I have written several articles on our President Trump. A list of the links have been provided at the bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on President Trump’s Presidency.
I know his heading is quite antagonistic, but I actually did not mean it to be that negative. I am using this title as a way to start a discussion on his choice of friends and political appointments. Is President Trump a good judge of character or is he a chump, that is constantly surrounding himself with people of low moral character and little competence. If you believe the press it is the later. It seems like, either he is constantly firing one of is appointees, or one is being accused of some transgression or they speak out publicly against him. I hope this is not the case. That is what I am writing this article to get at the truth.
To show how important it is to surround yourself as a president with reliable and loyal individuals, I will briefly discuss a previous president. I am sure everybody has heard of General Ulysses S. Grant. We all know that he is the general that won the war for the North in the Civil War. But what most people don’t know was that he was also the 18th president of the United States. He served 2 terms. The first term went fairly well, he was able to continue reconstruction in the south. Until his presidency became derailed by graft and corruption. Grant had one major weakness, besides his love of tobacco and alcohol was his poor judge of character. He simply was too trusting. He surrounded himself as a president with unscrupulous advisers. They tainted his presidency. He could have went down in history as really good president, instead his presidency is only considered to be mediocre at best. Instead of bogging down this discussion with examples from his presidency I will put them in the addendum.
Many of the articles that are posted about his advisers and cabinet is divisive at best. They are highly critical. In order to get to the real story I will include as much as I can from both sides.
Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., the congressman who was once the first to stand up and endorse then-candidate Trump during the 2016 election, was sentenced to two years and two months in federal prison on Friday. Having pleaded guilty to charges related to securities fraud conspiracy and making false statements, and resigning from his post last year, Collins is just the latest in a series of close allies and associates of President Trump to face the stain of a criminal record. In all, 14 Trump aides, donors and advisers have been indicted or imprisoned since the days when the first-time candidate promised that he would only hire “the best people.” Presidents are surrounded by tens of thousands of supporters and hire hundreds of aides into various jobs – so it may be inevitable that some tiny fraction of them will run afoul of the law. But experts say Trump is amassing a record unusual for an American president – in that so many senior advisers have come under legal scrutiny. The count includes senior members of Trump’s campaign staff, including former campaign chair Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates – both snared on financial misdeeds in special counsel Robert Mueller investigation. Trump’s first national security adviser – Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (exonerated)– pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI – though he has recently moved to retract his plea. His personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, is under criminal investigation for his business relationship with two men arrested in an alleged campaign finance scheme, according to sources. Both Giuliani associates have pleaded not guilty.
Cohen, who is also the former vice-chairman for finance of the Republican National Committee, admitted to a number of crimes involving Trump. Like nearly everything Cohen did during his time as Trump’s “fixer,” he told the court he committed these crimes for Trump’s benefit and at his direction. Cohen paid off women who alleged affairs with Trump, and violated campaign-finance law. With a fraud indictment handed down, former campaign CEO and chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon became the latest in a succession of Trump insiders to face criminal charges.
Below is a posting By Jef Rouner, certainly not an unbiased individual. But he at least has a grasp of history or at least Wikipedia.
Donald Trump has done a few good things. To be clear, he’s done mostly bad ones. He’s more personally corrupt than Chester A. Arthur, more surrounded by criminals than Ulysses S. Grant, and more shamelessly duplicitous than Richard Nixon. I believe the only reason we have not seen a national catastrophe costing tens of thousands of lives is due to sheer luck and the incredible incompetence that wafts from the White House like the lingering odor of reheated Big Macs.
But, it is a point of faith with me that you should always be able to name five things that you do like about a president you don’t like. Admittedly, getting to five concrete contributions to a better world for Trump has not been easy, but I can juuuuust do it. Asking fans of Trump what good he’s done tends to result in nebulous, emotional benefits that tie into nationalism, patriarchy, and white supremacy. This list is none of those. It’s just a record-keeping article illustrating what good he has managed to do. As a judge takes cooperation of a state witness into consideration before pronouncing a sentence, so should these be in the barrel.
