Tag Archives: Laura Bush

Signs of cracking among the ‘base’?

I am heartened to learn of some second thoughts among Donald J. Trump’s most ardent supporters regarding this ghastly policy of “no tolerance” along our southern border.

It’s the policy that allows U.S. Border Patrol and immigration agents to seize young children from their parents as they enter the United States illegally.

Trump blames a “Democrat bill,” which doesn’t exist, for the policy.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says the Bible — as stated in Romans 13 — gives the Trump administration all the authority it needs to invoke this intensely cruel policy.

Now we hear from, say, the Rev. Franklin Graham, one of the president’s most ardent supporters. Graham has declared his opposition to the policy.

Oh, and then former first lady Laura Bush has weighed in with an op-ed column in which she declares the policy “immoral” and said it “breaks my heart” to learn of children being put in cages along our southern border.

The current first lady, Melania Trump, has waffled a bit, calling on “both sides” to cease this humanitarian crisis. I understand the first lady’s difficult spot. But “both sides” aren’t required.

Only one side is needed to fix it. That would be the president, who can end this hideous policy with a phone call and a signature.

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.

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.

Try to imagine this happening … soon!

Not too many years ago, President and Mrs. Obama welcomed back to the White House their immediate predecessors, President and Mrs. Bush, to unveil the official portraits done of George W. and Laura Bush.

The portraits are hanging on the walls of the White House, along those of all who lived there before them.

This video illustrates the remarkable charm and grace — not to mention the remarkable comedic timing — not only of Barack Obama, but of George and Laura Bush.

I’m now trying to imagine how the next portrait unveiling will go when the next president invites his immediate predecessor and his wife back for a similar ceremony.

At this moment, I don’t feel very good about how that will go with Donald Trump playing host.

Oh, how I want to be wrong about that.

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.

Should POTUS attend ex-FLOTUS’s funeral?


I’m beginning to hear some faint rumbles out there in Social Media Land about President Obama’s decision to forgo attending the funeral of Nancy Reagan.

Someone please tell me this is just “normal” cyberworld chatter. That it’s par for the Internet course. That the twitter-verse is full of too many people with too much time on their hands.

The former first lady died the other day at age 94. President Obama joined other dignitaries around the world in expressing their sympathy to Mrs. Reagan’s family. He said some nice things that paid tribute to her service to the country.

He ordered flags lowered to half-staff at the White House and other federal government buildings.

That should be sufficient, yes?

Ohhhh, no.

Some have said the president should attend the funeral. I have heard reports of some critics poking sticks at Obama because he’s going to a SXSW event in Texas that had been planned for weeks.

The president is sending his wife to Mrs. Reagan’s funeral. Indeed, it’s customary for sitting first ladies to pay their respects at funerals of their predecessors.

Some former presidents might attend the service at the Reagan Library later this week. Then again, perhaps it’ll just be their wives. We’ve got several first ladies still among us: Rosalyn Carter, Barbara Bush, Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush all might attend the funeral.

Then again, Hillary Clinton also has a pretty full plate these days as she runs for president of the United States.

I’m sure the right-wing mainstream media would pounce on her absence if she spends that day campaigning for the office that Mrs. Reagan’s husband once occupied.

This is such a nasty, contentious time.


Michelle's just the latest to flout Saudi tradition

Laura Bush did it. So did Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Same with Angela Merkel.

What did a former U.S. first lady, two former secretaries of state and the chancellor of Germany do? They appeared in public in Saudi Arabia — without covering their hair, as prescribed by Muslim tradition in the Sunni nation.


The current first lady, Michelle Obama, thus is the just the latest woman to flout the custom demanded of Saudi women.

It’s interesting at a couple of levels that the media would make any kind of mention of Mrs. Obama’s decision to go scarf-less in public.

No. 1, she is hardly the first foreign dignitary to be photographed doing this.

No. 2, and perhaps more importantly, is that she was virtually ignored while she stood in a greeting line alongside her husband — Barack H. Obama, president of the United States of America.

The dignitaries walked along the greeting line, shook hands with Mr. Obama but didn’t shake Mrs. Obama’s hand. What’s up with that?

Actually, I know. Saudis disrespect women whenever and wherever possible. That, too, is part of their custom. Women aren’t able to drive motor vehicles legally, for example. It should come as no surprise, then, that the potentates or whoever those gentlemen were greeting the president would ignore his wife.

To whatever extent she intended, Michelle Obama did a nice job of standing tall and proud for women in the country that played host to her briefly — and, in fact, for oppressed women all around the world. So did those who preceded her.

Well done, ladies.