Let’s acknowledge right up front that the people we’re welcoming to our bosom today are not our friends. George Conway III is a corporate lawyer and a proud member of the Federalist Society. Reed Galen is a veteran political consultant who helped inflict George W. Bush on the Oval Office. John Weaver is another political consultant who tried to give us John McCain and John Kasich as presidents. Steve Schmidt is the political consultant who thought the best choice for vice president in 2008 was Sarah Palin. Rick Wilson, another political consultant, gave us a truly brutal campaign ad that tried to tie war hero Max Cleland to Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. In normal times, we would be pillorying them for the damage they helped inflict on our country. These are not normal times. These five are board members of The Lincoln Project, the “hive mind” of what the mainstream media has giddily dubbed the “Never Trumpers,” a loose coterie of Republicans who have taken what they say is a principled stance against the modern GOP, because it “has abdicated” the responsibility of serving the people and respecting the Constitution, “and instead pledged their loyalty to one person.” I agree completely, but damn, y’all. Sarah Palin? George W. Bush? Sarah Palin? Let’s let them explain a bit: Patriotism and the survival of our nation in the face of the crimes, corruption and corrosive nature of Donald Trump are a higher calling than mere politics. As Americans, we must stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character. … Congressional Republicans have embraced and copied Mr. Trump’s cruelty and defended and even adopted his corruption. Mr. Trump and his enablers have abandoned conservatism and longstanding Republican principles and replaced it with Trumpism, an empty faith led by a bogus prophet. … [Between now and November], our efforts will be dedicated to defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line. Yes, indeed. I agree absolutely. And in normal times, I would continue with a “But” or a “However,” and qualify this new-found resistance to Republican criminality and excess with a reminder of how they were involved and complicit with the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush administration and other nests of GOP wrongdoing. I’m not going to do that for today. In fact, I’m not going to do it between now and November. Because these are not normal times. The five members of the Lincoln Project wrote an op-ed published on April 15 that reads in part: This November, Americans will cast their most consequential votes since Abraham Lincoln’s reelection in 1864. We confront a constellation of crises: a public health emergency not seen in a century, an economic collapse set to rival the Great Depression, and a world where American leadership is absent and dangers rise in the vacuum. Today, the United States is beset with a president who was unprepared for the burden of the presidency and who has made plain his deficits in leadership, management, intelligence and morality. So they’ve taken a step unprecedented in modern American history. They, prominent Republican movers and shakers all, have turned their backs on their party and endorsed Joe Biden […]
I was asked a while back if “Fox News Blonde” was an actual hair color and I said, damn, if it isn’t Clairol is losing money. In all events, this particular cadre of “journalists,” all interchangeable parts as long as the look is right, is Donald Trump’s favorite, and he has hired one, Kaleigh McEnany, to take over as press secretary. Unlike Stephanie Grisham, who never gave a single press conference in nine months, McEnany will be vociferously defending Trump on TV, we are led to believe. Daily Beast: Grisham’s ouster is one of the first major communications personnel shakeups under President Trump’s new chief of staff, Mark Meadows, and another change in an administration that has had almost constant staff turnover. Meadows wants McEnany to focus on defending the president on television, the Times reported. When Trump took office in 2016, Grisham, a campaign aide, was appointed deputy press secretary working alongside short-lived press secretary Sean Spicer. She then became Melania Trump’s communications director and forged a reputation as a dogged defender of the first lady, putting out aggressive statements and defending her during controversial moments like the infamous “I really don’t care, do U?” jacket and a secretive kidney operation in April 2018. Melania issued a statement and I’m not sure what it means, but here it is. Mrs. Trump also issued a statement praising Grisham. “She has been a mainstay and true leader in the administration from even before day one, and I know she will excel as chief of staff,” she said. Maybe Melania thinks Grisham fired Mark Meadows instead of the other way around? In all events, it is going to be very interesting in the White House very quick with McEnany on board. She’s been known in the past for her contentious live-TV meltdowns, so that’s what you can expect to see. I hope you stocked up on popcorn along with toilet paper, the show is about to begin.
This may seem a small thing on it’s face, but it portends a higher reality in Trump world. The aide wasn’t accorded any kind of due process or told specifically what the firing offense was. This kind of ambiguity, along with being thrown off the job suddenly, is not how government workers usually are terminated, to say the very least. This is pure Trump world at it’s worse and it behooves us to take note of it. Here’s a statement from McKenna confirming news. Says there was a complaint lodged against him about “a statement or statements I may have made while on the grounds.” pic.twitter.com/y9LL7O9IxK — Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 25, 2020 Who wants to work in an environment where if you dare breathe a criticism or implied criticism of the boss, you’re instantly fired? Or maybe, you’re “Anonymous” the articulate leaker? Paranoia runs deep with respect to that particular personality. And this is the White House, never forget, a place where people have always wanted to work, a place where a position was considered the capstone of a successful career. But under Trump, it’s a petty hell hole — or as John Kelly phrased it, “It’s a horrible place to work.”
