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Day 239 – When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Might Want to Think About Making Some Key Nominations.

Day 239 – When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Might Want to Think About Making Some Key Nominations.

Photograph by Thomas

Dear Mr. President,

I know you follow the news but may not have time to read it all so I wanted to point out a story this week by CNN, one of your frequent “fake news” targets. The headline of the article is “Trump has nominated 42 people for US attorney. Only one is a woman”.

Following your inauguration, about half of the U.S. attorneys that served during the Obama administration resigned. In early March, you fired the remaining 46 U.S. attorneys. Neither of these occurrences was unprecedented.

It took, however, until June for you to begin nominating replacements, and of the 93 positions, less than half are filled. Only one is a woman and, not surprisingly, “[t]he vast majority of Trump’s 42 U.S. attorney candidates appear to be white.”

If the importance of the role of a U.S. attorney is lost on you, the article reminds us that they “initiate investigations and decide charges. They steer federal enforcement priorities — from drugs to cybercrime to political corruption — and significantly affect who lands in prison, and for how long.”

An almost all white, all male set of U.S. attorneys…do we need to say anything more? Yet again none of this should surprise any of us. It also shouldn’t be news to you that the American public will hold you accountable for these decisions.

And for someone who touts himself as the great decider, there has been an extreme lack of decision-making on the personnel front overall. As we have mentioned here before there are the scores of other critical positions still open in your administration.

The Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, “are tracking more than 500 key executive branch nominations through the confirmation process. These positions include Cabinet secretaries, deputy and assistant secretaries, chief financial officers, general counsel, heads of agencies, ambassadors and other critical leadership positions. These are a portion of the roughly 1,200 positions that require Senate confirmation.”

The Post and the Partnership for Public Service are tracking 599 key positions requiring Senate confirmation. Of these, more than half have no nominee. The totals are 320 with no nominee, 3 awaiting nomination, 158 formally nominated and 118 confirmed.

Some of this seems purposeful. But looking at the list, it seems downright irresponsible.

There are no nominees for ambassadors to Egypt, Venezuela, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Yemen, and South Korea, among others, not to mention, no one named yet to be the Special envoy for North Korea human rights issues.

Also, let’s talk about the number of positions that direct U.S. activities on a regional basis like the assistant secretaries for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, South Asian Affairs or Near Eastern Affairs. Or the fact that Nikki Haley is still missing a deputy representative to the United Nations.

Your answer may be that Secretary Tillerson is undergoing some changes at State Department, some of which may be warranted, but overall more than 40% of positions requiring Senate confirmation remain open at the Department of State.

Or perhaps your answer is that you are limiting the size of government. Or that you have decided to torpedo American hegemony as our relationships with other countries limp along. No longer is there sustained negotiation or even persuasion. Of course the art of diplomacy is MIA in the White House, but it’s also gone around the world including some of the most dangerous and strategically important places.

And even at the Defense Department, there are openings for Senate approved positions including, incredibly, the assistant secretary for Asian and Pacific security affairs!

On the domestic side, vacancies abound at Agriculture, Education, Energy, and in agencies or offices like USAID or the Peace Corps.

In your own executive branch, it should not be a shocker that the three positions in the Office of Science and Technology Policy are without a nominee seeing that they provide “the president and his senior staff with scientific and technical advice, ensures that the policies of the executive branch are informed by sound science and that the executive branch’s scientific and technical work is properly coordinated.” I know I’m not alone in saying it’d be nice to have some of that now.

No one up for Federal Election Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Social Security Administration…the list goes on.

You’re not even giving yourself or the country a chance. No interim appointee or civil servant will make the crucial, long-term decisions that are necessary to move this country forward.

Get the nominations out there.

And to put it as lightly as possible, perhaps you should also be more judicious in your choices. Who worse to lead NASA than a non-scientist climate denier? Who worse to lead the EPA than someone who has sued the EPA 14 times? Who worse to lead Education, HUD, Energy…you get my point.

You said you would hire the best people.  We’ll give you a mulligan. There are 50+ openings left for U.S. Attorney, let’s have a re-start there.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 238 – Why Aren’t The Things You Have Said Fireable Offenses, Mr. President? We Couldn’t Fit Them All In One Letter. Even Just Focusing On The Wretched Things You Have Said About Women. Sigh.