5. Prison Reform: The First Step Act may be, appropriately, just a nudge in the right direction, but it is undeniably movement. Among its initiatives are expansion of earned-time credits, more chances for prisoners to slowly transition from prison to society through halfway homes, time off sentences for vocational achievements, and better approaches to mandatory sentencing that retroactively reduce drug sentences of ridiculous length. Let’s also not forget he personally granted clemency to Alice Johnson, a 63-year-old woman who had been serving time for a drug charge since 1996.
4. Gun Control: After the NRA spent years saying Barack Obama’s gun confiscation was right around the corner (and thereby increasing gun sales to an all-time high), it’s somewhat ironic that Trump has embraced gun control in small ways. His administration used powers already granted to the justice department to ban bump stocks, the accessories that allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic automatic ones.
3. Salary Donation: He has gifted his entire paycheck to various places since assuming office, including the National Park Service, the U.S. Education Department, the Transportation Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. My personal favorite was him sending $100,000 to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which he did in memory of his older brother, Fred’s, fatal struggles with booze. If Trump continues the practice, his donation amount will actually surpass Obama donating his Nobel Prize money by 2021.
2. Union Representation: The trade deal his administration made with Mexico and Canada came with the caveat that Mexico would overhaul its labor laws. They did so, and part of the new set of laws that just passed gave workers the right to collective bargaining. Previously NAFTA helped keep unionization out of Mexico as U.S. companies sought cheap labor there. The new deal, USMCA, seeks to de-incentivize moving jobs beyond the southern border by improving the lot of Mexican workers. This is a huge move to combat bad practices by corporations eager to save money at labor’s expense outside of the United States.
1. HIV/AIDS Relief: Trump has set forth a bold new plan regarding HIV/AIDS in America,. The goal is to have a 90 percent reduction in ten years as well as get people on drugs that stabilize the disease in order to improve their quality of life. I know this is a bit of a digression from listed topic, but I have stated that I let my research guide my writing. It was refreshing to see a somewhat positive article about Trump.
In a recent press conference , President Trump was asked what he thought it meant that so many of his aides have been arrested since he took office in 2017. “Respectfully, sir, it’s not just Steve Bannon. It’s Roger Stone, it’s Michael Flynn, it’s Rick Gates, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen,” a reporter said to Mr Trump, naming Trump administration and campaign officials who have been convicted on a variety of different charges. “What’s that say about your judgment that these are the kind of people who you affiliated with, and the culture of lawlessness around people who were involved in the leadership of your 2016 campaign?” President Trump continued to distance himself further from the scandal saying he “was not involved in the project” and he had no idea who was. The president later clarified that he “didn’t know” about Mr Bannon’s involvement and he “didn’t know the other people”.
Completely innocent President of the United States Donald Trump has once again been left surprised at the fact one of his closest advisers has been found guilty on several federal charges. As Roger Stone was found guilty of lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering, Donald Trump took to social media to express his complete surprise that yet another close associate is now a federal criminal.
“This is crazy,” he is said to have told a White House aide, “How do these criminals keep on getting jobs in my inner circle?
“I can’t understand how someone as innocent as I am – which is completely innocent by the way, so innocent, totally – can be surrounded at all times by people who keep being found guilty of serious crimes.
“Anyone from the outside looking in might jump to the conclusion that someone surrounded by criminals is also a criminal, but obviously that’s not the case because I am a completely innocent man who just happens to be surrounded by criminals.
“I can’t believe Roger is also guilty, the same way I couldn’t believe Paul Manafort was guilty, or that Michael Cohen was guilty, or that Michael Flynn was guilty, or that George Papadopoulos was guilty, or that Rick Gates was guilty.
“But even if you believe that they are all guilty, then the obvious conclusion is that I am innocent, because what sort of idiot would knowingly surround themselves with so many criminals?
They say you’re only as good as your team, and if this is what Trump’s team is — criminals charged with tax fraud, hiding foreign accounts and bank fraud — it can’t be a good team. I do not think this will affect Trump. Other questionable things have happened and he still gets away with it. Cohen and Manafort should be investigated in case the president had anything to do with this and should be sent to jail for those charges. The left believes that they not know if the president had any direct involvement with these violations, Trump had to have at least known about the campaign violations.But as we delve a little deeper we get a clearer picture. Think about this one fact can a individual be found guilty of a transgression committed by one of his fellow colleagues prior to their actually meeting or working together? You will understand why I asked this question after you read the following post.
