Boomer opinion: lamenting non-stop White House crises

We often say it about technology, transportation, communication: the world is moving so much faster than it did when we were just kids. But according to BoomerCafé co-founder and executive editor Greg Dobbs, it’s just as true about politics. In this Boomer Opinion piece, which is Greg’s personal take and not necessarily the opinion of BoomerCafé, he laments the non-stop crises these days in Trump World.

As older baby boomers will remember, even the Cuban Missile Crisis took 13 days.

Soviet missiles in Cuba, 1962.

Today though, in Trump World, 13 days is an eternity. There’s not enough space in this column to catalogue, let alone absorb, let alone understand, the past 13 days in Trump World. Any 13 days in Trump World.

So let’s look at just one. Just 24 hours — a span from May 2nd to May 3rd — in the rat-a-tat-tat world of Donald Trump.

The big news was, of course, that Trump did, after all, pay back his personal lawyer Michael Cohen the $130,000 that Cohen had spent to try to silence porn star Stormy Daniels. A waste of good money, by the way; Stormy is not a woman to be silenced.

In the pre-Trump world, the admission by the president’s new lawyer Rudy Giuliani that the president had “funneled” that money through Michael Cohen’s law firm — sure, some might just call it “money laundering” but let’s not get hung up on semantics — could be enough to sink a different president. But not this one.

Rudolph Giuliani, the President’s lawyer.

In the pre-Trump world, the admission by the president himself that he was complicit in the payment of hush money, after flatly saying “No” when reporters on Air Force One asked just a month ago if he’d known about the payment to Ms. Clifford, could be enough to sink a different president. But not this one. (And we won’t even get into the connivance of his staff, like press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who said in early March, “I’ve had conversations with the president about this. He has denied all these allegations.”

Melania must be spinning in her stiletto heels.

Mind you, to hear the President tell it in his Thursday morning tweet (and by “Thursday morning,” I mean 4:46AM, which suggests this president is not the cool cucumber he would have you believe), all this proves is, “Money from the campaign, or campaign contributions, played no roll in this transaction.” But this only raises a bigger question — maybe the big question: which Donald Trump are we supposed to believe? The one who said “No,” or the one who now says “Yes?”

As if we actually wondered whether to trust Trump before this.

Michael Cohen, the President’s handyman lawyer.

And I can’t resist pointing out — even though this goes back a whole week — that in late April, Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded the Fifth Amendment. He’s free to, of course, but one can’t help but bring back the words of Donald Trump himself during his campaign about people who plead the Fifth: “The mob takes the Fifth Amendment. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the Fifth Amendment?” Maybe he needs to ask his lawyer. Come to think of it, when Trump’s lawyer needs a lawyer, maybe Trump needs yet another one himself.

Now, a personal digression: this whole story that Trump did indeed repay Michael Cohen, which until now he had denied and so had Cohen, came up Wednesday night when new lawyer Giuliani spilled the beans on Fox to Trump sycophant Sean Hannity. Now, had Giuliani told this story to me back when I worked as a reporter, I might have asked him a fairly obvious question like, “So are you saying that up til now, Trump has been lying?” Hannity evidently didn’t think that was important.

But mentioning Giuliani is a good segue to a second strange scene on just this one day in Trump World. Namely, Giuliani’s Thursday morning announcement — again on Fox — that three Korean-Americans being held in a prison in North Korea will soon be released.

Normally, we would treat this as good news — great news — and leave it at that.

But here’s one reason why we can’t: because the last time we looked, Giuliani was not the Secretary of State, he was just the president’s lawyer. That might explain why— and excuse me for my obsolete outlook but wouldn’t State normally be the one to make such an announcement, or maybe even the White House?— the State Department could only say in a statement after Giuliani’s second bombshell in this single 24-hour period, “We cannot confirm the validity of these reports.”

They can’t, but Giuliani can?

And, it’s all debated and argued about non-stop on cable TV news.

And here’s a second reason why such good news can still only leave us scratching our heads: Trump’s tweet on the topic. “As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail.” Actually Mr. President, no one is aware of that, since only one of these three prisoners has been held by the North Koreans since “the past Administration,” meaning Obama’s, was in office. The other two were taken prisoner last year when, in case anyone’s memory is fuzzy on the timing, the man in the White House was none other than … sit down for this … Donald Trump.

Which is a segue of sorts to the third blockbuster in this single 24-hour day, and it really kind of ties everything together: Trump’s first-ever visit, Wednesday, to the State Department. That alone should alarm people, that after more than a year-and-a-quarter in office Trump never paid a visit til now, but what struck me was what he said to State’s employees once he got there.

Greg Dobbs

And if you think I’m talking about his remark about “more spirit than I’ve heard from the State Department in a long time, many years,” I’m not. Although it does prompt the question, How. Would. He. Know? if he’s never been there before now?

But no, I’m talking about another uniquely Trumpian statement when referring to new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s first-in-his-class status at West Point: “I’ve also heard I was first in my class at the Wharton School of Finance. And sometimes when you hear it, you don’t say anything, you just let it go.” He sure should, since although he has made such a claim many times, it just ain’t true. A look at the school newspaper, The Daily Pennsylvanian, from Trump’s year, 1968, shows a list of 56 students on the Dean’s List. No mention of Trump. A look at the graduation program the same year lists 20 award winners at Wharton. As well as Class of ’68 recipients of cum laude, magna cum laude, and summa cum laude honors. Again, no Trump.

Too bad, really, that the small scandal with President Trump’s personal physician— admitting that his incandescent account of Trump’s health during the campaign was actually written by the candidate himself— came the day before all the rest of this. I guess if we had simply compared its language to the classic narcissistic hyperbole we hear from the President every day— phrases like “astonishingly excellent,” and “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency”— we’d have known they were Trump’s own self-admiring words before Dr. Bornstein admitted it.

