As Trump melts down, can America survive?

As the phony, scandal-ridden administration of Donald Trump continues to unravel, historians and political pundits find more and more parallels between the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and previous national disgrace Richard Nixon.

Trump’s lies-driven presidency is disintegrating in front of a nation that wishes the national nightmare in Washington ends without further damage.

Michael Gerson of The Washington Post calls it “fractured politics.”  It is much more that.  America itself is broken and we have a shortage of the honorable men and women who arose in the early 1970s to bring down Nixon and his cabal.

Writes Gerson:

The Trump era offers many such examples of life imitating melodrama. Recently, the New York Times reported that this past spring President Trump pressured then-White House counsel Donald McGahn to push the Justice Department to start a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton and James B. Comey. (McGahn, to his credit, warned that such an action could lead to impeachment.) Other reports indicate that Trump repeatedly asked Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and Matthew G. Whitaker, who was then chief of staff to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, how the Justice Department was progressing in its investigation of Clinton.

The examples pile up. Remember that Trump — knowing that his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn, had lied to the FBI — allegedly asked the then-director of the FBI, Comey, not to prosecute Flynn and to say publicly that Trump himself wasn’t under investigation. When Comey resisted, Trump fired him. Then the president asked Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and Adm. Michael S. Rogers, then the director of the National Security Agency, to publicly affirm that there was no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. (They, to their credit, did not comply.)

All this is Nixonian by any measure. Both Trump and Nixon share the same ideology of power — a belief that, because their enemies are ruthless, they must be more ruthless still. Both men share an obsession with hidden enemies that actually produces more hidden enemies. And both men share a view of the executive branch involving the total subservience of every public official who reports to the president.

Historian Mark Updegrove, in an interview with Hill.TV, says comparing Trump to Nixon is not fair to Nixon.

“Nixon is a complicated character,” suggests Updegrove, CEO of the LBJ Foundation in Austin, Texas. “But you have to remember Nixon was incredibly experienced before he came into office.”

He adds:

He knew the way the government worked and he had an incredible intellectual curiosity. Nixon was a congressman, he was a senator, he was vice president for Eisenhower for eight years, he was the Republican nominee in 1960, failed, then lost to John F. Kennedy before becoming president himself in 1968.

Undegrove argues that Nixon’s record of public service — even a record that is questionable — puts even the only president to resign in pubic disgrace above the pitiful actions of a double-talking real estate shyster and former “reality show” host.

Trump’s incompetence, lack of knowledge and brazen dishonesty, painfully illustrates what happens when a con man gets elected to the highest office in our land by a minority of voters.

Those who have watched, assisted and covered presidents in this nation says Trump is melting down at an increasingly and shameful display of mental madness.

Let’s hope it escalates and continues without destroying our way of life.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Domino effect? Will Pruitt’s downfall also sink Trump?

Scandal-ridden EPA administrator Scott Pruitt finally resigned Thursday amid at least 14 investigations into his sordid misuse of taxpayer funds and outright corruption, becoming the latest appointee exposed in the most corrupt presidential administration in modern times, if not the entire history of America.

Pruitt’s misuse of power, which continued unabated while Donald Trump and the Republican Congressional leadership looked the other way, has been called “a range of scandals not seen since the Teapot Dome affair.”

Writes right-wing columnist Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post:

His corruption was astounding — from his order of a $43,000 soundproof booth to first-class air travel at taxpayers’ expense to a $50-a-night condo rental from a lobbyist’s spouse to his use of aides to run errands on government time to his pursuit of a cushy job for his wife, there seemed to be no item that was too small to snatch and no item too big to turn down. In any other administration, he would have been gone months ago.

She adds:

He has not divested himself of ongoing businesses which he continues to profit from. He continues to receive foreign emoluments, although multiple lawsuits seek to end what may be a constitutional violation. And the president has employed relatives who have their own conflicts, such as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, giving foreign governments the impression that they could use his financial situation to advance their interests with the U.S. government.

In other words, a perfect appointee for a corrupt president like Donald Trump.

She concludes:

The most dishonest and corrupt administration in about a century is only marginally improved by the departure of Pruitt. Only with serious oversight (which likely will come only from a Democratic majority in one or both houses) can we hope to fumigate the administration. In the meantime, Congress needs to beef up ethics reporting and enforcement, make disclosure of the president’s tax returns mandatory and stiffen penalties for violations of ethics rules. Only then will we restore a modicum of normalcy to the government, which has come to resemble a corrupt banana republic.