“It was Christmas in August for liberals on Tuesday when Paul Manafort was convicted on 8 of 18 charges and Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to tax, bank, and campaign finance violations. Suits were soiled with glee at all the left wing activist organizations – the DNC, DSCC, DCCC, CNN, MSNBC, etc. They all collectively thought they’d “nailed Trump” because the two men were associated with the president. One thing no one seems to understand, or more importantly hope their audiences don’t understand, is that none of what transpired Tuesday actually implicates Donald Trump in a crime of any sort.
“The Manafort case is pretty straightforward – everything he was charged with, let alone convicted of, happened years before he’d ever met then candidate Donald Trump. Unless someone involved has a time machine, it would be impossible for the president to have been involved with anything illegal with Manafort.
“It’s not being portrayed that way. Journalists, who just a week ago engaged in a mass anti-Trump protest to declare themselves arbiters of truth, won’t portray it that way. The story is and will be covered as if Manafort was in Trump’s inner circle of advisors, not a guy hired to manage the Republican National Convention and stave off any challenges to the nomination (which there were and he successfully ended).
“Every story about these tax and banking convictions will mention that Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager. What they won’t mention is how long he was campaign manager, about 2 months, and how quickly he was fired once questions about his foreign lobbying came to light. Those facts don’t fit the narrative that Trump is surrounded by criminals; that his campaign and business are no different than the Mafia
“When complete facts get in the way of the impression liberals want to give an audience they are conveniently ignored. The truth is pretty simple: Manafort was tried and convicted on these charges for the simple reason that Special Counsel Robert Mueller wanted to apply pressure in the hope that he would “flip” on Trump. Flip on what isn’t really known, nor does it matter. Mueller wants the president, the left wants the president to be implicated in a crime, any crime. So Manafort faced a possible 305 years for tax evasion, a charge that carries an average sentence of just over a year for mortals not associated with the No. 1 target of liberals.
“It doesn’t really matter if Manafort goes to prison, he broke the law and should. But don’t ever fool yourself into thinking he is some kind of criminal mastermind who should spend the rest of his life in prison. He’s only facing that because he’s in the way of people who want to destroy a president they hate.”
“Michael Cohen is a different story, but only slightly. Cohen was one of the president’s personal lawyers when he was in the private sector. Aside from rambling on TV from time to time, Cohen was never going to enter the political world – that’s not what he does or what he’s made for. He, too, didn’t pay taxes and had issues with banking laws, the specifics of which are irrelevant because they, again, have nothing to do with Trump.
“What is relevant, or at least liberals are trying to make relevant, to Trump is the campaign finance violations he pleaded guilty to Tuesday August 21st, 2018. Cohen admitted to paying a porn star and a Playboy Playmate to keep quiet about alleged affairs with Donald Trump back in 2006. Awful, if true, but irrelevant on the big picture. Trump wasn’t elected Pope and no one is under any delusions that he led a moral and faithful married life in the past, it’s a big part of why this New York real estate developer was known beyond the confines of Manhattan. Not a shock.
“But in the guilty plea Cohen claims he committed campaign finance law violations to “influence the election.” This is where the wheels come off. It doesn’t matter what Cohen thought he was doing, or why he thought he was doing it, what matters is the law. If Donald Trump had Cohen pay off these women then paid him back, that’s not illegal. Anyone, even a politician, can pay off anyone they want to keep quiet. Cohen’s plea says he did it to influence the election, but his motivation is irrelevant. What matters is the money.
“If Trump paid to have his lawyer keep these women quiet, he was allowed to. Theoretically he wouldn’t have wanted this public because he’s married with children, and he was running for president and didn’t want it to be an issue. Whether he did it or not doesn’t matter, what matters is if he used campaign funds to pay Cohen or he paid out of his own pocket. He’s allowed to pay people to sign non-disclosure agreements on any topic as long as the money comes out of his bank accounts or that of his business, no matter the motivation (though he’d have several unrelated to the campaign). He can’t use campaign funds to pay Cohen or pay himself back, and there’s no indication that he did. You’d never know this important, deal-breaking distinction if you just watched the Democratic media.