This was originally posted on January 20, 2017, a day which will not live in the annals of comedy. Nobody was in the mood for humor that day. I wrote this piece to get over my depression, because laughter is the best medicine. I re-read the piece the other day and thought, “Oh, if only, if only it had really happened this way!”Crack open a cold one and I hope you enjoy. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! “Donald’s Magical Moving Day, The Movie” by Ursula Faw ESTABLISHING SHOT. EXTERIOR. WASHINGTON, D.C. THE WHITE HOUSE. AFTERNOON. CUT TO: INTERIOR. LONG SHOT. TRUMP STANDING IN THE HALLWAY TALKING ON THE TELEPHONE. TRUMP (on phone) “Kellyanne, where is the bust of Vladimir? I want that for the bedroom. You know how important that is to me. All right, I’ll wait a little while. But I’m not sleeping here tonight if that hasn’t been delivered. That’s right, I feel that strongly about it. What’s that? No, that’s not all. Where’s the rest of Ivanka’s stuff that she made for me?…the nut bowls… I’ll tell you what nut bowls!!! The ones that are made of nickles and quarters that are in the bar down the street at the Trump Hotel! Yes, Ivanka designed those. (pause) What do you mean, you sold those to the Red Roof Inn for cost?! Eye, eye can’t bee-leave this! I was yuugely fond of those nut bowls! I was going to give them as gifts to foreign ambassadors! Where’s the nearest Red Roof Inn, I want you to get them back! (pause) Look, just make sure that my gold leaf gets here because I don’t know exactly what I’ll want to change. This place is yuuuuuge. Oh, and there’s too many pictures here, Kellyanne. The portraits. I don’t want to look at a bunch of paintings of old dead men. Well, I sort of thought that we could maybe get more mirrors — right, brighten the place up. Ok, bye.” SOUND EFFECT “Psst! Psst!” TRUMP (looks around at the sound of hissing; shakes his cell phone) […]
I can’t wait until the Irish Times weighs in on this one, as they assuredly will. On Friday night Donald Trump fired Mick Mulvaney, who had been his acting chief of staff for a little over eleven months. That’s five months longer than Reince Priebus and five months less than John Kelly. Now in comes Mark Meadows to be Trump chief of staff number four, while Mulvaney ships out to become the U.S. Special Envoy for Northern Ireland, a post which is so crucial it has sat unfilled for the past three years. The position of Special Envoy was an idea that Bill Clinton had in order to resolve The Troubles in Northern Ireland. What I’m sure the Irish have already figured out, or they will when they wake up tomorrow and find out that Mulvaney is coming, is that their troubles have only just begun. Mulvaney will be as successful in the role of top diplomat as Oliver Cromwell was as public relations director back in the day. There are plenty of dumb micks messing up life in Northern Ireland and they don’t need the one named Mulvaney, but Donald Trump has spoken and that’s that. New York Times: Mr. Trump’s decision to push out Mr. Mulvaney came as the president confronted a coronavirus outbreak that has unsettled much of the country, threatened the economy and posed a new challenge to his re-election campaign. But the decision was seen as a long-delayed move cleaning up in the aftermath of the Senate impeachment trial as he shuffles his inner circle for the eight-month sprint to Election Day. […] The replacement was widely seen in the West Wing as a chance for the president to reinvigorate his staff, over which Mr. Mulvaney was seen as losing control. In Mr. Meadows, Mr. Trump will have an ally whom he has treated as a confidant and a bellwether of congressional conservatives for much of his term. Mr. Meadows takes over as Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director, returns on Monday in a new role working for Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. The truth of the matter is that there is no chief of staff other than Jared and that’s always been the case. Mulvaney had Trump’s number in 2016 when he called him “a terrible human being.” He should have stayed with that opinion, he’d have saved himself a lot of grief. Let’s wish Mulvaney much happiness in his promotion to the Night Watch. It is cold at that latitude, take a warm coat.
