Skip navigation

Daily Archives: February 1st, 2017

I cannot possibly add anything to this and offer it as a better explanation than I can devise.MA

By Chris Cillizza
January 31, 2017 at 11:44 AM
On Monday night on CNN, Carl Bernstein made this proclamation: “The president and his presidency is in chaos.”
It’s a remarkable statement given that we are only 11 days into the presidency of Donald Trump. It’s also very hard to dispute.
Consider this amazing — and I do mean amazing — WaPo story today about how Trump and his inner circle produced the very controversial executive order instituting a travel ban on refugees and all visitors from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The story details the infighting and blame game among Trump’s top advisers and includes some eye-popping lines.
Among them:
* “Defense Secretary James Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly fumed privately to associates over the weekend because they had been caught unaware by a travel ban that was drafted and set into action largely in secret by the White House, according to three people who have spoken with them.”

* “The problem they’ve got is this is an off-Broadway performance of a show that is now the number one hit on Broadway,” said former House speaker Newt Gingrich of the Trump administration. (Sidebar: Gingrich is an informal adviser to Trump!)
* “A little bit of under-competence and a slight amount of insecurity can breed some paranoia and backstabbing,” one White House official said of White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. “We have to get Reince to relax into the job and become more competent, because he’s seeing shadows where there are no shadows.”
Any one of those lines is problematic in a normal White House. The quote from an anonymous White House official about Priebus who, let me emphasize, is the White House chief of staff, is stunning. If that line was used in “House of Cards,” I would roll my eyes and say it would never happen in real life.
And, it’s not just the Post story that shows the seeming tumult among Trump’s senior advisers. A piece in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday details how Department of Homeland Security chief John Kelly is at odds with the White House over staffing in his organization. A Vanity Fair post details the struggles of Trump son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner as he seeks to exert influence over the president.
Read any one of those stories and the word “chaos” jumps to mind. Or “turmoil.” Or “dissension.” All of them convey the same thing: Less than two weeks into his presidency, there is a knife fight happening daily among Trump’s top aides.

Bernstein clearly meant his chaos comments in a negative way. Chaos, in traditional political thinking, is bad. It suggests a president who doesn’t really have control over his people and a White House that resembles a roller coaster car shuddering as it travels at too high a speed down the tracks.
And, maybe that’s all true. It’s possible that the Trump train is on the verge of jumping the tracks. (Mixed metaphor alert!)
But, every indication from what we know of Trump the businessman and reality TV star suggests that he revels in the chaos, that he believes the chaos produces just the sort of results he likes.
Think back to the “boardroom” on “The Apprentice.” Bring everybody in. Let them attack one another and level allegations. Consult with a few of your consiglieres — George for the win! — and then make a bold and, often, unpredictable decision. Yes, that was a TV show. But it was a TV show created by Trump (and Mark Burnett). That means that the way the show worked came directly out of Trump’s brain and generally speaking represents his view of how things should work.
Remember that for Trump, appearances matter most. And he likes the perception of himself as the decider, the buck-stopper, the only one who can cut through all of the noise and battling egos to make the call. In order to make that image truly work, you need noise around you at all times. So Trump put in place a senior leadership team that would create it.
The other important point here is that Trump believes all of life — business and politics included — amounts to a sort of survival of the fittest/toughest. His critique of Hillary Clinton’s health during the 2016 campaign was based on the idea that anyone who has a weak moment — as Clinton did at a 9/11 memorial service — can’t possibly be up to the top job in the country. For Trump, the constant battles between his aides are a sort of real-life “Survivor” episode. The toughest SOB is the one Trump wants. And only through political combat can that be determined.

The combination of chaos, combat and constant sniping is not a bad thing in the worldview of Donald Trump. In fact, it is the one truly necessary thing.

Please Donate

Please Donate



A short read that sums up a Trump (TOTUS) Presidency and its effect.MA

Ex-Condoleezza Rice aide Eliot A. Cohen also has strong words for conservatives who are working with Trump
Matthew Rozsa

Topics: Donald Trump, Eliot A. Cohen, Frank Lavin, Lezlee Westine, richard w. painter, News, Politics News.

