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Trump destroys the sanctity of the Presidents Club

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One of the most disturbing elements of the Trump presidency, nearly one year after his stunning win, has nothing to do with nuclear weapons, war, white supremacists or Russia. These things are tangentially involved, but not central to what I believe is the worst legacy Trump could leave. If history judges him harshly (and it will) on political issues, he will be judged more harshly because he has destroyed the sanctity of the Presidents Club.

This club has unwritten rules that actually have a purpose behind them. Since George Washington (who hated the concept of political parties and “factions”), former presidents have generally withheld the harshest criticism of the current occupants of the office. Violations of this rule have generally brought swift condemnation from the press and the former president’s own party.

One example from 2007: Jimmy Carter was raked over the coals for calling George W. Bush’s administration “the worst in history.” Though he publicly retracted the statement, the sting was palpable.

“His language was much sharper than what you’d normally hear” from an ex-president, said the presidential historian Michael Beschloss. But he and other presidential scholars roll their eyes at the notion that former presidents do not speak ill of current ones.

Criticism is a privilege of former presidents to be exercised judicially. We know that as the office changes hands (and parties), there will be disagreements. Eisenhower thought Kennedy was foolish (and Kennedy eventually came around to some of Ike’s policies). Teddy Roosevelt was withering in his criticism of Taft and Wilson, but as historians note, he remained a candidate for president.

The rules for candidates are much, much more lax than for former presidents who will not seek office again. Given that the five living presidents today are all in the category of not seeking office (two are too old, and three have served two terms), the unwritten rules for the club of living presidents should apply. This especially holds true for former and current presidents of the same party.

But Trump doesn’t allow it. He accepts no criticism and responds forcefully to the slightest implication of error.

White House attacks legacies of both Bush presidents after reports that they refused to vote for Trump – The Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2017/11/04/both-bush-presidents-openly-condemned-trump-book-claims-one-even-voted-for-clinton/?utm_term=.a4d486b47960The White House on Saturday disparaged the legacies of the only two living Republican presidents to precede Donald Trump, after reports that both men castigated Trump in interviews last year and refused to vote for him.

Bush-Trump war

The Washington Post reported that the White House responded to the two former Bush presidents’ remarks about Trump with venom against Bush’s Iraq foreign policy.

“If one Presidential candidate can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two presidents really had,” the White House wrote to CNN. It called the younger Bush’s decision to wage war on Iraq “one of the greatest foreign policy mistakes in American history.”

Right or wrong, this is a serious breach of the Presidents Club rules by both the Bushes and Trump.

Why this is important

Three things have always marked a peaceful transition of power in the United States. One: the outgoing president does not contest the results of the election or declare it invalid. Two: the small club of ex-presidents recognizes the weight of the office on the current president and offer discreet assistance or advice. Three: the current president returns the favor by not generally going after the previous presidents either legally or in the media.

The Trump presidency has violated two of these, and nearly violated the third. There was a real push to somehow find a smoking gun to declare Trump’s election invalid in the days between November 8 and January 20th. This included using every branch of federal law enforcement along with secret FISA warrants. This doesn’t mean Trump had no part in provoking it, but still, this is a very dangerous precedent.

If the sanctity of the President’s Club cannot be restored, we may find future presidents not simply criticizing, but prosecuting Trump or their own antecedents.

Final thoughts

We should not be smug or casual about this. The Presidents Club is important because there are so few living presidents at any given time, and the office carries so much power with it.

Destroying the sanctity of the relationship between the men who have occupied the office of president, and opening up future presidents to every kind of legal action is the worst thing President Trump could do to this country. If this is his legacy, then regardless of what other results he might obtain, his fitness for the office will be a subject historians will treat most unkindly.

Managing Editor of NOQ Report. Serial entrepreneur. Faith, family, federal republic. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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News

Romney swipes at Trump over ‘s***hole’ comment

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Romney swipes at Trump over shole comment

Some celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by honoring the civil rights leader. Others just take the day off. Potential (nearly certain) Senate candidate Mitt Romney used his national holiday to take a swipe at President Trump’s comments about “s***hole countries” that were reported last week.

My Take

It was a strange play. It’s obviously a populist view that goes against a semi-populist President who sees his greatest divergent from American culture in his opinions about race and immigration, but for Romney to tie it into MLK Day is a little odd. There is plenty of time to demonstrate he would be a candidate who opposes the President. There’s only one strategic reason to do it now: If he intends to support the President in the near future.

