Category Archives: US News

Was last week the worst of Trump’s Presidency?

Fear
It has been an awful press week for Donald Trump. On Monday, a new book was published by Bob Woodward called Fear: Trump in the White House. This book claims to feature a number of sources close to the President outlining the chaos and disunity at the heart of Trump’s administration. Among other things it says:

  • Aides have hid government papers from the President to “protect the country”.
  • Trump’s Chief of Staff, John Kelly, described the President as “unhinged” and it said it was the worst job he had ever had.
  • Trump failed a practice interview with the US Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, and would have perjured himself if the interview were real.
These are startling revelations of the dysfunctionality of the Trump White House and the lack of faith that Trump’s staff, including his closest advisors, have in his leadership.
The usual defensive manoeuvre of Trump is to go immediately on the attack. His first salvo is usually to attack the credibility of the person commenting on or criticising him. True to form, he did this on Twitter:

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However, it is difficult to attack a journalist with the credentials that Bob Woodward has. Alongside Carl Bernstein it was Woodward who exposed the Watergate Affair in the 1970s, an event that would eventually see the downfall of President Nixon.
Importantly, Woodward has written books about numerous Presidents, both Republican and Democrat. Trump’s suggestion that Woodward is a Democratic operative does not stick when some of Woodward’s harshest criticisms have been directed towards Democratic Presidents, like Bill Clinton.

Woodward's books

Some of Woodward’s previous books that have been critical of both Democratic and Republican Presidents.

Trump has become used to criticism from the press. Every time he brandishes any form of criticism as “fake news”, the media form an ever more united front. Trump’s supporters rally against the media in response. This book from Woodward is different. Woodward is journalistic royalty. He does not tweet regularly, he does not do salacious gossip, his work is research based and he is broadly admired and respected as the epitome of what American journalism should be. Trump cannot win a war of credibility with Bob Woodward.

Things got even worse for Trump on Wednesday when an anonymous White House Senior Official wrote an op-ed for the New York Times. In the article it started by saying:
“ President Trump is facing a threat to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader. It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall. The dilemma – which he does not fully grasp – is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations”
Particular points made in the article are that:

  • The President acts in a “manner that is detrimental to the health of the republic”
  • The root of the problems are due to the President’s “amorality”
  • Trump’s “impulses are generally anti-democratic”
  • Members of the Cabinet have whispered about invoking they 25th Amendment, one of the few mechanisms through which a President can be removed from office.
The article is truly extraordinary. Of course, attention has turned to who could be behind the article. There are even suggestions that the author could be Vice-President, Mike Pence. This suggestion is due to the use of the unusual word “lodestar” in the article, a word that it is known that Pence uses frequently. In any normal circumstances it would be inconceivable that a Vice-President would write such an article about a sitting President. However, these are not normal circumstances. Donald Trump’s administration is unique.
The atmosphere in the West Wing is consistently described as toxic. Since becoming President, Donald Trump has lost 35 of his Senior Staff, as illustrated by this graphic:

White House

Correct at March 2018. Red = Departed. Black = Still in place. Credit to Bloomberg.com. Full Article – https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-white-house-staffing/

The pressure is already growing on Trump. If the Democrats can flip the House of Representatives in the November Mid-Terms, it will become worse.

Will the GOP and Democrats be able to avoid a Federal Shutdown?

A sign on the National Mall tells visitors of the closures do to the federal government shutdown in Washington

If the US Congress fails to pass a bill which funds the Federal Government, it results in a Federal Shutdown. During a shutdown all government services that are not deemed to be essential are closed. This can mean that hundreds of thousands of Federal bureaucrats are sent home, without pay. They will not be allowed to work until a new funding agreement has been reached.

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Fire and Fury and the 25th Amendment

This week an explosive new book called Fire and Fury: Inside the White House was published. The book was written by journalist Michael Wolff who claimed to have ‘fly on the wall’ access to the White House and its staff.

Fire and Fury

Wolff’s book has caused a storm across Washington

Among the key claims in the book are:

  • Members of Trump’s campaign team were certain he would not win. It is claimed that Kellyanne Conway, his campaign manager, was already job-hunting before Election Day.
  • Trump eats so much fast-food because he is worried about being poisoned.
  • That the First Lady, Melania Trump, was disappointed by Trump’s election victory.
  • Staff in Trump’s White House describe him as ‘Child-Like’.

The book featured ‘on the record’ interviews with former Trump campaign strategist Steve Bannon. Among the claims about the Trump administration by Bannon were:
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Should Trump’s UK State Visit be Cancelled?

Trump and May

There has long been opposition to Donald Trump’s agreed State Visit to the United Kingdom. Indeed, an e-petition that said that it should not take place was signed by over 1.8 million Britons. As such, it was debated in Westminster Hall on the 27th February 2017. Many MPs voiced their opposition to the visit, but the Government replied to the petition saying: Continue reading