Dr. Harold Bornstein

It’s not as if the statements and events and reversals and lies of this one 24-hour span of time is any big revelation. You could pick just about any 24-hour period and come up with just as much. It is non-stop crisis. Constitutional and otherwise.

Do you remember, just two days before the 2016 election, when Trump said that his opponent Hillary Clinton’s “current scandals and controversies will continue throughout her presidency,” and that it would be “impossible for her to govern?”

It sounds almost peaceful.

Greg’s book about the wacky ways of a foreign correspondent, Life in the Wrong Lane, is available now as an audiobook — which Greg narrates himself — and can be preordered to download right here.

 

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17 Comments

  1. But yet we elected this fool. His personality disorder is not new. The election of the traveling circus of Trump is a disgrace that both parties share. The Republicans for nominating him, then choosing party over country, then remaining silent while he disgraces the Executive Office of the President, the constitution and basic human dignity. The Democrats for not being able to win the election. Shame on them. How can you get so out of touch with the electorate that you lose to a man, without the knowledge, experience, character, integrity, interest or love of country it takes to be the President.

  2. I heard a pundit recently say that Trump has ushered in the “post-truth era in America.” Nothing Trump says can be believed because we know his statements will be found to be falsehoods or untruths or self-serving lies.

    I never before heard the phrase “walk-back” before Trump was elected but today we are in the era when anything Trump says must be taken with a grain of salt. The White House will “walk-back,” clarify or correct any and all of his boasts.

    I think Trump is nothing more than a gangster-type of con artist who is taking our country into a dark period of history.

    1. “falsehoods or untruths or self-serving lies”, huh? Politifact awarded their Lie of the Year: ‘If you like your health care plan, you can keep it’. I don’t think I need to remind you who promised us that. Repeatedly.
      Want another? “I did not have sex with that woman.”
      Another? Hilary. Says she “never received nor sent any material that was marked classified” on her private email server while secretary of state. Would be laughable had it not been a gaping hole in classified infosec.

      1. Alright, 1 lie each from people who are not the current president. Compare to the dozen plus confirmed weekly by this current disgrace to the office.

        1. Simply one example from each. I won’t turn this forum into FB. If you want a laundry list, it exists; just ask Google.

    1. By saying “BOTH” Clintons, are you under the impression that someone beside Bill Clinton has been President? And, why do you only mention Democrats?

      1. I think Rex is fair, inasmuch as Greg never mentions Democrat screwups when he posts an Opinion piece. This is his opinion, not his news reporting.

        1. Thanks for pointing out the obvious. He is reporting his opinion on numerous facts and well reported truths.

    2. Can you give me a clue as to what clue you are referring to here. Those administrations and Hillary have been investigated. Have you looked into the current one. Or has it been more convenient to just turn a blind eye?

  3. Very good piece. I became a journalist because of Watergate, at least one good thing about this is that investigative journalism is back, and more young adults are going to j-school. But the cable news machine is disgusting. I’m so tired of 24/7 “breaking news” that is just mere speculation. Honestly, no one but Mueller and his team knows what they know. The rest of us will need to wait for justice to play out (if it is allowed to)

  4. Well I can go to AOL’s portal and get their daily dose of Trump hate, sad to see it here. In the last presidential election, Hillary was supposed to win. The fix was in. The FBI, which under Obama, became the DNC’s secret police, exonerated Hillary, even allowing her and her team to destroy evidence. At the same time, the FBI got warrants to spy on their political opposition, private citizen and candidate, Donald Trump. Despite the efforts of the FBI, the Justice (the corrupt kind) Department, and most of the media on their side, the democrats and Hillary lost the election (don’t tell me we have to trash the electoral college, okay, we’re all not stupid) , and Trump and his supporters won.

    Ever since, the opposition has been trying to unseat him (Trump) with a relentless, 24/7 siege of lies, innuendo, dirt and, of course, an army of lawyers. It is unprecedented. And if the Left succeeds in ripping the vote away from the half of the country that put Trump in Power, it will be the end of our system, in my opinion, and we will be well on our way to becoming a one-party state, like Venezuela, China, or Russia, that one-party being the democrat party. And to be clear, I don’t fault only the democrat pols, but also the dirty, rotten, cowardly republicans who for the last year or so have stood around with their hands in their pockets as the deep state attempts to take Trump down.

    The only thing I wonder about is what will happen if the Left succeeds. How long before we see more antifa fascists beating up people who have a different political opinion, how long before we see a series of Ruby Ridge government-triggered attacks on private citizens who legally own guns, how long before the country is irrevocably changed by importing huge numbers of people who not only do not speak our language, English, but have no history or tradition of representative democracy and our wonderful Constitution?

    There are some on the Left that now see that things have gone too far, Alan Dershowitz, for one. I believe that many on the Left know in their heart that what they are doing to others, criminalizing speech, thought, taking away constitutional rights, however, they feel emboldened because after eight years of Obama, they had the full force of the government on their side. Things never stay the same and what goes around comes around. This can only end very badly.

    1. I agree with Paul. Previous administrations made no headway in getting the two Korean leaders to the table, although the results of that are yet to be seen. Given history, I have my doubts this is anything but drama on North Korea’s part; but I’m willing to be convinced otherwise. Proof will need to be verifiable.

  5. Korea? North Korea blew up their nuclear testing facilities, and that’s why Kim is suddenly ‘sitting at the table’.

    But no matter. I appreciate Trump for taking me down the Rabbit Hole and getting me away from all that nasty and depressing news, by making the news all shiny and bright and fun. Who needs the Funny Farm! We’re all living in it.

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