Day 238 – Why Aren’t The Things You Have Said Fireable Offenses, Mr. President? We Couldn’t Fit Them All In One Letter. Even Just Focusing On The Wretched Things You Have Said About Women. Sigh.

Photograph by Phil Venditti

Dear Mr. President,

During yesterday’s press conference, your White House Communications Director Sarah Huckabee-Sanders indicated that Jemele Hill, an anchor for ESPN, should be terminated for her tweets.  Ms. Huckabee-Sanders stated “I think that’s one of the more outrageous comments that anyone could make and certainly something that I think is a fireable offense by ESPN.” Jemele’s tweets referenced her belief that President Trump is a bigot who surrounds himself with others like him.

Is tweeting objectionable content a “fireable offense?” Let’s take a look at some of the things that you have tweeted or said to the public about women, and see if they measure up to a “fireable offense:”

  • “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
  • “Meryl Streep, one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood, doesn’t know me but attacked last night at the Golden Globes.”
  • “If I were running ‘The View’, I’d fire Rosie O’Donnell. I mean, I’d look at her right in that fat, ugly face of hers, I’d say ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’”
  • “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
  • “My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”
  • “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
  • “You’re disgusting.” (To the opposing lawyer during a court case when she asked for a medical break to pump breast milk for her three-month-old daughter.)
  • “Who wouldn’t take Kate’s picture and make lots of money if she does the nude sunbathing thing. Come on Kate!”
  • “You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.”
  • “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything….Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
  • “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.”
  • “I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe came to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!”
  • “Wonderful looking while on the ice but up close and personal, she could only be described as attractive if you like a woman with a bad complexion who is built like a linebacker”. On Olympian Katarina Witt.
  • “I have days where, if I come home — and I don’t want to sound too much like a chauvinist, but when I come home and dinner’s not ready, I go through the roof.”
  • “I think that putting a wife to work is a very dangerous thing,” said Trump. “Unfortunately, after they’re a star, the fun is over for me. It’s like a creation process. It’s almost like creating a building. It’s pretty sad.”
  • “You know who’s one of the great beauties of the world, according to everybody? And I helped create her. Ivanka. My daughter, Ivanka. She’s 6 feet tall, she’s got the best body.”
  • “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”
  • “How much money is the extremely unattractive Arianna Huffington paying her poor ex-hubby for the use of his name?”
  • “If Hilary can’t satisfy her husband, how can she satisfy America?”
  • “Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”
  • “Can you imagine that, the face of our next President? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

One may or may not think that Ms. Hill should have tweeted those truth bombs due to her affiliation with ESPN.  I get it.  Employers have to walk a tight rope sometimes.

But is there truth in her tweets?  As of today, President Trump, you have appointed 41 male attorney generals and 1 female. And, the council you convened to address the non-existent issue of voter fraud will hear from…you got it…12 White Men.  Decide for yourself, Mr. President.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

Day 237 – What Will You Tell Your Grandbabies About What You Did To Our World, Mr. President?

Day 237 – What Will You Tell Your Grandbabies About What You Did To Our World, Mr. President?

Photograph by Gary Knight

Dear Mr. President,

An image remains in my brain. A surreal second, that makes me wonder. In an unscripted moment, you walked across the grass holding the hand of a beautiful little girl – your granddaughter.  There she is, small, sparkly, trusting, looking up at her grandpa.  The image is in such contrast to the words you speak and the actions you take. I wonder.

When you tuck her in to bed, do you tell her that someday rich men will be able to assault her, and face no consequences…and that’s ok?  As she heads off to kindergarten with her new pink backpack, will you reassure her that if she is raped during her school or college years, you will take credit for protecting her attackers?

When she opens her first lemonade stand to learn to be in business, like her grandpa, will you let her know that she will never earn the same money, for the same work, as her brothers, even if she is a better business woman?  Will you be proud that you are the reason she has to work harder and smarter to earn less?

When she tells a childish lie, will you help her to make it a better falsehood?  If she says the dog made her spill her milk, will you coach her how to say it was the dog and the cat and the bird conspiring to make her look bad to the nanny?

