Tag Archives: NBC News

Officer reveals himself

Now we know the name of the Capitol Police officer who shot Ashli Babbitt during the 1/6 insurrection.

His name is Michael Byrd, a lieutenant with the Capitol Police force.

Lt. Byrd is a hero. He stopped a woman who was trying to break through a door during the hottest moments of the riot. He fired a single shot at her. Babbitt died that day.

Now we also hear from Byrd himself that he has been the target of death threats, racist attacks (he is African-American), and has been called a “murderer” by the 45th president of the United States, in whose name the terrorists attacked the Capitol Building on 1/6.

Byrd spoke to NBC News anchor Lester Holt. He felt he wanted to reveal his identity to put to rest some semblance of the mystery surrounding the shooting of Babbitt.

I feel the need to mention three things about Babbitt. She was an Air Force veteran. She also was an ardent supporter of the 45th POTUS and a believer in the QAnon conspiracy insanity that drives so many of those who adhere to the cult of personality associated with the former Insurrectionist in Chief.

Babbitt was not “murdered” by Lt. Byrd. He was doing his job, which was to protect members of Congress against the angry mob that sought to prevent Congress from certifying the results of the 2020 presidential election.

The most shameful consequence of all of this, of course, is the Republican lawmakers’ refusal to grant Congressional Gold Medals to the law enforcement heroes who stood in harm’s way to protect them.

One hero is Michael Byrd.


When given a chance to lead, Trump chooses to attack

I can’t let this story go, but I likely will do so after I finish this brief blog post.

Donald Trump performed a most disgraceful act today in the White House briefing room. When given a chance to show presidential leadership, he exhibited un-presidential petulance.

NBC News’s Peter Alexander to explain to Americans what he would say that would bring comfort to them as we do battle against the coronavirus pandemic. “I would say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Trump snapped.

Utterly, profoundly and unequivocally hideous.

As Politico reported: “What the president did to Peter Alexander is reprehensible,” CNN anchor John King declared after Friday’s press conference.

“It was striking that this came, this, forgive me, bullshit attack on fake news came just moments after the secretary of State said the American people have to be careful about where they get their information and go to sources they can trust.”

It’s too much to ask that Donald Trump ever learn how to behave in moments of crisis. We are in that moment now. The nation is full of citizens who are frightened, out of sorts, anxious and worried. They need the president to give them comfort and to tell them the truth at every turn. They are getting none of it.

Americans deserve far better than what we’re receiving from this individual who is a president in name only.

Oh, how POTUS could have answered that question

Donald John Trump’s ineptitude as president of the United States was on full display today as he excoriated a reporter for asking him a simple, straightforward and totally relevant question.

Trump’s tenure as president is being pummeled by the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

So, at a White House briefing today, Trump took a question from NBC News’s Peter Alexander, who asked the president what he would say to Americans that would comfort them in this time of trial and anxiety in the face of this pandemic.

“I would say that you’re a terrible reporter,” Trump told Alexander.

Wow! Isn’t that simply special?

There he stood at the podium. A reporter asked him to deliver a statement that could lend an air of confidence in the government’s response to the pandemic. Trump then decided to reignite his war against the media, the press that the U.S. Constitution protects against government interference or coercion.

How might Donald Trump have answered the question in a way that could serve a legitimate and valid purpose? Hmm. Let’s try this:

I would tell Americans that your government is working diligently to fix the things that are wrong with its response. We’re trying our best to protect you. We all took an oath to protect Americans against the forces that would do us harm. This “force” is invisible, but it’s an enemy that needs to be destroyed and I, as your president, will commit my waking hours to fulfilling that mission.

Did the president go there? Oh, no! Not even close!

He was given a grooved fastball straight down the middle of the plate … and he whiffed! He threw his bat into the crowd. He did far more harm than good by going after a serious journalist who was doing his job.

I’m going to say this for as long as I am able: Donald Trump is unfit at every level imaginable to be president of the United States.

Trump is coming apart … piece by piece

Peter Alexander is a competent, well-trained, highly respected broadcast journalist who works for NBC News. So, when he asks what he has called essentially a “softball question” of the president, one could expect the president to answer the question forthrightly.

Except that the president happens to be Donald John “Liar in Chief” Trump.

Alexander asked Trump today whether the president’s soft-pedaling of the coronavirus pandemic was giving Americans “false hope” given that the evidence suggests there is reason for Americans to be afraid. “What would you tell Americans?” Alexander asked.

