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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Rhode Islander becomes first Trumpster to go

First Flynn….Spicer next?
By Will Collette

Pic of the MomentOne of Rhode Island’s endearing – and annoying – qualities is our compulsion to look for Rhode Island connections to national or international events so we can prove our relevance.

Take the way much of Rhode Island’s media drooled over Trump's pick of two Rhode Islanders for high profile White House positions 

One is retired (actually, fired) General Mike Flynn to National Security Advisor and the other is Sean Spicer as White House Press Secretary.

It might have been better to downplay those two’s Rhode Island connections since they have turned out to be among the worst of a simply terrible cast of clowns working for the Trump White House.

Portsmouth resident Mike Flynn has become the first high ranking Trump official to be forced to resign. He allegedly violated the law by trying to cut backroom deals with the Russians, and then lied to cover it up.

While Flynn’s conversations with Vladimir Putin’s representative about lifting US economic sanctions against Russian may have violated enough long-standing federal laws to get Flynn indicted, he learned the classic lesson that it’s often the cover-up that gets you, not the actual crime.

This is the second go-round for Flynn in the White House. President Obama fired Flynn from the position of defense intelligence chief for insubordination. Flynn claimed he was fired due to his views on Islam, which by most standards are repugnant and racist.

Which seemed to make Flynn a perfect match for Trump, except his other character flaws did him in.
Let’s not have any more talk about him being a Rhode Islander, shall we?

Then there’s Barrington native Sean Spicer whose ineptitude as White House Press Secretary has already made him a celebrity of sorts on Saturday Night Live.

Image result for sean spicer & goebbels
Yeah, they've got the looking ridiculous part down pat
Most people who have held that position in the past valued their credibility as their most valuable asset. Not Spicer. 

Rather than model himself on iconic White House Press Secretaries of the past, like James Brady, Pierre Salinger or Bill Moyers, Spicer seems to be channeling Joseph Goebbels, Propaganda Minister for the Third Reich.

To stand up before the world press and tell lie after demonstrable lie, what other role model but Goebbels fits?

He is so terrible at his job that rumors are already floating that Trump doesn’t like his performance and is considering his ouster.

The Boston Globe did a feature piece on Spicer, highlighting his Rhode Island roots and focusing on the “Seventeen Rules” Spicer shared with students at Portsmouth Abbey where he was schooled.

Some of his rules were specific to the students, such as “Get to know the international students and understand their different perspectives.” That’s an odd one, considering he works for Trump, who could care less about getting to know or understand people from other countries.
Spicer’s Rule #2 was aimed at the students, but really be made into a plaque for this boss’s desk: Think before you tweet, post or upload.”
Likewise, Trump has never learned Spicer’s Rule #3: “Take responsibility when you screw up — you will be rewarded.” Never, ever has Trump ever owned up to making any mistakes.

But Trump does seem to adhere to two of Spicer’s rules, such as Rule #8, “Perception is reality,” and Rule #15, “It's not what you say, but how you say it.”

Spicer might have added a 16th rule: “Always keep your resume updated.”

If any good comes out of Flynn’s and Spicer’s Washington escapades, maybe it’ll be that we simply be proud to be Rhode Islanders, without counting on such dubious public figures as these to pump up our reputation.

As to the Michael Flynn matter, Robert Reich raises Six Big Questions

The American public deserves to know the answers to at least the first five of these questions, and will then make a judgment on the sixth:

1. Why didn’t Trump act sooner to fire Flynn? He knew about Flynn’s contact with the Russian ambassador at least since January, when then-acting attorney general Sally Yates notified the White House that Flynn had “put himself in a compromising position” with his phone call to the Russian ambassador.

2. What, if anything, did Trump authorize Michael Flynn to tell the Russians before the inauguration?

3. What other contacts did Flynn and other Trump aides have with Russia before the election? U.S. intelligence reports show that Flynn was in touch with Russian ambassador Kislyak during the 2016 campaign, and that communications between the two continued after Nov. 8. The Russian ambassador has even confirmed having contacts with Flynn before and after the election, though he declined to say what was discussed.

4. Did Flynn or other Trump aides know of or cooperate with Russia in interfering in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf?

5. If so, did Trump know about or encourage such cooperation?

These questions won’t go away. The FBI and the Senate Intelligence Community are investigating. Hopefully, investigative reporters are also on the case. 

Eventually, the truth will come out. As Richard Nixon learned, coverups in Washington just make things worse. 

Which leads inevitably to the last question:

6. If Trump knew or encouraged, will he be impeached?