I look at your perfect, fortunate, clean, well dressed, healthy, little granddaughter. A child blessed with two parents, a pediatrician, world class schools, and a soft, safe, warm bed at night. Will you tell her about the little black haired girl whose dad is working three jobs just to make sure they have a place to live?  Will she learn about clipping coupons, parents skipping meals so the children can eat, losing teeth from lack of dental care?  Will you show her pictures of the orphans of war, seeking shelter, children you have turned back at the shores of the United States? Will your bedtime stories be about how big, uniformed men crash through the doors of homes to rip children from the arms of their parents, to send mom and dad away forever? Will you tell her you are proud that you directed the agents to show no mercy?

When she learns to drive, will you go with her to the Great Smokey Mountains and Appalachia to see the mountain tops blown to rubble for the dying coal industry?  Is a family trip to the Grand Canyon planned to visit the Koch uranium mines?  Are you planning to sell designer face masks so she can breathe through the polluted air?

I see this beautiful child, holding the hand of her grandpa, trusting him.  The advantages for this little girl are boundless – money, fame, access, power.  Her bubble of a happy childhood shouldn’t be taken from her, she is innocent. I only wonder why you can’t extend the same security and opportunity to all of the world’s children – all of our beautiful, trusting children. Little girls from many different homes, cultures, religions, races, ethnic backgrounds…and beautiful little boys, their lives are in your hands.

You are no longer the “hot shot,” “man about town,” “rogue,” “wheeler dealer.”  You are the president, and a grandfather.  This is your time to act like a grownup deserving the trust of the world’s children, trust that because of you, they will be safe and ok.  I wonder if you have the ability to capture that moment with your granddaughter and expand it to your presidency.  I wonder.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Dear 236 – You Go After Immigrants While More and More Americans are Considering Becoming Ex-pats. Ironic, Don’t You Think, Mr. President?

Dear 236 – You Go After Immigrants While More and More Americans are Considering Becoming Ex-pats. Ironic, Don’t You Think, Mr. President?

Image from How to Retire Early

Dear Mr. President,

A neighbor up the street loves you. He has a bumper sticker on his car that says, “You promised to leave America if Trump got elected. Get packing!” I don’t normally take advice from 40-year-olds living in their parents’ basement, and I hadn’t planned on leaving regardless of who was elected. But having lived half of my life overseas and now bearing witness to the irreparable havoc you’re already wreaking on our future, the bumper sticker on that ’99 Honda Civic started to make sense. In fact, my wife and I just decided to retire to Portugal.

And why not? We’ve been visiting there for 20 years; the people, food, weather, cuisine and culture are fantastic; real estate and the cost of living are miraculously affordable; and the healthcare is so good you’d probably want to repeal it. Unlike the U.S. under your management (I can’t say “leadership”), their economic outlook is improving.

Portugal is also much safer, with the entire country experiencing one-fifth the homicide rate of the U.S., a statistic I’m sure your NRA backers are ready to decry. What’s more, Forbes just listed Portugal twice in the top ten places to retire abroad.

But I’m not writing here to market Portugal. This is the shocker: “I’ve been in the real estate business for 20 years,” said a real estate agent I recently spoke to outside of Coimbra, Portugal’s third largest city. “And I’ve never seen so many Americans here than in the last six months.” That six-month period started with your inauguration.

The agent spoke excellent English, which enabled him for decades to cater to British expats – a once sizable community throughout the country. But they are now being forced to flee, as the same insipid nationalism that fueled your rise punished them with Brexit. As they prepare to lose their European Union residency status, they are being replaced by Americans fleeing, well, you.

My wife and I are both the children of immigrants, and we know firsthand that at the heart of immigration is a desire to seek out a better life somewhere else. How ironic that as you repeal DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to keep those pesky foreigners out of “your country,” many of us born here no longer feel like we belong. The damage you’re doing will last long after you’ve left office. Fortunately, a rapidly growing American expat community is taking root in other countries, finding and enjoying those values you’re destroying at home, one tweet at a time. And, to top it all off, something tells me I won’t bump into my bumper sticker neighbor there.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 235 – A Reflection on 9/11 and What It Could Teach You On Responding To The Terrorists Within Our Nation, Mr. President.

Day 235 – A Reflection on 9/11 and What It Could Teach You On Responding To The Terrorists Within Our Nation, Mr. President.

Photograph by Marcela

Dear Mr. President,

On the anniversary of the deadliest foreign terrorist attack on our country, I look back. Sixteen years ago, my heart was broken and my mind shattered as I watched the images that were being broadcast on the closed circuit TV from the U.S. Navy ship on which I served. That day changed the lives of so many: the family and friends of those lost in the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the lives of those on the airplanes that were used in that attack. I do not know the feeling of losing someone in this manner, but I know it is deep and unforgiving.