Trump said he would tell them “that you’re a terrible reporter” and “that’s a very nasty question.”

Good grief, man!

Donald Trump today — once again — has shown his utter and categorical unfitness for the job he occupies. He is supposed to be the voice of calm, reassurance, empathy at a time when the public demands it of their president. Instead, we saw another example of the petulance that Trump exhibits when the chips are down, when circumstance requires wisdom.

Americans are dying of coronavirus. Millions of other Americans are concerned to the point of fright over the prospects that they might test positive. The nation still needs more testing equipment. We need more hospital beds. We need a coordinated national response that complements the response that cities, counties and states are mounting to fight this pandemic.

Most of all we need a president who can lead a nation full of citizens who are worrying about their loved ones.

Instead, we have a president who insults a respected reporter who is just doing his job.


We are entering dangerous new territory

Ladies and gents, boys and girls, we have entered a sort of Twilight Zone of American politics.

No one alive today can remember when the FBI opened an investigation into whether the president of the United States was acting as an agent for a foreign hostile power.

Until now. Allegedly.

The New York Times has reported that the FBI launched such a probe after Donald Trump fired James Comey from his post as FBI director. This is uncharted territory, even for a president who has launched many forays into heretofore unwalked paths.

This is, shall we say, dangerous and frightening in the extreme.

The NY Times reports that the FBI was concerned about Trump’s possible Russia connections even before he fired Comey. Indeed, as a Republican presidential candidate, Trump goaded the Russians into looking for those missing e-mails from Hillary Rodham Clinton, the president’s opponent in 2016. Then the president fired Comey in May 2017 and told NBC News anchor Lester Holt that he fired the FBI boss because of “the Russia thing.”

There now appears to be even more fodder — if you can believe it — for special counsel Robert Mueller to examine possible conspiracy to obstruct justice allegations against the president.

As is his custom, Trump fired off about a dozen Twitter messages this morning condemning what he continues to call “the failing New York Times” and “Lyin’ James Comey,” who he described as a “total sleaze” and a “disgrace.”

Comey is not a sleaze. Mueller is not engaging in a “witch hunt.” Trump himself is acting more like a desperate man looking for political cover.

Count me as one American who wants the Mueller probe to end soon and for him to lay all the facts on the table. Millions of Americans’ inquiring minds want to know the truth about their president.

Something tells me it won’t be pretty.

Answer to your question is easy, Mr. POTUS

Donald John Trump fired off another in an endless string of tweets.

He writes: “With all of the Fake News coming out of NBC and the Networks, at what point is it appropriate to challenge their License? Bad for country!”

I can answer that one, Mr. President. It’s never appropriate! Especially not from someone in your position!

NBC News reported that Trump wants to increase the nation’s nuclear stockpile, apparently in response to growing threats from North Korea. The president denies it. NBC stands by its story.

POTUS goes on the attack

Trump calls it “fake news,” which has become his favorite throwaway line to disparage anything he deems negative.

What is “bad for country” is for the president to bully the media, to seek to push reporters, editors and assorted news executives around with threats against their profession.

The president needs to layer on some additional skin. It’s tough out there, man. You ought to know that. Moreover, you ought to accept critical reporting as being part of your job.

Now it’s Rex vs. the ‘Moron’

If you sit in the quietest room you can find, take very shallow breaths and don’t move a muscle, you just might be able to hear the “tick, tick, tick” of a clock.

It would be a device that is ticking down the time that Rex Tillerson has remaining as the country’s secretary of state.

The nation’s top diplomat reportedly thinks his boss, the president, is a “moron.” He said as much in a Pentagon meeting this past summer. He reportedly cannot fathom why Donald J. Trump says and does certain things.

Then, when given a chance today to disavow what NBC News has reported about the “moron” comment, he didn’t do so. He said only that he doesn’t discuss “petty things.” Tillerson said he won’t go there.

He made no denial. He didn’t declare that he believes the president is a genius. No. The “moron” comment stands.

How does any president of the United States — let alone one named Trump — handle this? How should he handle it?

If I were a betting man, I would guess that Rex Tillerson has just written his exit interview from the Department of State.

One can argue all day and half the night into whether Tillerson has done a good job at State. However, I feel quite confident that a lot of Americans way out here past the D.C. Beltway believe as he reportedly does about the president of the United States.