Melania is getting trounced on Twitter, once again, due to yet another vintage tone deaf moment. It’s not as bad as “I Really Don’t Care, Do U,” nothing could be. And it hasn’t quite gotten to the level of “let them eat cake” but we’re getting there. No, Melania is doing a photo op on her pet project, renovating the White House tennis pavilion while Washington burns — more or less. Oblivious. I am excited to share the progress of the Tennis Pavillion at @WhiteHouse. Thank you to the talented team for their hard work and dedication. pic.twitter.com/Wzown2ho26 — Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) March 5, 2020 Earth to Melania: Regular people are worried about the stock market plunging, because even if they don’t have money in it, they know it’s a sign of hard economic times to come and they’re already there. Regular people are concerned about the death toll from the coronavirus mounting, while there’s yet another delay in the promised 2,500 testing kits going out — and now they find out they’re going to have to pay for testing. Ordinary folks are in no position to climb into the bubble world you and hubby exist in, we’re forced to live in the real one. Americans died and lost their homes in Tennessee, but Melania Trump concerned about wasting tax payer money on a tennis pavilion. The victims would appreciate a visit and support.???? #TennesseeTornado #TennesseeStrong — Jules Morgan (@glamelegance) March 5, 2020 My classroom doesn't have books or pencils. — Mari Jeranek Errico (@mteaches) March 5, 2020 And so it goes. Melania is not going to go down in the history books as particularly loved, any more than hubby will. It’s a shame that all of Trump’s money can’t be used to buy a clue. If Melania was on the Titantic, she’d be doing a photo op on recovering the deck chairs and thinking nothing of it. She’s one of the ones guaranteed a life boat. For the rest of us? Glub glub. Yet we’re not supposed to get upset over this idiocy.
Life in Washington these days is definitely a bad reality TV show, no question about it. Characters that have proven unsuccessful when first tried out are now coming back for a second debut — as if anything has changed. And unexpected plot twists are always welcome, such as the one Donald Trump has possibly planned for Richard Grenell. There’s a lot of speculation that John Ratcliffe is being used merely as a place saver, so Trump can do an end run around the rules and keep Grenell around. Read on. You probably remember all the frou frou last summer about Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe being nominated for Director of National Intelligence and the nomination being uniformly laughed out of the Senate, loudest of all by his Republican colleagues, Richard Burr among them. His inflated resume did not fly and in disgrace Ratcliffe withdrew his nomination, but now he’s back and nothing has changed. Chuck Schumer’s comment summarizes the situation neatly. Replacing one highly partisan operative with another does nothing to keep America safe When Putin is interfering in our elections—we need a nonpartisan leader at the helm of the Intel Community who speaks truth to power Neither Richard Grenell nor Rep Ratcliffe comes even close pic.twitter.com/PXYxiQg7Ob — Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) February 28, 2020 But is this the real story? The New York Times points out, Ratcliffe’s nomination might be a smoke screen, so Trump can keep Grenell on board. But just nominating Mr. Ratcliffe creates a benefit for the White House: Once Mr. Trump sends formal nomination papers to the Senate, it will extend the time the current acting director, Mr. Grenell, a favorite of Mr. Trump’s, can remain in the office. And in the minds of some Democrats, that was the president’s goal at a time when he is seeking to impose greater control over the nation’s intelligence agencies after years of tension that started with the intelligence community’s consensus that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election to help Mr. Trump. Under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, Mr. Grenell can serve in his post only until March 11 unless the president formally nominates someone else for the job. Under that law, Mr. Grenell would be able to stay an additional 210 days once Mr. Ratcliffe is nominated. Should the Senate reject Mr. Ratcliffe, Mr. Grenell’s tenure would be extended again. This is something to take a look at and ponder, definitely. But either way that this goes, if Ratcliffe is rubber stamped by the Senate or if it’s a ploy to keep Grenell on board, the bottom line is that the intelligence community and the rule of law both suffer. With either of these two characters, Grenell or Racliffe in charge, the intelligence community would be in Trump’s pocket and greatly hamstrung from doing it’s normal job. This is especially important as the election approaches and pal Putin gears up his efforts to create chaos. The timing on this is not coincidental.
