Trump Admninistration

McMaster’s Obama holdovers, a second look

Featured image I’ve been critical of H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, and I continue to have reservations about him. However, I now believe that one of my posts on the subject was unfair and needs to be revisited. The post in question discussed Obama administration holdovers on McMaster’s staff. It was based on an article in the Daily Caller by Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton. Throughout the post, I tried »

About Trump’s “re-election” ad

Featured image John wrote about and posted what he calls Trump’s first re-election ad. The ad touts the record level stock market and the unusually low unemployment numbers. It doesn’t cite any legislative victories or foreign policy accomplishments. Nor could it. As a re-election pitch, current stock market prices and employment numbers couldn’t be less relevant. The relevant numbers will be the ones in 2020, when Trump faces the voters. At that »

President Trump’s First Re-Election Ad [Updated: CNN Refuses to Run It]

Featured image We truly have entered the era of the permanent campaign. The 2020 election is more than three years away, and President Trump has already released his first ad. I suppose the ad has in view not only Trump’s re-election, but also the fact that the Democratic Party press doesn’t want to cover the administration’s accomplishments, preferring to obsess over Trump’s foibles and non-existent scandals. The ad seeks to remind voters »

McMaster’s Obama (don’t call them) holdovers

Featured image According to the Daily Caller, about 40 of the 250 officials on the National Security Council (NSC) are Obama administration holdovers. Their boss, H.R. McMaster, has instructed that these folks not be called “holdovers.” This might make sense from a team-building perspective. But since I’m not part of the team, they will be referred to as holdovers in this post. The Daily Caller’s Richard Pollock and Ethan Barton profile some »

DACA at the five year mark

Featured image Mark Krikorian points out that today is the fifth anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA is President Obama’s lawless amnesty diktat. It enables adult illegal aliens who claim to have come to the U.S. before age 16 to get work permits, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, etc. Nearly 800,000 people have done so. Candidate Donald Trump promised to end DACA on “day one.” Like much »

McMaster makes it clear to all that he can’t work with Bannon

Featured image National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster was asked three times today by Chuck Todd whether he can work with Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist. Three times McMaster refused to say that he can. Each answer was more embarrassing than the last — to McMaster, to Bannon, and ultimately to their boss. You can read the details here. It is the job of every member of a president’s staff to work »

Has Trump lost his focus on radical Islam?

Featured image The estimable Ayaan Hirsi Ali thinks so. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, she reminds us: Candidate Donald Trump vowed to take a fresh approach to Islamic extremism. He ditched the politically correct language of the Obama administration by declaring that we were mired in an ideological conflict with radical Islam, which he likened to the totalitarian ideologies America had defeated in the 20th century. Mr. Trump also promised, as »

Crying wolf at the EPA

Featured image There is no doubt that Scott Pruitt is shaking things up at the EPA. But are his changes being fairly characterized and reported? Not surprisingly the narrative has been driven by the liberal media, aided by disgruntled EPA officials who, having reached retirement age, are leaving the agency. Elizabeth Southerland, until recently the director of science and technology in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Water, pronounced it her “civic »

At the Times, self-parody strikes deep

Featured image In today’s New York Times Matthew Rosenberg seeks to disparage and undermine DCIA Mike Pompeo. Rosenberg’s article runs on page one under the headline “Trump’s Man in the C.I.A. Adds a Political Tone.” At the Times, self-parody runs deep. This is what we have in Rosenberg’s profile. It purports to present Pompeo’s “mixed reception” at the CIA without a single quote to this effect from inside the agency. It brings »

Left-wing Dem backs McMaster [UPDATED: Media Matters weighs in]

Featured image Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, voiced his support for H.R. McMaster today. He attributed criticism of the national security adviser to the Russians. “They may not like his policies, what he’s advocating with the administration, or they may just be seeking to sow further discord among Trump administration officials, feeling that that would weaken the administration,” he opined. Schiff should know about trying to »

Trump praises Sessions

Featured image Normally it wouldn’t make news when a president touts the work of a cabinet member. As the old song goes, that’s the way I always heard it should be. But in the Trump administration, “dog bites man” can easily become “man bites dog.” Thus, it’s news that President Trump is praising Attorney General Sessions for cracking down on illegal leaks of classified information. Writing on (where else) Twitter, Trump declared: »

McMaster’s supporters push back

Featured image National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster came in or criticism after he fired three staff members, all of whom are strongly pro-Israel and forceful opponents of the Iran nuclear deal. I gave voice to some of that criticism here. McMaster’s supporters are pushing back. Among them, at least for the time being, is President Trump. Hugh Hewitt characterizes McMaster’s critics as “a tiny slice” of “the alt right” and a »

Guardrails or roadblocks?

Featured image The estimable Charles Krauthammer celebrates five instances in which, he says, the “guardrails” of our democracy “held against the careening recklessness of” President Trump. They are: the military “say[ing] no to Trump on the transgender ban”; the Senate “saving” Jeff Sessions; Senate Republicans rejecting Obamacare repeal; the Boy Scouts pushing back against Trump’s speech; and the police chiefs pushing back against Trump’s advocacy of treating suspects roughly. In my view, »

For US Attorney, Amy Klobuchar prefers…

Featured image President Trump has nominated Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to a vacancy on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. His nomination is supported by just about everyone in Minnesota, yet his confirmation is stalled by the failure of Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken to return their blue slips on Justice Stras. It’s not that they oppose Stras — as I say, nobody does »

McMaster purges pro-Israel, anti-Iran deal Trump loyalists

Featured image National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster has fired three staff members in recent weeks. The three are Ezra Cohen-Watnick, senior director for intelligence; Derek Harvey, the NSC’s top Middle East adviser; and Rich Higgins, director for strategic planning. All three were aligned with Steve Bannon. Michael Warren of the Weekly Standard discusses the purge here. Glenn Thrush and Peter Baker of the New York Times discuss it here. Neither the Standard »

Mooch, we hardly knew ye (2)

Featured image In his first day on the job, Trump chief of staff John Kelly has engineered the removal of Anthony Scaramucci from the position of communications director to which Scaramucci himself had been named only 10 days ago. The New York Times reports here, Politico here. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Scaramucci’s departure. “Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director,” she said in »

The General is in the house [UPDATED]

Featured image When Gen. Kelly took over as President Trump’s chief of staff, the question many asked was what this meant for Anthony Scaramucci, the new communications director. Scaramucci had taken the job with the understanding that he would report directly to Trump, bypassing Reince Priebus who was then chief of staff. It seemed extremely unlikely that Kelly would be willing to labor under such an arrangement. Now we know that he »