“It may not seem like much of a difference, but it makes all the difference in the world. Reporters know this, Democrats know this, they’re hoping you don’t. They’re hoping you think Donald Trump did something illegal, when in reality he did something immoral…12 years ago, and didn’t want it to become public for many reasons. So where are the crimes? Leftists can’t point to any, but they are implying the hell out of one. That’s dishonest, and it’s not by accident.”
I think I have beat this subject pretty well. Let’s wrap it up with a concluding statement. While I don’t think President had done anything illegal as President. I think he probably was guilty of some slightly gray area deals in his past. However, the whole point of this discussion is what is his judgment like when it comes choosing his advisers and cabinet members. I think his problem is, that he tries to find the best in everybody. Except maybe Pelosi and Obama. He kind of is like President Grant in this manner. He also believes in second chances. He can’t possibly know everybody that he chooses for key positions, he has to rely on some of his senior advisers to help him. Case in Point Katie Walsh and Mike Walsh.* What President Trump is guilty of is, is being human. Nobody is infallible. As a president he becomes a target for every type of conman or “conwoman” out there. It is virtually impossible to prove that these people have bad intentions, until they actually do them. Some individuals will even do things they think are the best interests of their bosses, just to make “brownie points”. Just a little side note to prove this does happen. Take the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley Jr. He tried to kill President Reagan to impress Jody Foster. I know this is an extreme example. But crazier things have happened. So maybe President Trump should vet his appointees a little better, and not go with his gut instincts quite so much. Si in conclusion Trump Is No Chump, he is just an exceptional human being doing a nearly impossible job under extreme conditions.
rawstory.com, “Key Republican in Trump’s campaign had a secret effort to remove him from the ballot in 2016: Rick Gates,” Sarah K. Burris; Wikipedia, “Grant Administration Scandalsm,” By Wikipedia editors;townhall,.com, ” Where Are the Crimes?” By Derek Hunter; newsthump.com, “Completely innocent man rues accidentally surrounding himself with criminals,” ‘I have no idea’: Trump baffled when questioned about ‘culture of lawlessness’ surrounding him, ” By Louise Hall; houstonpress.com, “5 Good Things About Donald Trump (Yes, Really), By Jef Rouner: abcnews.com, “Trump associates who have been sent to prison or faced criminal charges,” By Rim Kim; businessinsider.com, “It’s no coincidence that Trump is surrounded by criminals,” By Josh Barro.
Scandals In Grant’s Presidency:
Ulysses S. Grant and his administration, including his cabinet, suffered many scandals, leading to continuous reshuffling of officials. Ulysses S. Grant, ever trusting of associates, was himself influenced by both forces. The standards in many of his appointments were low, and charges of corruption were widespread. Starting with the Black Friday (1869) gold speculation ring, corruption would be discovered in seven federal departments, including the Navy, Justice, War, Treasury, Interior, State, and the Post Office. Reform movements initiated in both the Democratic Party and the Liberal Republicans, a faction that split from Republican Party to oppose political patronage and corruption in the Grant administration. Nepotism was prevalent, with over 40 family members benefiting from government appointments and employment. The prevalent corruption was eventually called “Grantism.” The Democratic Party, however was not free from scandal, when New York reformers broke the Tweed Ring in 1871.
The unprecedented way that Grant ran his cabinet, in a military style rather than civilian, contributed to the scandals. For example, in 1869, Grant’s private secretary Orville E. Babcock, rather than a State Department official, was sent to negotiate a treaty annexation with Santo Domingo. Grant never even consulted with cabinet members on the treaty annexation; in effect, the annexation proposal was already decided. A perplexed Secretary of Interior Jacob D. Cox reflected the cabinet’s disappointment over not being consulted: “But Mr. President, has it been settled, then, that we want to Annex Santo Domingo?” Another instance of Grant’s military-style command arose over the McGarrahan Claims, a legal dispute over mining patents in California, when Grant overrode the official opinion of Attorney General Ebenezer R. Hoar. Both Cox and Hoar, who were reformers, eventually resigned from the cabinet in 1870.
Grant’s reactions to the scandals ranged from prosecuting the perpetrators to protecting or pardoning those who were accused and convicted of the crimes. For example, when the Whiskey Ring scandal broke out in 1875, Grant, in a reforming mood, wrote: “Let no guilty man escape”. However, when it was found out that Babcock was indicted, Grant testified on behalf of the defendant. During his second term Grant appointed reformers such as Benjamin Bristow, Edwards Pierrepont, and Zachariah Chandler who cleaned their respective departments of corruption. Grant dismissed Babcock from the White House in 1876, who was linked to several corruption charges and scandals. It was with the encouragement of these reformers that Grant established the first Civil Service Commission.