Yet another former official for President George W. Bush has gone on the record criticizing President Donald Trump — this time it’s Eliot A. Cohen, who served as a counselor to former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice from 2007 to 2009.
Trump’s first week as president has already been marred by a “dark and divisive inaugural speech, extraordinary attacks on a free press, a visit to the CIA that dishonored a monument to anonymous heroes who paid the ultimate price, and now an attempt to ban selected groups of Muslims,” Cohen wrote in The Atlantic. He pointed out that “because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better.”
Cohen predicted that Trump’s poor character and choice of advisers will “probably end in calamity — substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have.” Cohen continued, “It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment. The sooner Americans get used to these likelihoods, the better.”
He went on to condemn his conservative friends who are thinking of working with or even for the dangerous new president.
“For the community of conservative thinkers and experts, and more importantly, conservative politicians, this is a testing time,” Cohen wrote. “Either you stand up for your principles and for what you know is decent behavior, or you go down, if not now, then years from now, as a coward or opportunist. Your reputation will never recover, nor should it.”

That said, Cohen ended his article on an optimistic note: “In the end, however, he will fail,” Cohen predicted. “He will fail because however shrewd his tactics are, his strategy is terrible — The New York Times, the CIA, Mexican Americans, and all the others he has attacked are not going away. With every act he makes new enemies for himself and strengthens their commitment; he has his followers, but he gains no new friends.
Added Cohen: “He will fail because he cannot corrupt the courts, and because even the most timid senator sooner or later will say ‘enough.’ He will fail most of all because at the end of the day most Americans, including most of those who voted for him, are decent people who have no desire to live in an American version of Tayyip Erdogan’s Turkey, or Viktor Orban’s Hungary, or Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
Cohen is not the first former Bush administration official to speak out against Trump. In an opinion piece for The New York Times posted earlier this month, former chief White House ethics lawyer Richard W. Painter slammed the president’s numerous conflicts of interest:
“He continues to refuse to release his tax returns, even though many of his cabinet nominees will have to disclose theirs in order to get confirmed by senators skeptical of, among other things, foreign business entanglements,” Painter wrote. “He also did not announce a divestment of ownership interest in his businesses, even though this is a step that his own cabinet appointees will have to take in order to comply with a federal conflict of interest law. Instead, Mr. Trump will simply turn management of the businesses over to a trustee chosen by him, and to two of his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. This is not a separation at all, and from a conflict of interest vantage point, it won’t work.”
Similarly Lezlee Westine, who served as White House director of public liaison and deputy assistant to the president under Bush, endorsed Hillary Clinton in August. Although she didn’t directly attack Trump, her reasons for endorsing Clinton seemed to indicate that she was concerned about Trump’s lack of experience.
“Our nation faces a unique set of challenges that require steady and experienced leadership,” Westine said. “That is why today I am personally supporting Hillary Clinton. She has the expertise and commitment to American values to grow the economy, create jobs and protect America at home and abroad.”
The former political director for president Ronald Reagan, Frank Lavin, returned to the themes of Trump’s character when endorsing Clinton that same month.
“Trump falls short in terms of the character and behavior needed to perform as president,” Lavin wrote. “This defect is crippling and ensures he would fail in office.”

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and his work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

Please Donate

Please Donate

This past year in the campaign season, we have seen and heard some the nastiest rhetoric and lies possibly since the beginning of our country . To start we as voters have all been dissatisfied with what Government does, did and possibly will do. Is it possible that our own participation ( or lack of) is a cause? My opinion: it is! So many of us fail to look at or try understand how one (1) issue affects other people even if we do not live in the same states or cities. Our part has been low voting, uniformed voting and not voting. It seems that many have embraced the new President’s talking points and rhetoric. This type of speech making is as ugly as we can get (hopefully) but has no substance beyond exciting the crowd. The lie appears to be the norm and it is still going on now that the TOTUS is in place. His actions after taking the office appears to be in the vein of a school yard bully who wants what he wants with no idea of what his wants will do to all of us. Campaigns have gotten uglier each time and we (voters) have allowed it and encouraged it. My question: Were we always so ugly?  Going back to 2008, the ascension of Barack Obama gave us a small peek inside the door of racism and intolerance. During and after that campaign that door was flung open to show that we have elected officials pushing the race , religious and women’s issues. These are the same folks we have allowed to continue in office in spite of their obvious issues with how we live. If these representatives were truly working for you, we would not have the President we have today. The tacit encouragement in the rise of  “TOTUS” was in part allowed because the Congress wants what it wants and needs to validate its lack of action. The future is in flux but once settled (if at all) the result could be at the least an economic downturn, at the worst a very unstable economy across the world. The talking heads that now explain the actions of the new President are no more than snake oil salesmen with government jobs. The Dupublican Congress has jumped on the bandwagon possibly out of fear of the new President or have they?. We have only heard from the top leadership so far and only on the House side. Where does the Senate leader stand on all of this? or is he taking his usual wait and see safety net? The latest actions by TOTUS is just the beginning of the tarnishing of the American image in the world and the abrogation of American civility.

Please Donate

Please Donate

%d bloggers like this: