From the mouth of Steve Schmidt, Republican presidential campaign manager

This is courtesy of a CNN article called “This is the most succinct — and brutal — Republican rejection of Donald Trump that you will ever read,” which transcribes Steve Schmidt’s comments. Schmidt is a lifelong Republican, who was the campaign manager for John McCain in 2008 and Lamar Alexander in 2000. He is one of the founding members of The Lincoln Project, which is organized to help defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election.

“Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And I don’t say that hyperbolically. He is. But he is a consequential president. And he has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable if you were pondering where we are today from the day where Barack Obama left office. And there were a lot of us on that day who were deeply skeptical and very worried about what a Trump presidency would be. But this is a moment of unparalleled national humiliation, of weakness.

“When you listen to the President, these are the musings of an imbecile. An idiot. And I don’t use those words to name call. I use them because they are the precise words of the English language to describe his behavior. His comportment. His actions. We’ve never seen a level of incompetence, a level of ineptitude so staggering on a daily basis by anybody in the history of the country whose ever been charged with substantial responsibilities.

“It’s just astonishing that this man is president of the United States. The man, the con man, from New York City. Many bankruptcies, failed businesses, a reality show, that branded him as something that he never was. A successful businessman. Well, he’s the President of the United States now, and the man who said he would make the country great again. And he’s brought death, suffering, and economic collapse on truly an epic scale. And let’s be clear. This isn’t happening in every country around the world. This place. Our place. Our home. Our country. The United States. We are the epicenter. We are the place where you’re the most likely to die from this disease. We’re the ones with the most shattered economy. And we are because of the fool that sits in the Oval Office behind the Resolute Desk.”

There is nothing to add or refute. Your comments are welcome.

He keeps missing the point

Turnout was low at the pep rally, about 1/3 of the arena per the official count. As expected, it is everyone else’s fault per the drawing card. I am certain heads will roll because of the low turnout and rumblings are underway. But, throughout all of this, the drawing card is missing the point. He violated the trust of his loyal fans by risking their health and lives.

Yes, there were a number that showed up to support the drawing card. Very few masks were used, well because the drawing card does not wear one, why should they? Very little social distancing occurred, even though it was easier with a 2/3 empty arena. Sadly, some of these folks and their relatives, friends, co-workers and chance encounters will be exposed to COVID-19.

While I am well beneath perfection, the drawing card has numerous flaws, none of which he will admit. But, one of his more egregious ones is the inability to be accountable for his mistakes and bad decisions. It rivals his inability to tell the truth with any consistency, as it is a cover-up defense mechanism.

To be brutally frank, the drawing card deserves very little trust. When his friend Howard Stern noted the drawing card could care less about his most loyal of fans, it was not a surprise. His wanting their votes, applause and support, was thrown to the wolves, when he staged a pep rally in the middle of a pandemic which is not going away, then required his loyal fans to hold harmless his campaign if they got COVID-19.

The preceding sentence is as good a metaphor for why this person does not deserve people’s trust as any. Loyalty to the drawing card is a one way street. In his defense, people might say he had Barr fire the New York prosecutor who is investigating Rudy Giuliani. But, in actuality he is more worried about the dirt that might come back on him. It is all about The Donald. Always has been, always will be. Every decision or statement circles back to that large ego.

So, the point being missed is the reason the turnout and poll numbers are low are due to one thing and one thing only. The person blaming everyone else. At some point, people notice when you show you do not care about them.

That Law and Order Thing

The president has said several times that we must have law and order, but unfortunately uses terms that indict people of color with “dog whistle racist” terms. Allow me to focus on that law and order mantra and its advocate.

Does law and order mean violating a court order to preserve an artistic facade to a building (for movement to another location) he bought by hiring people in the middle of the night to strip off the facade?

Does law and order mean not treating African-Americans fairly in his properties, being ordered by a court settlement to remedy such, then having to be re-sued to get him to comply with the first order?

Does law and order mean taking a full page ad indicting five black teens for a Central Park rape and murder who were later found to be innocent?

Does law and order mean accusing a sitting president without proof for not being born in the US and doing so for several years?

Does law and order mean extorting a country for personal gain running a shadow diplomacy with unvetted people?

Does law and order mean having license to accuse anyone of anything without proof or accountability?

Does law and order mean using funds appropriated by Congress for a specific purposes to be used for other purposes?

Does law and order mean firing or belittling hard-working Inspectors General whose job is police government practices?

All of the above have been done by the president before and after his inauguration. The accusation that bothers me the most is he is being libelous without being held accountable. But, firing Inspectors General is a blatant abuse of power that needs to be reckoned with and GOP Senators are forsaking their duty.

Unwarranted overconfidence is harmful

This is an underreported story. Why does the US have 5% of the global population, but 31% of the COVID-19 cases and 28% of the COVID-19 deaths? Per an article in The Guardian, the rest of the world is “horrified” by the US response. We must be smart about how we reopen, not falling into an overconfident trap thinking that we solved this pandemic problem. Unwarranted overconfidence, bordering on arrogance, is harmful to our country.

But, let’s set that aside and look at a sports story as an example. Before the 1978 Cotton Bowl game, Fred Akers, coach of the number one ranked Texas Longhorns was on a pre-game talk show for a NFL football game. He was joined by soft-spoken Dan Devine, the coach of the number five ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The announcers went out of their way to ask how Devine felt since they did not stand a chance against the heavily-favored Longhorns. Devine was polite and said we would just do our best. Akers was smiling, but very confident in manner, even smug. Notre Dame went on to win 38 to 10, in a blowout over the heavily-favored Texas team.

I often use this example. Overconfidence is a dangerous factor. Right now, people are pushing to reopen the country, which we must do, but do so with a judicious and sensible approach. We have not solved the COVID-19 problem in the US actually handling it much more poorly than other countries. Brazil and Russia are handling it badly, as well, but they trail the US. What we have done is managed the problem with social distancing and closing stores, but we have not solved it. The hotter weather is supposed to help, but gathering in groups with no protection or distancing will have the opposite effect.

So, it worries me greatly when too many folks are far more cavalier than they should be about getting out in public. It worries me that too many people listen to a president push for things misrepresenting daily where we are. And, it goes on down the line. Taking the president at his word is a fool’s errand. Taking health care advice from the president can be very bad for your health. Yes, we must open up some, but we must be very smart about how we do it. We need to be smart about where we go, how we act, how we protect ourselves, etc. And, we need to be the smart ones in the room, with too many people in leadership positions not shooting straight with us.

The world is right to be horrified. They see the machinations of an untrustworthy US leader who dropped the ball when he actually could have led. Fortunately, governors of both parties, healthcare professionals and citizens have picked up the ball the president dropped. So, if someone tells you what a great job the president is doing, ask that person to respond to those relative percentages in the first paragraph. We lost six weeks of planning due to this president and the misinformation continues to this day. His mission one focus is getting reelected, not helping people.

What we have here, is a FAILURE to communicate

These are the immortal words of Strother Martin who played the tyrannical southern warden in “Cool Hand Luke.” The word “Failure” is capitalized as it must be drawn out.

Failure to communicate is its own virus that compromises many a person. It is especially true for those trying to forewarn the self-professed smartest guy in the room.

The previous president, the transition manager and multiple people on the staff of the newly elected president told him “DO NOT HIRE MICHAEL FLYNN.” Yet, among his many shortcomings, the president does not listen very well. He also does not have the patience to vet candidates.

But, the president hired Flynn anyway, Flynn committed a crime working with the Russians before he had authority to do so and then he lied to the FBI, which is also a crime, to which he later confessed.

Early on, people who would vote for him said Trump would hire the best of people to make up for his inexperience. Well, he did hire a couple of well regarded people, but they are long gone, tiring of their boss’ shenanigans and inability to communicate concerns to belay inappropriate actions.

But for the most part, Trump’s inability to listen and lack of patience created many obstacles and more than a few questionable hires and candidates. Trying to appoint his personal doctor as head of the Veterans Administration, nominating more than a few candidates who later pulled because the Senate would vote them down, picking a governor with no science degree to manage the Department of Energy, and so on are just a few examples.

If he listened or would take the time to ask beforehand, he could have saved himself a lot of embarassment. It is hard to communicate with someone who won’t listen or take the time to hear you. Yet, one thing is for certain, Trump does not accept responsibility for his inability to listen and bad hiring decisions. But, that is precisely who has the responsibility for hiring Michael Flynn when told not to – his name is Donald J. Trump.

The so-called Lion does not sleep at night

In an article posted yesterday called “Donald Trump just broke the most basic rule of politics” by Chris Cillizza of CNN, it notes the president has increased the visibility of The Lincoln Project. The Lincoln Project is a group of Republicans committed to defeating Donald Trump in the election.

Trump is none to happy with this group and its commercial called “Mourning in America” and has taken his favorite attack ploy – name calling. Per Trump, they are “losers” and “RINOs” and are ignoring his many successes, which he embellishes.

The article, whose link is below, says the lion should not worry about what his prey thinks. He should just be a lion. Calling Trump a lion is generous, but it is a good metaphor of how the president does not handle criticism very well. When directed at him, he attacks roaring with spite, fervor and truth-be-damned spin.

From the article, below is a paragraph from the ad “Mourning in America,” followed by the words of Cillizzo.