Lift the Jones Act and help Puerto Rico

The United States has a humanitarian disaster unfolding and 3.5 million U.S. citizens are being put in mortal peril.

That peril is potentially being exacerbated by an arcane law that needs to be wiped off the books.

Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria. It requires supplies — food, potable water, clothing and goods that fulfill basic human needs — shipped there from the United States of America. But the Jones Act restricts shipping between U.S. ports by requiring shipping to be built by Americans and to have U.S. citizens as its owners and crew members.

Critics of the 1920 Merchant Marine Act suggest that it is inhibiting relief supplies from being shipped to Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory and whose residents are U.S. citizens.

NBC News reports: Signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson two years after World War I ended, the Jones Act was passed as a protective measure against foreign competition, particularly Germany. By restricting domestic trade to U.S.-flagged vessels with U.S. crews, America would always have a robust fleet of boats and sailors on hand in the event German submarines attacked the U.S.

The law has since found backers in the American maritime industry, which says it supports American jobs. Recent presidents from both parties, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have touted it as crucial to national security because it reduces America’s dependency on foreign-owned vessels.

Except that it’s now seemingly getting in the way of expediting the shipments of supplies to a stricken piece of this country.

Donald J. Trump is resisting the pleas to lift the law, saying that shipping interests are still strongly in support of it.

Good grief, man! The president has executive authority to act. Lift it, if only temporarily. We’ve got some Americans in serious trouble.

They need help from anyone who can provide it, regardless of their citizenship. Now!

Trump remains in Russia-meddling denial

Donald J. Trump got the question straight up and directly: Does he believe the Russians meddled in the 2016 presidential election?

How did the president respond to the question from NBC News’s Hallie Jackson today on the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany? Sure, Russia meddled, but so did other nations, according to Trump. He couldn’t say which nations. They’ve all been doing it for a long time, the president said.

Then he sailed off into what’s becoming the classic Trump tactic: diversion, deflection and denial. He then blamed President Barack Obama’s administration for failing to do anything about Russia when it knew in July of 2016 about reports of meddling. He mentioned that the election didn’t occur until November and then asked, rhetorically of course, “Why didn’t the Obama administration do anything about it?”

Good grief, Mr. President. That’s not the question. The reporter asked about what he believes occurred and whether he stands with the U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessment that Russia acted alone in seeking to corrupt the U.S. electoral process.

Oh, I fear this bodes poorly for the president’s meeting Friday with Russian President Vladimir Putin and whether Trump is going to confront Putin directly on what seemingly the rest of the world apparently knows: that Russia got its hands quite dirty while interfering in the election of the president of the United States.

Is the ‘Russia thing’ a scandal? Not just yet

Some of my lefty friends — OK, maybe more than some of them — are going to dislike this blog post.

Too bad.

I’m struggling with a word I keep seeing in print and hearing on TV and radio. It’s the word “scandal” being used to describe what I like to call “the Russia thing.”

My sense is that “Russia” hasn’t yet risen to the level of scandal. It fits a list of potentially pejorative descriptions: controversy, tempest, tumult. Scandal? I’m not yet ready to go there.

The “Russia thing” is what Donald J. Trump called it when he told NBC News anchor Lester Holt about his reasons for firing former FBI director James Comey. It was “the Russia thing” that caused the president to fire Comey.

We have a special counsel assembling a legal team to investigate whether the Trump 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russian hackers to disrupt and influence the election outcome. At least one former aide, Michael Flynn, has been linked tightly to the Russian government.

The Senate Intelligence Committee is looking, too, at the Russia matter. Not so with the House Intelligence Committee, whose new chairman — Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. — said his panel is keeping its hands off this investigation.

Yes, I’ve seen a whole lot of smoke. There’s even a boatload of circumstantial evidence that appears to be piling up.

Do we have a scandal on our hands? Is the president now been tied up in a “public disgrace,” as the dictionary defines the term “scandal”? Well, I can think of a lot of ways that Trump has disgraced his office; they generally involve his use of Twitter to blast out those idiotic and moronic statements.

Special counsel Robert Mueller, though, is likely going to be the determining factor in whether all this “Russia thing” stuff drags the president and his administration straight into scandal territory.

I’ve sought to avoid using the “s-word” on this blog. I’ll continue to do so — until we all hear from the myriad investigative teams seeking to determine what in the hell happened during the 2016 election.