Norman L. Eisen, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and chairman of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, and Noah Bookbinder, executive director of that group and a former federal corruption prosecutor, say Pruitt’s problems could well be the start of the end of the corrupt reign of Trump.

They write in The New York Times:

Given the extent of Mr. Pruitt’s scandals and the damage he leaves behind, it is a wonder that he survived so long. Some may point to the fact that he doggedly pursued Mr. Trump’s environmental agenda, including the shredding of Obama-era commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions in the power and transportation sectors, but we are not convinced — after all, that effort didn’t work out as well as he had hoped.

A more likely explanation is that Mr. Trump did not want to let Mr. Pruitt go because the president was afraid of what it might mean for him. Mr. Trump too has endured in the face of mounting investigations and litigation. Between the Russia investigation, Michael Cohen’s potentially impending cooperation with the government, and a raft of civil cases, Mr. Trump surely knows that the legal flood around him is rising. Did he put off firing Mr. Pruitt because he was afraid to admit the taint of scandal on his administration?

Dana Milbank of The Post agrees:

While the media, and the Democrats, were getting all worked up about the mattress and the lotion and Chick-fil-A and Disneyland and the phone booth and the bulletproof seats and the rest of Pruitt’s penny-ante corruption, relatively little attention was going to the emoluments, which are of much greater value: Ivanka Trump’s trademarks and Jared Kushner’s investors and foreign governments pumping millions into Trump properties.

Now Pruitt is gone, and Trump is about to be caught with his tactical pants down.

We can hope.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

 

 

 

Donald Trump: Racist, bigot, hater and crook

Someone on Facebook Wednesday, upset at my criticism of the current corrupt occupant of the White House, claimed that I — and all other Americans — must “support our president, right or wrong.”

Wrong.

As Americans, we have the right — and many would say the duty — to not support any president or elected official who does not do his or her job.

The complainer also said we “must respect the office of the president.”

Hogwash.  How can we respect a “president’ who, himself, shows no respect for the law, the Constitution or the office?

Consider just a few of the facts (something Donald John Trump ignores):

Our “president” paid off a porn movie star in an effort to keep her quiet about a sexual encounter he claimed never happened.  If it never happened, why shell out more than a hundred grand to keep her quiet?

Our “president” is under investigation by the New York state attorney general’s office for multiple violations of the law for using his “charity” to fund his personal expenses, reward campaign contributors and commit other illegal acts.

The federal special counsel investigating potential conflicts of interest by Trump and his campaign, along with obstruction of justice, is closing in with the help of the “president’s” former personal attorney who knows a lot about the illegal, immoral and unethical actions or the man that some suggest we should “support” and “respect.”

many of his “executive orders” have been deemed unconstitutional by federal courts.

Proven “fact checking” services, including those of CNN, the BrookingS Institution and others, find Trump has lied more than 3,000 times during his presidency, an all-time high, by a huge margin among those who have served in the office.

“The recent disputes over President Trump’s language during bipartisan negotiations over the fate of DACA and his claims about the U.S. trade balance with Canada illustrate his tenuous relationship with the truth,” says James Pfiffner of the Brookings Institution. “When a president continues to insist that his previous false statements are true, the institutions of government become corroded and democracy is undermined.”

The American flag flew upside down at our home on the Fourth of July, a recognized symbol of America in distress.  America is in serious distress because of the racist, bigot and hater who is its president.

Incredibly, Trump’s ardent supporters claim he is not racist but how else can one describe a man openly supported by white supremacist and racist hate groups, who said those involved in a racist rally in Charlottesville that left a woman dead were “people of good moral value,” who disparages Muslims, people of color and immigrants.

Trump’s real estate company has been cited multiple times by federal agencies for trying to avoid renting apartments to African Americans.  When he owned casinos, he did not want to hired black accountants, saying: “Black guys counting my money!  I hate it.  I think such a guy is lazy and laziness is a trait in blacks.”

“When you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas,” claims an old saying.  Those who endorse and support Trump should be scratching until their skin bleeds.

During my time on the dark side as a political operative, I worked for two presidents:  Ronald Regan and George H.W. Bush.  I served three Congressman: One as press secretary, another as chief of staff and the third as a special assistant on the House Science & Technology Committee.

For five years, I was vice president for political programs for The National Association of Realtors and supervised what was then the largest political action committee in Washington.