When you’ve written enough ridiculous headlines that are not in fact satire, but are real, it stops mattering after a while. This is yet another one of those times. The Trump administration has hired a 23-year-old senior at George Washington University to assist former Trump body man John McEntee, who is now the head of the Presidential Personnel Office, which oversees hiring across the government. McEntee is 29 and the two twenty-somethings are going to be in charge of hiring and firing, because the Personnel office is now really the Purge office. Oh, and he worked for Ben Carson. Now I know you feel safe. Politico: James Bacon, 23, is acting as one of the right-hand men to new PPO director John McEntee, according to the officials. Bacon, a senior at George Washington University pursuing a bachelor’s degree, comes from the Department of Transportation, where he briefly worked in the policy shop. Prior to that role, while still taking classes, he worked at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he was a White House liaison, according to two other officials. At HUD, he distinguished himself as Secretary Ben Carson’s confidential assistant, according to two other administration officials. Bacon will be PPO’s director of operations overseeing paperwork and will assist on vetting. The role was previously filled by Katja Bullock, who is in her late 70s and was a veteran of the office in both Bush administrations, as well as the Reagan administration. […] The PPO office has been the subject of complaints and finger-pointing by some in the administration over its “frat-house” reputation, but serves an important function for vetting and hiring appointees. With McEntee at the helm of the office, however, it’s expected the president will take a more direct role than he has before. “After three years of allowing others to control who would be around him and have power, he’s trying to take back some of the power and have a say in the staffing in the White House and administration,” a person close to the White House said. “A lot of the people in there weren’t actual allies of Trump, and didn’t actually support his agenda but had significant roles in his administration.” I especially like the part about the previous job holder having been a woman in her seventies. But then again, staffing concerns in the Reagan and both Bush eras were concerned with a trifle more than, “On a scale of one to ten, how much do you hate Donald Trump today?” That question, in this era, is the one and only. This may seem comical now, but it’s going to get sick and perverse very quick.
Donald Trump has rewritten the book on national security. If you want to rise high in the ranks, just be an unreported foreign agent or lobbyist, ala Mike Flynn, and you’ll go far. The latest person to fit this particular role model is Richard Grenell, recently chosen by Trump to oversee all 17 intelligence agencies. ProPublica: In 2016, the Magyar Foundation of North America paid Grenell’s consulting firm, Capitol Media Partners, $103,750 for “public relations” services, according to the foundation’s tax filing. The foundation was funded and supervised by Hungary’s government, according to records obtained by the Hungarian nonprofit news organization Atlatszo. The foundation’s director, Jo Anne Barnhart, had been a registered lobbyist for Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Grenell, however, did not register, even though public relations work on behalf of a foreign government falls squarely under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, according to lawyers specializing in the matter. FARA is the same law that Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and former deputy campaign manager, Rick Gates, were convicted of violating. The work for Hungary is Grenell’s second foreign consulting engagement that was not previously disclosed. On Friday ProPublica reported that Grenell did consulting work on behalf of the Moldovan politician Vladimir Plahotniuc, who the U.S. later said was involved in corruption. Orban and Plahotniuc were both clients of Arthur Finkelstein, who was a Republican political operative for four decades and is credited with having demonized the word “liberal.” “Call your opponent a liberal again and again until voters believe it,” was his strategy. That same strategy may be tried in this year’s election with the word socialist. In any event, a payment of at least $5,000 from Finkelstein’s firm appears on Grenell’s personal financial disclosure form, filed when he became ambassador to Germany. Finkelstein represented former congressman Connie Mack, who was Orban’s lobbyist in Washington, for those of you who like to connect all the dots between the GOP and foreign dictators. Apparently, it’s a connection that Trump can’t live without, because the closer you look into who he nominates and who they in turn do business with secretively, you find dictatorships and unreported financial transactions not too far behind.
You may recall how in 2019, Donald Trump was oh for two with respect to Federal Reserve nominees. Hermain Cain had a history as a sexual harasser and Stephen Moore had made grossly inappropriate comments about women, such as saying that women shouldn’t make more money than men. Those controversies caused both candidates to withdraw before they had to withstand Senate scrutiny. Now Trump has found a woman, Judy Shelton, presumably to offset the two misogynists, and but for the fact that she’s batshit crazy, that might not have been such a bad idea. CNN: President Donald Trump’s Federal Reserve nominee Judy Shelton said in 2011 that the central bank was “almost a rogue agency” in the US government and had become a “behemoth” that couldn’t be trusted with oversight of the dollar. “Our government is promising so much to so many and at the same time we let the government control the value of our money and all of that would really go against the grain with our Founders — who did not see it as the government’s task to supply everything to everybody,” she said. “They saw the government’s task to be to protect private property and that’s why they wanted limited government because they knew,” she added. “It’s just the nature of having power that causes people in power to abuse the privilege. I think we’re now at a point where we have to ask if we can even trust government to regulate the value of our money.” Distrust of government is core wingnut insanity. The absolute last thing we need is this loony calling shots on the Federal Reserve. She’s advocating a return to the gold standard, while the majority of economists, according to CNN, disagree with that idea, saying that it would be “disastrous for the U.S. economy.” Can we just get done with the Trump Era, already, so we don’t have to continually fight these confirmation of the clueless battles?