Tag Archives: first family

Now that we’re talking just a bit about Barron Trump …

Barron Trump, the teenage son of Donald and Melania Trump, has been thrust into the news, if only for a little while.

Spoiler alert: I am not going to say a single negative thing in this blog post about Barron. Are we clear?

I do want to commend the young man’s parents. They have done a remarkable job of keeping this youngster out of public view. We rarely see Barron in the company of his parents, or his siblings.

Think of all the photo opportunities that prior first families took to make sure we saw the president and first lady in the company of their children. The Obamas were quite adept at showing us their daughters; the same can be said of the Bushes; the Clintons, too, were photographed often with their daughter, Chelsea, who we got to watch grow up before our eyes; the elder Bushes’ kids were grown; so were the Reagans’ children; we also saw a good bit of the Carters’ youngest child, Amy, who lived with them in the White House; I remember when the Fords moved in and their youngest child, Susan, became a de facto first lady, standing in at official functions when her mom was hospitalized with breast cancer.

Barron Trump is the youngest child of the president. He resides far outside the public’s prying eyes. He attends school and does whatever he does when he goes home.

I think his parents should be commended for the shield they have thrown around him, protecting him from the paparazzi who likely would go to any length to snap pictures of the youngster.

All of this is my way of saying that the ruckus caused by the professor who tossed Barron’s name out there during the impeachment hearing was made all the more remarkable by the fact that we have seen or heard so little about the young man since his father took office nearly three years ago.

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.

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!

Bring your hiking shoes, first family


President and Mrs. Obama are taking their daughters to Carlsbad Caverns, N.M., as part of a commemoration of the National Park Service’s centennial celebration.

The park service turns 100 and the Obamas are going to mark the occasion by touring the caverns, along with Yosemite National Park in California.

Take it from my wife and me, Mr. President and your lovely family: You need to have comfortable shoes if you’re going to go deep into the cavern.

We just went there ourselves.


I’ve got some good news and some bad news for the first family.

The good news is that they’ll be amazed at what they see once they start hiking down the path into the cavern. It’s about 750 feet down vertically from the main entrance. Sure, they’ll have plenty of company with them as they make the journey.

The bad news?

The elevator is broken. We heard some park officials say it’s going to take many months, perhaps a year or two, to repair the elevator that’s supposed to haul tourists back to the top if they don’t want to make the hike. Now you have no choice. It’s a haul.

I get that the president and first lady are quite fit. Mrs. Obama has made nutrition and exercise a hallmark of her first ladyship. She has a chance now to show she practices what she has preached.

As for Malia and Sasha, well, they’re young. Enjoy¬† yourselves, girls.

If a couple of older folks can make the invigorating climb out of the cavern, so can you.


Obama brings more joy to joyful day

The video attached to this brief post is about 100 seconds long.

It shows Barack Obama offering some prayers to honor Easter and what it means to Christians.

The video also demonstrates a good bit of the president’s humanity.


There can be no doubt — none at all — that some critics will consider this video snippet to be a bit too light-hearted, too full of humor.

I see it differently. I see the president of the United States bringing a bit of additional joy to Christians’ most joyful holiday.

It made me laugh out loud.

Vacation for first family; POTUS will need the rest

President Obama has jetted off to his home state of Hawaii for some R&R with his family.

I’ll be interested now for the next several days whether we’re going to hear any carping about the golf being played, or whether the first lady is spending a lot of money on shopping excursions, or whether the first daughters are behaving themselves.

This kind of carping goes with the territory, I guess, and I am hoping that now — six years into the job — that the president and his family have grown used to it.

Social media being what they are, criticism hits¬†cyberspace in swarms. It’s immediate, quite often mistaken and misplaced and also quite cruel.

I recall a couple of other notable presidents who’d take lengthy vacations.

* President Ronald Reagan would get holed up in his ranch near Santa Barbara, Calif., uttering hardly a peep in public. He’d come back down from his Rancho del Cielo refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the day. You’d hear the occasional gripes from the media about the president’s lengthy hiatus, but hardly none of the nitpicking one hears today.

* President George W. Bush liked to “clear brush” at his own ranch in Central Texas, near Crawford — which is near Waco. Again, the media would gripe about that time off, although my hunch is that they disliked hanging out in rural Texas, which I’m guessing lacks some of the creature comforts to which those big-city media hounds had grown accustomed.

In both instances — and regarding vacations other presidents have taken — such criticism is unfounded and ridiculous.

Barack Obama doesn’t have any planned public events while he’s enjoying Christmas with his clan in Hawaii. He’ll get his usual daily national security briefings and updates on other matters way back east¬†in Washington.

For now, enjoy your time in the sunshine, Mr. President. A new Congress controlled by the “other party” awaits you when you return for the home stretch of your time in office. You’ll need all the rest you can get.