But it also changed other Americans. We were sad, then we were angry. We rallied. We assisted. We were united. Over the past 16 years, many Americans have forgotten how they felt on that day. Although devastated, we were proud to be Americans.

Before you spoke at the 9/11 Memorial Ceremony at the Pentagon, I hope you paused to consider how former President Bush reacted to the deplorable actions of these extremists and the way he responded to not only the entire country but to the world.

As President Bush moved from one location to another for his security, he most certainly met with his staff and received updated information continually. While making decisions to ensure the immediate safety of the country, he must have been formulating his words carefully as to not add chaos to an already frightening scenario. Bottom line, he had to be thoughtful and measured in his words to the country.

On the evening of September 11, he formally spoke from the Oval Office – to all Americans – not just one faction or another. His words were reassuring, not harrowing. He said, “Terrorist attacks can shake the foundations of our biggest buildings, but they cannot touch the foundation of America. These acts shatter steel, but they cannot dent the steel of American resolve.” He also ensured us that both the terrorists and those who harbor them would be held equally accountable.

In that speech, he reassured us that we would be stronger together and that we would fight terrorism and radicals. He made us stronger in that moment because he drew us together with a common goal.

Although you have not been tested in the same distressing way that America was tested that day, I have seen a foreshadow of what your action in the same scenario would be.

When you were campaigning, you incited your supporters to physically assault other Americans. You have bullied and incited violence while in a position of power. More recently, you waited two days to condemn the violent actions of white supremacists and then you cushioned your words by saying that there were “many sides” for the violence. You continue to divide the nation in a way that is almost irreparable.

As we reflect on the tragedy of 9/11, we need to be aware that we are dealing with American terrorists now and the same thoughtful, measured and prompt response is needed. The fact is that there is no room to make statements that condone the action of people who want to kill others due to the color of their skin or what religion they practice.

I hope that when you stood at the podium today, you took time to carefully contemplate your words and actions. It is your obligation to make America safe again. But this time, the terror is also from within and the responsibility is now yours.

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

Day 233 – Stop Squandering Your Opportunities, Mr. President. We Are Still Here. Watching Everything You Do And Don’t Do.

Day 233 – Stop Squandering Your Opportunities, Mr. President. We Are Still Here. Watching Everything You Do And Don’t Do.

Photograph by Photofinish 2009

Dear Mr. President,

Prior to your election I would not have welcomed news of hurricanes and their destruction, but with that news filling the front pages we hear less of you and thus less of the mess you’re making of your presidency. Your tepid response to the Charlottesville “Unite the Right” march in which you imagined that the persons who were there to protest the unvarnished racism of the marchers were equally at fault with the armed and angry alt-right participants has faded, as has your silly but dangerous “fire and fury” response to the North Korean aggression.

Unfortunately, even though your name and picture are not on the front pages, the uninspiring, uninformed, self-centered, narcissistic leadership you’ve shown remains like a bad after taste, regardless of whether you are actively tweeting or bashing Hillary Clinton at one of your “rallies.”  It is a mystery to me how or why any person would want to squander an opportunity like you have to be an informed and inspiring spokesperson for the United States and for the democratic way of governing which has been our hallmark. But for some reason (hubris?) you would rather shoot from the hip and ask others to study knotty issues such as health care, which you admitted was more complicated than you first thought, or relations with North Korea, or the tax code.  Leaving such things to others to figure out, you animate your supporters with “Jail crooked Hillary,” “Build the wall,” and “Journalists are liars” remarks. You take responsibility for nothing: whatever goes wrong is someone else’s fault.

Apparently, you do like having the power that comes with the presidency, since it can be used (though questionably) for such things as pardoning an early supporter, Joe Arpaio, a notorious former Arizona sheriff who willfully violated a federal judge’s order by unlawfully detaining individuals his officers claimed might be in the country illegally.  Furthermore, you can dismiss staff members without too many questions being asked. So one wonders whether you have thought about your legacy.  What will Barron, currently age 11, read about your presidency when he is thirty?  Will he read assessments that will make him proud of you?  Or will he read that his father, who was not elected by popular vote, had an opportunity that he squandered?

Sincerely,

Letters2Trump

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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