The first scandal to taint the Grant administration was Black Friday, also known as the Gold Panic, that took place in September 1869, when two aggressive financiers cornered the gold market in their New York Gold Room, with blatant disregard to the nation’s economic welfare. The intricate financial scheme was primarily conceived and administered by Wall Street manipulators Jay Gould and his partner James Fisk.
In 1871, the New York Custom House collected more revenue from imports than any other port in the United States. By 1872, two congressional investigations and one by the Treasury Office under Secretary George S. Boutwell looked into allegations of a corruption ring set up at the New York Custom House under two Grant collector appointments, Moses H. Grinnell and Thomas Murphy. Both Grinnell and Murphy allowed private merchants to store goods not claimed on the docks in private warehouses for exorbitant fees.
In the early 1870s, lucrative postal route contracts were given to local contractors on the Pacific coast and southern regions of the United States. These were known as Star Routes because an asterisk was placed on official Post Office documents. These remote routes were hundreds of miles long and went to the most rural parts of the United States by horse and buggy. Previously inaccessible areas on the Pacific coast received weekly, semi-weekly, and daily mail because of these routes. However, corruption ensued, with contractors paid exorbitant fees for fictitious routes and for providing low quality postal service to the rural areas.
On March 3, 1873, President Grant signed a law that increased the president’s salary from $25,000 a year to $50,000 a year. The law raised salaries of members of both houses of the United States Congress from $5,000 to $7,500. Although pay increases were constitutional, the act was passed in secret with a clause that gave the congressmen $5,000 in bonus payouts for the previous two years of their terms.
The worst and most famous scandal to hit the Grant administration was the Whiskey Ring of 1875, exposed by Treasury Secretary Benjamin H. Bristow and journalist Myron Colony. Whiskey distillers had been evading taxes in the Midwest since the Lincoln Administration. Distillers of whiskey bribed Treasury Department agents who in turn aided the distillers in evading taxes to the tune of up to $2 million per year. The agents would neglect to collect the required excise tax of 70 cents per gallon, and then split the illegal gains with the distillers. The ringleaders had to coordinate distillers, rectifiers, gaugers, storekeepers, revenue agents, and Treasury clerks by recruitment, impressment, and extortion.
In September 1876, Orville E. Babcock was involved in another scandal. Corrupt building contractors in Washington, D.C., were on trial for graft when bogus Secret Service agents working for the contractors placed damaging evidence into the safe of the district attorney who was prosecuting the ring. On the night of April 23, 1874, hired thieves opened the safe, using an explosive to make it appear that the safe had been broken into. One of the thieves then took the fake evidence to the house of Columbus Alexander, a citizen who was active in prosecuting the ring. The corrupt agents “arrested” the “thieves” who then committed perjury by signing a document falsely stating Alexander was involved in the safe burglary. The conspiracy came apart when two of the thieves turned state evidence and Alexander was exonerated in court.
*Katie Walsh and Mike Shields:
In another case of “strange bedfellows,” a Republican lawyer working on President Donald Trump’s campaign once worked secretly to remove him from the ballot in 2016. BusinessInsider reported that Katie Walsh, a former chief of staff for Reince Priebus when he was at the RNC, worked behind the scenes to get Trump off the ballot. Since then, she’s served in the White House and has become one “of Trump’s most powerful outside operators,” reported the site. She was outed by Trump campaign deputy Rick Gates, who said that Walsh and the Republican National Committee were part of “multiple” talks about getting rid of Trump in 2016. After Fox News Host Tucker Carlson went after Walsh and her husband Mike Shields, her lawyer claimed that the idea she would be working to undermine Trump was false. At least ten GOP insiders confirmed to BI about Walsh’s efforts, the report said. “A Trump steamrolled his competition — and with old-guard Republicans increasingly alarmed that the unpredictable, polarizing, gaffe-prone reality-TV host might tank them at the polls — Walsh began talking up the idea of saving the party by denying him the nomination,” Gates told BI.