“‘Under the leadership of Donald Trump our country is weaker and sicker and poorer,” says the ad’s narrator. ‘If we have another four years like this, will there even be an America?’

Its message is dark, foreboding and harsh. And it’s very likely that almost no one would have even seen that message had it not been for Donald Trump.”

Americans who care about what has been done to our democracy, our global standing, our relationships and a sense of decency and empathy, need to help make more people aware of The Lincoln Project. When the inevitable push back comes from Trump supporters, the correct rebuttal is “these are Republican voices, not mine.” The Trump wall is starting to show a few cracks with a gradual few who are starting to criticize actions, as Sean Hannity did about too zealous of protestors the other night.

Yet, there are several certainties. As the COVID-19 pandemic does not go away and increases in areas that opened up without enough precautions and the economy continues to struggle as people watch their dollars and don’t rush out of their homes, the president will be prone to even more criticism than he currently has earned. As criticism mounts, he will strike out like a cornered animal. Yet, this lion’s roar will sound more like that of Scar than Mufasa. And, even Scar’s hyenas will have a hard time defending this lion.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/05/politics/lincoln-project-ad-donald-trump/index.html

Even Hannity sees it will be hard to get this monster back under the bed

Protestors in Michigan who ardently want to reopen the economy decided to take their argument into the legislative building armed with assault rifles and signs that would make many uncomfortable. Now, civil protest is more than fine in America provided it does not execute or provoke violence.

Even when we disagree with the message, a civil protest is what we are all about. I have participated in several protests regarding Moral Mondays, Women’s Rights and Climate Change. While I feel I am on the side of the Angels, I am also certain people would disagree with my participation.

Yet, walking into a legislative building with assault rifles is a bridge too far. This is even more true when the chants were less than kum-ba-ya like. It was so bad, even Fox News opinion host Sean Hannity spoke out against the protestors. Per the article linked to below, Hannity said on the air:

“Everyone has the right to protest, protect themselves and try to get the country open,” he continued while showing footage of the protests. “This, with the militia, look here, and these long guns … no. A show of force is dangerous. That puts our police at risk. And by the way, your message will never be heard, whoever you people are.”

What concerns me is Hannity may be realizing now there is a strident portion of his party that has been welcomed and supported even by the US president. Trump’s “there are good people on both sides” after Charlottesville was music to the ears of folks like ex-KKK leader David Duke. It normalized their more strident positions. Now, when the strident group takes it to an unhealthy level of protest, it reveals a danger. It is hard to put the monster back under the bed once he has walked around.

I read today the Republican governor of Ohio took on similar protestors in his state who were saying derogatory things to health care officials and reporters, even showing up at the home of the lead health official. His words were straightforward, per the second article link below.

“’I’m the elected official. I’m the one who ran for office. I’m the one who makes the policy decisions. … So when you don’t like the policy, you can demonstrate against me,’ DeWine said. DeWine, who has already begun reopening various sectors of the state’s economy, said he respected the protesters’ right to demonstrate but did not see the point of being ‘obnoxious’ toward reporters or going to the health chief’s family home to try to make a statement they could easily make on public grounds.”

People in Ohio should take pride in the governor’s “the buck stops here” stance. One thing is for certain, we will not hear the US president be accountable like the Ohio governor. The president has helped incite these protests, yet he will most likely wash his hands of any bad things happening. I am also sure he will wash his hands of any accountability as the COVID-19 cases measurably uptick, which appears to already be happening in some places who reopened without sufficient precautions.

Further, there are not many occasions where I agree with Mr. Hannity, but I support what he is saying. Let’s hope the president follows suit, but I would not hold my breath.

https://thehill.com/homenews/media/496116-hannity-scolds-armed-michigan-protesters-dangerous-show-of-force-dangerous

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/come-after-me-ohios-gop-gov-mike-dewine-calls-out-obnoxious-protesters-who-targeted-health-chief-news-media/ar-BB13C7id?ocid=spartandhp

Mr. president, if you can’t add value, please stop talking

Yesterday, even the untruthful president went beyond the pale. He actually parroted something he heard somewhere that UV light and disinfectant could be used internally to combat COVID-19. Please read the previous sentence for full effect.

Three comments. First, we should have been concerned when Trump and his VP stood at the podium without doctors. Dr. Deborah Birx was present, but sitting in a chair to the right of the president facing his side. Watch her reaction as he speaks to her for validation – she is not making any eye contact to betray her thoughts.

Second, Lysol put out a statement last night. Please do not ingest or inject our product or any other disinfectant. It is dangerous. A host of doctors noted this is not advice that should be followed.