These roles gave me some insight into how government works — and more often doesn’t work — and what might make a good or bad president.

During that time, I only met a few elected officials worthy of support or respect.  Too many were bottom feeders.

None, however, reached the depths of corruption, dishonesty or treachery than the current occupant of the White House.

In my considered opinion of one who has been there and served those who ran the government — Donald John Trump is a racist, a bigot, a hater and a corrupt man who is looting America to serve his personal greed and massive ego.

He is a traitor who should be in prison and not destroying America from his perch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

It’s mourning in America on this July 4th

In The New York Times, a newspaper I honor and respect, the lead editorial raises the question: “America started over once.  Can we do it again?”

The editorial focuses on America’s 14th Amendment, which redefined America 150 years ago after the civil war that tore the nation apart.

Noted the Times:

Another truth soon became self-evident: If America was to survive, it would have to be reborn. That rebirth was embodied — after 80 years and a brutal civil war — in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, which together represented a radical recommitment to our first and highest principles. They outlawed slavery, made the newly freed slaves American citizens and guaranteed their right to vote.

The 150th anniversary of ratification of the 14th Amendment arrives Monday, July 9, also the day that controversial and contentious president Donald John Trump promises to announced his selection as nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court justice Antony Kennedy.

That nominee will be a hard-core conservative destined to turn the highest court in the land into a right-wing body expected to overturn legal abortion in this country, strip the right of same-sex couples to marry and rollback many other rulings in the coming months and years.

During his campaign for the presidency, Trump said “the 14th Amendment is very questionable as to whether or not somebody can come over and have a baby and immediately that baby is a citizen, O.K.?”

American law guarantees “birthright citizenship” but our president routinely ignores laws he doesn’t like if they get in his way, which many often do.  He embraces “white nationalism” and is a known racist and bigot.  He has worked to pack federal courts of all levels with those who embrace his racist views.

For example, more than half a dozen of Trump’s federal judicial nominees went on record to disagree with the Supreme Court’s landmark decision of Brown v. Board of Education, which outlawed racial segregation of public schools.

As we try to celebrate America’s birthday, let’s remember that Trump, in his campaign, promised to seek removal of the 14th Amendment “in my second term.”

And what does this 14th Amendment say?  This:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Donald Trump wants that amendment removed from the U.S. Constitution.  On Monday, he will nominate a man he hopes will make that happen.

In America today, we pause to celebrate a nation currently led by a racist, a bigot, a hater and…a traitor.

We should be in mourning.

Better yet, we must work night and day to drive this traitor from our government our beloved nation and our lives.

That, and only that, will make America great again.

_______________________________________________________

Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue

Lies, damn lies & anything Donald Trump says

Donald John Trump promised to be “different” as candidate for President.  He promised to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists and corruption in Washington, to cut taxes on the wealthy and restore jobs and dignity to our government and nation.

“I keep my promises,” he claimed over and over.

Like so much of what he says, he lied even about not lying.

He promised to use the economic clout of Medicare to force lower drug prices and claimed his predecessor, Barack Obama, kowtowed to the drug companies and curried favor.

Last week, Trump finally unveiled is plan to control drug costs.  How?  With incremental steps that are so minuscule that even drug industry stocks rallied at the news.  The changes might mean lower prices a little for a few seniors.

Mark up another abandoned populist promise by Trump.  The swamp is even bigger and making more money for him and his rich cronies.

Trump promised to “get tough on Wall Street” and tax hedge fund manager.  Didn’t happen.

He promised to push for a $1 trillion infrastructure package that he claimed would create millions of jobs.

Instead, he decided to deregulate Wall Street, cut taxes for the hedge fund rich and forgot about the infrastructure promise.

Trump’s many lies resurrected an old political joke of “how do we know when our President is lying?  When his lips move.

He also promised to release his tax returns after the election in 2016.  Has anyone seen them?  Maybe Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is still investigating Trump, his obstructions of justice and collusion with Russia.

He promised a “detailed and full press conference” to answer questions about First Lady’s failure to use a work visa while being paid as an immigrant in this country.  Melania Trump lied at the Republican Convention about a college degree she never had and report suggest she also lied in her application for citizenship, which would make her an illegal alien.  The press conference?  Still waiting.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, there are three kinds of lies in America:  Lies, damn lies and anything Trump says.

Bottom line?  Donald Trump is a lying SOB that does not deserve our support or our allegiance.

___________________________________________________________
Copyright © 2018 Capitol Hill Blue