WASHINGTON—When White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned Wednesday amid allegations that he abused his two ex-wives and a former girlfriend, he parted the curtains on a Trumpian-scale personnel and security disaster. Bottom line: You don't keep people in the White House who've been credibly accused of domestic abuse. I'd be the first to argue that an allegation doesn't necessarily constitute guilt, and there's been no adjudication of these charges. But there are sound reasons for security checks and, based on what the FBI discovered, Porter didn't qualify.
WASHINGTON—Conspiracies. Secret societies. Witch hunts. During the past year, we've heard reference to all of the above to explain away any suggestion of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 presidential election.
WASHINGTON—It was probably only a matter of time before some unbalanced person decided that he needed to take out a few members of the "fake news" media. And it was inevitable that his actions—in this case, his threats—would be placed at the feet of Donald Trump, who has spent a considerable amount of time and energy demonizing the media. If you're a disturbed 19-year-old, then maybe you hear a call to arms from the commander in chief.
WASHINGTON—As a functional obsessive-compulsive, I'm never happier than at year's end when I get to make lists. Herewith, my picks for the most important stories of 2017: This year my list is short: "Fake News"—from which all cursings flow. Not only has the president's frequent "fake news" defense against any story he dislikes helped codify the idea that the media, especially CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, seek only to misinform, but this strategic deception has created a volunteer class of the arrogantly ignorant.
WASHINGTON—The recent excitement over an incredible story about the government trying to ban certain words reminded me of all the words and phrases I despise and wish were banned. For the sake of getting on with it, briefly: The Washington Post reported Friday that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had been forbidden from using seven words as they prepared their 2019 budget documents. The words were: vulnerable, diversity, entitlement, fetus, transgender, science-based and evidence-based. Everybody went bonkers on cue.
WASHINGTON—Even though an estimated 115 million Americans rushed to malls and big box stores for Black Friday sales, others were reporting that the annual spend-a-thon has lost its bang. Gone is the thrill of the stampede, the fist-fights over a big screen, the trample to grab the last Soggy Doggy.
WASHINGTON—The Senate health care bill, which was scuttled Tuesday until after July 4, was doomed by two narratives: Republicans are mean, and poor people would be dropping like flies. Assisting the opposition was none other than President Trump, who called the earlier version passed by the House "mean." Trump met with Senate Republicans Tuesday afternoon to plot their move to repeal and replace Obamacare, which remains the GOP's objective.
WASHINGTON—"If only he would stop tweeting." Those words came from a friend of mine named "Jack," quite possibly President Trump's biggest fan. A former secret service agent, Jack is your typical die-hard Trump supporter. That is to say, he's a white, Christian male, married with two kids. He's honest, hardworking—a true-blue patriot, brave and loyal to the core. He and I are at political odds these days and argue frequently about Trump.
WASHINGTON—The great thing about hiring family members: You can usually trust them more than others. The really awful thing about hiring family members: You can't fire them. Unless, of course, you're Michael Corleone. Poor Fredo. It's no mere coincidence that "The Godfather" comes to mind when considering the nation's first family and challenges therein. President Trump, like Vito Corleone, has surrounded himself with family members, especially daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, and for essentially the same reasons.
WASHINGTON—The shocking thing about Greg Gianforte's assault on a journalist isn't that he body-slammed and punched a reporter but that it took so long for the inevitable to occur. Such an attack was foreshadowed way back in March last year when tough-guy Corey Lewandowski grabbed a female reporter who, apparently, was too brash for the tender sensibilities of then-candidate Donald Trump's inner circle. A few months after his effrontery, Lewandowski left the campaign and joined CNN as a commentator. He now may be poised to rejoin Team Trump.