Third, even Republican Senators and party leaders have asked Trump to leave the speaking on COVID-19 to the experts. He has already forced out one Vaccine expert for disagreeing with him on a treatment the president even now has abandoned. The expert is considering a whistleblower complaint.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Birx have often had to correct the president, sometimes in the same conference. Mr. president, this is not one of your rallies where you lie with much greater frequency. These conferences are supposed to be helpful. Yet, John Oliver said it well on his recent comedy/ news show “Last week tonight,”

“The president is belng actively harmful to Americans with his misinformation.” When Lysol has to put out a press release to say don’t use our product internally, it is time for the president to follow his fellow Republicans advice and let others speak on these issues.



If you don’t want to heed their advice, maybe Mark Twain’s may be more directive. Twain said, “It is better to let people think you are a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”

How to respond to people who say you need to get behind the president

Our friend Jill posted a good Op-ed piece written by the Board of the Lincoln Project. In essence, this group represents Republicans who want to see the president defeated in the fall. Her piece is entitled “Country over Party say these Republicans” (see link below). With her permission, I forwarded her piece to an email distribution group. Please do read her piece if you have not already.

Below is a response to a friend who responded quickly. He said he felt we needed to get behind the president which is the new party line. Here is my response.

“These are Republican voices who said all of this. I have listened to Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt and they are very reasonable in conveying their concerns.

I am behind solving our problems and getting back to some form of normalcy. I also respect the office of the presidency. It would be nice if the incumbent respected it as well. We lost six weeks to plan ahead and the misinformation continues to this day.

My favorite conservative pundit, David Brooks, said it best. Even when the president does the right thing, he lets his “narcissism and neurosis get in the way.” I am so pulling for him to do the right things, but it is hard to solve problems when your first motivation is how does it make me look.

What I cannot fathom is for a person who so craves positive attention, why did he not in January or February say the COVID-19 pandemic risk is something we need to pay attention to and I will initiate some planning efforts now? That would have been highly presidential and shown leadership. Instead he reverted to his modus operandi and lied and said it was a hoax.

I want him to succeed, but am highly disappointed in his autocratic bent. I am even more perturbed by sycophants who rationalize the president’s behavior or look the other way. I agree with the Lincoln Project Op-ed and know there are many other famous Republican voices – Brooks, Ross Douthat, George Will, Matt Drudge, Michael Gerson, Erick Erickson – who feel the same way.

That is how I feel bro.”

“Country Over Party” Say These Republicans …

Voices from abroad on reckless defunding of WHO

With the US president defunding the World Health Organization at a time of great need, I think it would be good to highlight the reactions of a few leaders from around the globe and on our shores. The two articles below link to the sources of these quotes.

“President Trump’s plan to put a hold on U.S. funding for the World Health Organization during a global pandemic ‘is as dangerous as it sounds,’ says billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates. The Microsoft founder joined others defending the WHO, which they say is doing vital work to fight COVID-19.”

“‘This is a terrible time to do this and is short-sighted,’ says Jennifer Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, ‘It’s destabilizing and damaging to the global enterprise that we’re all needing to be engaged in’ — in the midst of a pandemic that has so far stricken more than 2 million people and killed more than 128,000, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University.’

“‘Blaming does not help. The virus knows no borders,’ German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said of Trump’s plan via Twitter. He added that even without any U.S. cuts, the WHO is already underfunded.”

“Josep Borrell Fontelles, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, denounced Trump’s decision, saying there is ‘no reason justifying this move at a moment when their efforts are needed more than ever.’”

“The President of the American Medical Association, Patrice A. Harris, MD, MA, called it ‘a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world.’”

“Noted UK biologist Richard Dawkins called it ‘another example of ‘America First and to hell with the world as a whole.’”

In addition to these quotes, several Prime Ministers have condemned this action by the US president. Conservative Australian PM Scott Morrison noted while the WHO is deserving of some criticism, they play an important role and serve a greater good. Other leaders were less even handed in their remarks.

It continually frustrates me to see a US president seek to look for scapegoats to avoid scrutiny of his own poor decision-making. For a person so consumed with his perception as a leader, when the time presented itself in January or even in February for the president to forewarn Americans that the Coronavirus is a pandemic we need to be planning ahead for, he whiffed at the ball on the tee.

Instead, he reverted to form and lied, downplaying the risk and blaming Democrats for a hoax. Sadly, more Americans got sick and died because of this delay. Even today, the president is not a good source of information as he has a tendency to revert to his “narcissistic and neurotic self” so says Conservative pundit David Brooks.

https://www.wamc.org/post/dangerous-it-sounds-reactions-us-plan-defund-who-during-pandemic

‘America first and to hell with the world as a whole’: Global leaders and experts denounce Trump for defunding WHO