Communication, the lack of it, and lack of coherence in it, seems to be a big problem for the Trump administration. After a brief respite, As The Donald Turns is back with, “Who’s Calling?”
As The Donald Turns; Who’s Calling?
- Donald has spent a couple of days entertaining Emmanuel Macron, the president of France. It’s really embarrassing watching foreign leaders know all they have to do is a little sucking up to Donald to be declared a friend of the U.S.
These two get along well, but if you listen to their speeches, they agree on nothing in terms of policy. Donald keeps speaking about blowing up the Iranian agreement. Macron talks about how the current agreement is a one of many steps. Donald talks about how he does not like negotiating with the European Union. France is a proud member of the EU. Much of the oddities in the communications come in the official press briefings and the unofficial press sprays in the meeting rooms.
Tuesday, Donald had to answer questions about the impending doom of the nomination of his VA Administrator, Dr. Ronny Jackson, the swap of votes to get his Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo out of committee, and his admiration of a certain North Korean dictator.
You did not read that last part incorrectly. Donald said North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has been “very open” and “very honorable.” That is a far cry from “Rocket man” and “fire and fury” of a month or two ago. Obviously there has been no significant change in anything North Korea has done since the name calling.
- During the official press conference with Macron, Donald gave Dr. Jackson the out to step away from the nomination from the Veteran’s Affairs department. Jackson has been the personal physician for the last two presidents. But Donald nominated him for the VA job and no one ever picked up the phone (Hello? Who’s calling please?), to discuss the vetting process. It is one thing to be a qualified doctor, but once they started actually vetting Jackson, there was a litany of bipartisan problems with his background. This is why candidates are supposed to be vetted before the president sticks his neck out for them with a nomination. Donald likes to just designate people he likes, whether they are qualified or not. The fact that there seems to be alcohol issues with Jackson would be bad enough as the president’s physician. It could be worse running the second biggest administration in the US government.
- Donald also managed to wiggle out of a problem with his Secretary of State nominee, Mike Pompeo. Of course, Pompeo has been director of the CIA, but Donald wants him as Rex Tillerson’s replacement at the State Department. Just because you can do one, it is not an automatic that you are qualified to do the other. It also leaked out during the vetting process that Pompeo had not been truthful about his military service. He was in the Army during the first Gulf War. But, he never served in combat as he had reported on his resume and personal web sites both as a congressman and as CIA Director. Clearly, no one had picked up the phone and done the needed vetting. The Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a Republican or two had issues with Pompeo’s nomination. Predictably, the most vocal Republican opponent was Rand Paul.
He went before all the TV cameras for two weeks discussing his issues with Pompeo. In typical Rand Paul fashion, once he got all the attention he needed, and got a phone call from Donald, (Who’s calling?), he flipped his vote to a yes. The nomination made it out of committee and will pass the full senate later this week. Nevermind that a couple of weeks ago Pompeo appeared on a conspiracy radio show and claimed that Muslim fundamentalism was growing in small town America…you know…the parts that overwhelmingly voted for Donald.
- Nominations from the president can be a tricky thing to maneuver. Sarah Huckabee Sanders this week asked, “Do Democrats love this country more than they hate this president?” Would she have asked the same of Arkansas Senator and Donald Fan-Boy Tom Cotton a couple of years ago? He lashed out at the Democrats on the Senate committee for the way they were handling the Pompeo nomination.
“Democrats, especially on the Foreign Relations Committee, are really engaged in shameful political behavior,” Cotton tweeted during the week.
Naturally, in this day and age of everything stays with us forever in the digital world, it was easy to go back and remind ourselves that it was Cotton who held up an Obama nominee until she died. Cassandra Butts, a friend of President Obama’s since law school, and was Deputy White House Counsel. She died on May 26, 2016 at the age of 50 — 835 days after he nominated her to be the ambassador to the Bahamas. It was Cotton who admittedly put a hold on her nomination in retaliation for a Secret Service leak regarding a GOP congressman. Butts died and then Cotton released his hold.
- Surely, double speak in DC is common place. At her Monday press-briefing, Sanders, was asked about the Muller investigation, and a potential pardon for wannabe-attorney Michael Cohen. She said the White House would maintain its policy to not comment on the investigation. She then went on to remind us all that it is a hoax, and it was time to bring it to an end, (no comments though).
And hey, here is a thought. Someone should call Sarah and have her read her boss’s twitter feed; the one where he tweeted 10 times over the weekend about the investigation, (as well as another 17 times about other issues). Yeah, no comment.
- It’s just as well. The comments they do make, turn out to be dubious in terms of the truth anyway. Donald twice gave James Comey an alibi for why a salacious report about the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow couldn’t be true. He said he never even spent the night in Russia during that trip, according to Comey’s memos about the conversations. But now flight records obtained by Bloomberg show he lied to Comey. This matches Donald’s social media posts from the same time. What happened in Moscow is of course the stuff of crazy stories. It does not prove the obstruction of justice that is the ultimate problem for this administration in the investigation. What it does do, however, is show that whether it is something as simple as details given by the press secretary, or handling the vetting for important cabinet positions, this administration is sloppy with the truth at best, and patently dishonest at worst. Some sage words from Congressman Eric Swalwell, “Every juror in America is told, ‘If you find that any witness has lied as to any material fact, you may disregard that witness’s entire testimony.’”
- Donald still has a lot of work to do, regardless of all these distractions. And thank goodness he has a personal cell phone with a good data plan, and unlimited calling minutes. Yes, he is using his own cell phone more and more to make official calls, according to multiple media outlets.
The reason, is that it keeps calls from going through the White House switchboard, and thus are not subject to monitoring by Chief of Staff John Kelly. Yes, Donald is now finding ways to go around his own chief of staff. And oh, the phone is not encrypted. Hey, it’s not like any foreign country has ever found a way to influence Donald. “Who’s calling please? Yeah, this is Donald! Where’s my burger order?”
Like we said, Donald still has a country to run. There is the TPP to trash, the Iranian Nuclear deal to trash, the Paris Climate Accord to Trash, NAFTA to trash, a wall to never build. And there is the pending meeting with the honorable rocket man, Kim Jong Un. It occurs to us that only two Americans have ever met the North Korean dictator; CIA Director Mike Pompeo…and Dennis Rodman.
We guess that makes Donald the logical next step.