush back to the White House in 2012. It was a heart-warming ceremony, with all four — the current and former first couples — exchanging quips and remembrances of their time in the White House.

Is it possible for the Obamas to return to the White House at the invitation of Donald and Melania Trump? Can the former president set aside the astonishing rhetoric that the current president hurled at him? We have the on-going lie that Trump kept alive about Obama’s place of birth; then we have the defamatory accusation from Trump that Obama “ordered the wiretap” of the president-elect’s campaign office.

Oh, and how about the comments that Michelle Obama delivered in the wake of that ghastly “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump admitted to groping women and grabbing them by their private area?

I can just imagine how, um, tense the next portrait-unveiling is going to be when — or if — it occurs.

Melania goes scarf-less? Heaven forbid!

Melania Trump has arrived with her husband, the president of the United States, in Saudi Arabia.

She and her husband, Donald Trump, strode down the stairway from Air Force One and greeted the Saudi king.

Oh, but wait! Her head was uncovered. She wasn’t wearing a scarf, per Muslim custom. Where’s the outrage? The recrimination? The howls of disrespect?

There wasn’t any. Nor should there be.

Hey, let’s hold on! Michelle Obama did the same thing when she and her husband, also the president of the United States, went to the Middle East a couple of years ago. Her head was uncovered, too. Oh, but the conservative media went semi-nuts.

So did at least one notable Republican politician. His name? Donald John Trump! That, truth be told, is what makes this an issue worthy of a brief blog post.

Being of a more tolerant strain as it regards religion, I am not bothered in the least that non-Muslim female dignitaries don’t cover their heads when they travel to Muslim-majority nations. They aren’t “dishonoring” their hosts.

Let’s stay focused on the aim of these visits, which has nothing to do with making fashion statements.

Speech brings out the sap

Time for an admission.

It is that I can be a sap. I tend to blubber. I’ve teared up at films that I know to be fiction, scripted, performances done by actors who are pretending to evoke emotion. My family knows this about me; so do my closest friends.

So it was tonight when President Barack Obama turned to his wife near the end of his highly publicized farewell speech to the nation and said, “Michelle.”

The crowd stood. It cheered loudly. Jill Biden, wife of the vice president, clapped vigorously. Michelle and Barack Obama’s older daughter, Malia, began wiping away tears.

The president called Michelle “my best friend.” More tears.

The president then wiped a tear from his own eyes with a handkerchief. He had trouble holding it together.

And there I was , way out here in Texas, swallowing hard as I watched the emotion flowing from the TV screen before me.

Here’s the deal. These folks weren’t acting. It was real. It’s the kind of real-life drama I get a sort of perverse joy in watching. It demonstrates that even the most powerful, influential and high-profile folks among us are filled with real human emotion.

As is this sap.

That’s some non-apology, Carl

I’ve read phony apologies many times over the years.

They usually include the phrase “If I offended anyone ,,.”

Carl Palodino, the New York Republican operative/activist and former GOP candidate for governor, has taken the non-apology to a new level.

He said he wished President Obama would die in the coming year of mad cow disease and said Michelle Obama is really a dude who should live with gorillas in Africa.

Palodino’s explanation? What he said to an alternative newspaper in Buffalo, N.Y., was meant only for his “friends.”


What? Huh? Are you kidding me?

This guy has said these kinds of things before. If this latest diatribe isn’t drenched in racist intent, then I have been living in some parallel universe for the past 67 years.

Palodino is a strong ally of Donald J. Trump. To its credit, the president-elect’s transition team has issued a strong statement of condemnation of Palodino’s hate-filled comment, calling it “reprehensible.”

As for this notion that he intended these hideous remarks only for his “friends,” how in the name of all that is holy does this guy’s non-apology make anything right?

Will the next president replicate this show of unity, grace?

This is an amazing video I felt like sharing on this blog.

It shows how one president can honor a predecessor with class and grace and how that predecessor can speak with amazing self-deprecating humor.

At some point during his presidential term, Donald J. Trump will get to invite his predecessor, Barack Obama, back to the White House for the unveiling of two portraits: of the president and the first lady, Michelle Obama.

President Obama and the first lady did that very thing when the portraits of President Bush and first lady Laura Bush.

This video presents a wonderful study in collegiality and comity.

I do hope the next president and the current president can set aside their intense personal and political differences when the Obamas return to the White House to unveil their own portraits.

No ‘racist intent’? Is this guy joking?

OK, I cannot let this one go.

Donald J. Trump says he wants to bind the wounds that divided the nation during a heated presidential campaign.

Fine. Then the president-elect needs to put maximum distance between himself and individuals such as Carl Paladino,  a fellow who ran his campaign in New York.

Paladino, a one-time Republican nominee for New York governor, has said some hideous and hateful things about President and Michelle Obama. He told an alternative publication he wants the president to “die from mad cow disease” in 2017; then it got even worse. Paladino said this about the first lady: “Michelle Obama. I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortable in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla.”

The president-elect’s transition team has issued a statement calling Palidino’s statements “reprehensible.” Yes they are, to the max.

What is utterly flabbergasting in the extreme is that Paladino said he didn’t intend any “racist” overtone in his statements.


According to The Hill: “Paladino on Friday verified to The Buffalo News that his comments were real, attacking the newspaper for inquiring about them. “’Of course I did,’ he said when asked if he had uttered the remarks. ‘Tell them all to go f*** themselves.

“’Tell that Rod Wilson I made that comment just for him,’ Paladino added, referring to one of the newspaper’s black columnists and editors.”

No racist intent? Paladino said he is “not politically correct.”

He is much worse than that.

Obama critics won’t stop name-calling, either


It’s going to be a difficult transition for many millions of Americans from the Obama presidency to the Trump presidency.

I totally am in that camp. I’m one of those Americans who’s going to have a tough time making that switch.

Yes, some critics of this blog — and some acquaintances of mine — have questioned why I keep commenting negatively about Donald J. Trump. “Move on,” they say. “Get over it,” they admonish me.

Well, OK. I will get over it. I will move on … eventually.

Perhaps I should offer a deal for those critics to ponder. How about many of them stop hurling epithets at the current president?

I don’t associate with those who’ve been amazingly harsh toward Barack Obama, his lovely wife Michelle — and even those precious and beautiful daughters of theirs, Malia and Sasha.

You no doubt have heard some of the hate that has spewed forth against the first family. Much of it is based on the president’s policies. Much of it also is based on more visceral feelings.

Let’s not pussyfoot around here. There has been a racial component to the criticism against the first family. No, I am not pointing the accusatory finger at all the critics. Those who’ve said things publicly through social media, though, have conducted a shameful smear campaign against  the president and his family.

Will I be able eventually to accept fully the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States? I am going to make every effort possible to do so.

But I won’t be badgered, pestered or browbeaten into doing so by those who have kept yammering negatively against the current president over matters that transcend public policy.

It’s not that I intend to deliberately return what others have flung at the man Trump is succeeding as president. Those who have said many ugly and hurtful things, though, need to understand that some of these wounds will take time to heal.

So, if some of us continue to complain out loud — and vociferously — about the policies being proposed by the current president, I’ll offer this response: Get over it!

Trump to ‘batch it’ at the White House


Note: This blog post has been updated.

Melania Trump has declared that she and her son, Barron, will move into the White House after the youngster finishes his school year at his private school in New York City.


An interesting and somewhat puzzling development has cropped up in this transition from one president to another.

Melania Trump won’t be moving to the White House when her husband, Donald J. Trump, is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States.

She and the couple’s son, Barron, will remain in New York while husband/dad tends to governing the country. Why won’t she move to the White House? Mrs. Trump said she wants her son to continue attending the private school he attends near their home.

OK, I won’t challenge her parenting skills. Mrs. Trump reportedly wants to shield 10-year-old Barron from the pressures of living in the People’s House.

I do have some advice for the new first lady. She ought to get on the phone and talk once again to Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and — oh, yeah! — Hillary Rodham Clinton. What do these women have in common? They all raised young children under the glare of the White House lights.

* The Obama girls haven’t quite left the nest, but they appeared to adjust well as Mom and Dad went about the business of being the First Couple; it helped, too, that Mrs. Obama’s mother also lives in the White House. Grandma no doubt was a steadying hand for Malia and Sasha.

* The Bush girls — twins Barbara and Jenna — also have grown into successful adults after spending most of two full terms in the White House.

* Chelsea Clinton was famously protected by her parents during her father’s two terms as president. She turned out just fine, too.

If she wants to go way back, Mrs. Trump could visit with Caroline Kennedy, who lived for a time in the White House as the daughter of a president before tragedy struck on Nov. 22, 1963.

I’ll have to think more about this news for it to sink in. My reaction to learning about Melania Trump’s decision to stay in New York City, though, is that it seems to be yet another curious turn in what’s becoming a most unusual presidential transition.

And don’t you know: The Secret Service is gnashing its teeth over the measures it will take to protect Melania and Barron Trump while they’re away from the White House.