Good riddance, Ms. Lauten

In the grand scheme of all the important issues of the day, a crappy Facebook post by a now-former aide to a Republican member of Congress doesn’t add up to much.

It’s still worth one more quick comment.

Elizabeth Lauten quit her job as communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee. She had posted that snide and snarky Facebook commentary criticizing the two teenage daughters of the president and first lady because they made faces at a turkey-pardoning ceremony at the White House. They also, in Lauten’s mind, not dressed appropriately for the occasion.


Well, she’s gone now. Hopefully she won’t find another job as a communications flack for anyone soon — if ever.

This story by itself isn’t all that important. It does, though, seem to illustrate the coarseness of the debate that’s poisoned our nation’s capital. Lauten used the criticism of Sasha and Malia Obama to stick the blade into their parents, who she said aren’t proper role models for their girls.

It was a preposterous assertion to make on its face. It also was ignorant, in that such messages can go “viral” in a heartbeat and Lauten, a young 21st-century woman, should have anticipated the consequences of putting something so cheap and petulant out there for all the world to see.

The debate in Washington often has devolved into this kind of cheap criticism.

And that’s the only way I can describe it.

Hit the road, Ms. Lauten.




It's still the People's House

Julia Pierson is gone from her job as head of the Secret Service.

She’d come in to change the culture of an agency beset by scandals involving agents consorting with hookers. Now, though, she’s resigned, the person responsible for a new scandal involving the protection of the White House, where the president and his family live.

A man jumped the fence and got into the mansion, running past and/or through several perimeters. What’s more, now we have learned that an armed man masquerading as a security guard at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rode an elevator with President Obama.

OK, so now we’re searching for a new permanent director of the agency charged with protecting the president.

What’s next for security at the White House?

Here’s my suggestion for what should not happen at the People’s House: Do not lock the place down and make it next to impossible for tourists to walk through it and enjoy the majesty of the place.

The knee-jerk reaction is predictable. Some might want to essentially shut down the White House to the public. They’ll suggest searching tourists as they enter the place. One thing that can be done easily is to boost the height of the fences surrounding the White House. That’ll get done; no problem there.

Let us remember, as Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson noted this afternoon, the White House is a symbol of First Amendment guarantees, where people can assemble and perhaps ask questions of their head of state — the president — on questions that concern them.

Shutting the White House off from the people to whom the house belongs would be the wrong course as this necessary review of security takes hold.

What gives with the Secret Service?

Every individual who’s ever run for president of the United States should expect the security detail assigned to guard the first family to be the best in the world at doing that job.

Not “one of the best,” but the very best. The tops. No. 1. The all-time champs.

The revelations about Omar Gonzalez bursting into the White House and then cavorting through the mansion before being caught by a security guard is troubling in the extreme.

Yes, these things have happened before. And yes, given that the Secret Service is populated by fallible human beings, there might be times when even the most secure network on the planet breaks down.

But this is frightening in the extreme?

Some heads needs to roll at the Secret Service.

Are you paying attention here, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, under whose command the Secret Service operates?

Julia Pierson heads the Secret Service. She needs to answer some serious questions about what went wrong. So does the individual who’s in charge of the White House security detail. To date, we aren’t hearing much from these individuals, as they cite an “ongoing investigation” as the reason for their relative silence.

I wouldn’t make so much of this matter, except that the Secret Service in recent years has been caught doing some highly unprofessional things — such as the episode about three years ago when agents were, um, enjoying the company of hookers in South America while doing security advance work for an upcoming presidential visit.

Now this. Omar Gonzalez not only broke through the perimeter but the knife-wielding intruder was able to penetrate deeply into the building.

Failure to secure the house where the first family lives is a disgrace.

WH security breach getting more serious

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Omar Gonzalez bolted across the White House lawn and entered the president’s office/residence before being caught by security personnel.

Now we hear that the Iraq War veteran — who was packing a knife and had several hundred rounds of ammo in his car — got farther into the White House than it was originally reported.


CBS News and the Washington Post report that Gonzalez walked through the entire East Room of the White House before he was overpowered by a Secret Service officer. The intruder reportedly had gotten past an officer when he entered the building.

Something is wrong with the president’s security detail.

Secret Service director Julia Pierson isn’t talking — yet — about what happened at the White House.

But how in the world does someone enter the world’s most heavily guard — supposedly — residence and traipse through one of the key rooms in the building before being stopped?

White House press spokesman Josh Earnest said President Obama stands behind the Secret Service. “The president does have full confidence in Director Pierson and other members of the Secret Service to do their very important work,” Earnest said.

Well, whatever you say, Mr. President.

Millions of out here are concerned about this incident, coming as it does with heinous terrorist organizations vowing to do serious damage to Americans at every level.

At every level.

There needs to be a serious review of every single security procedure dealing with the protection of the first family.