By Tweeting this, Romney could be doing two things to help his cause. First, he builds credibility as a GOP Senator who is not beholden to the President’s every whim. Second, it gets that out of the way up front so he can turn around and talk about the good things the President is doing.

Then again, it’s probably just a politician playing politics.

Further Reading

Mitt Romney Calls Out Donald Trump With MLK Day Tweet

https://www.redstate.com/arbogast/2018/01/15/mitt-romney-calls-donald-trump-mlk-day-tweet/With Orrin Hatch (finally) retiring, the recruitment efforts to get Mitt Romney to run for that seat started immediately. With the revelation that Romney received treatment for prostate cancer over the summer, it may not be a slam dunk he runs, but if he does, Donald Trump shouldn’t expect Mitt to just get in line.

The fallout from the “s**thole” comments continue for President Trump, providing another means for him to get in his own way. The economy hums along. Corporations continue to announce wage increases and bonus payouts due to the GOP tax cut. Trump had the opportunity to get something done on DACA (which 2/3 of the country supports), and he chooses instead to yelp to the press that he’s the least racist person in the world.

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Democrats

Emoji loving Manning running for Senate

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After getting off early in the eleventh hour of Obama’s presidency, Manning became an “activist” taking on and getting roasted by many conservatives on Twitter, most memorably, Ben Shapiro. Now he’s filed for a Senate run for Ben Cardin’s seat in Maryland. This would be Manning stepping up to the big leagues of politics for sure.

It’s somewhat similar to Austin Petersen in Missouri, in that we have someone who has built up a social media following prior to launching a high profile campaign. This strategy definitely worked for Trump, among other things, but we await how social media darlings perform in campaigns.

However, this is also possible battle in the Democrat civil war between the Old Party and the Socialists. In The Most Important Races of 2018: Part 1, one of the elections mentioned was the Illinois District 3 race because one of the most moderate pro-life Democrats was being challenged by the pro-abortion and far more leftist Marrie Newman.

This was the first instance of a very formidable leftist challenging a Democrat for not being socialist enough. Manning, whatever his first name is these days, is on the side of Socialist for in the potential intra-party civil war. He is on the Colin Kaepernick, Linda Sarsour, and perhaps Bernie Sanders level.

This looks like it could be battle number two but Ben Cardin is a rock solid product of the Maryland Democrat machine. So in a way, this seems like two liberal going at it but key differences in policies are likely to be found in the area of foreign policy and dealing with Trump.

Being transgender isn’t enough to win a seat in liberal Maryland. The seriousness of Manning will largely depend on his finances.  Maryland seats are so easy to win by Democrats because of how blue the state is and the heavy gerrymandering for the House districts. So when a new seat opens up in Maryland, Democrats invest loads of money to fight for the easy to retain seat.

Thus David Trone spent 10 million losing a House primary in 2016 while Chris Van Hollen spent enormous amounts of money to win his Senate Primary (he was trying to upgrade from the House to the Senate because Barbara Mikulski was retiring). Both of these high dollar primaries were for open seats, so if Manning wants to primary Ben Cardin, he will need a lot of money.

Maryland is Democrat because of its proximity to the Federal government. There are tons of government workers and contractors in Maryland, and several companies where workers need security clearances. Odds are the convicted intel thief isn’t going to get off so easy with voters just because he put lipstick on. It will also be interesting to see Manning’s ability to win the black vote because Bernie Sanders failed to beat Hillary in this category despite being BLM and beyond.

Lastly, it Manning’s likability among independents will also make or break him. Maryland has closed primaries so they won’t be able to stop him if Democrats abandon long-time Senator Cardin.

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Final Thoughts

Republican nominees have their rallying cry. Cardin could be deposed or simply step aside to let the young man take his place and retire at 75. If Manning becomes the nominee, the race just became watchable. In the past, Republican efforts to take the seat have been pitiful, to say the least, but Manning is likely an amateur at campaigning and a polarizing figure, to put it mildly. He lacks experience and has a criminal record. So GOP might have a chance to steal this seat for six years. One thing is for certain: this Senate race just got interesting.

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Foreign Affairs

Iran nuclear sanctions waived again, but human rights sanctions imposed

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Iran nuclear sanctions waived again but human rights sanctions imposed

President Trump and the United States continue to support the Iran nuclear deal. Today, he signed a 120-day waiver on sanctions that should be imposed on the nation for breaching the 2015 deal. He did so with a promise that this would be the last waiver he’ll sign.

“I am waiving the application of certain nuclear sanctions, but only in order to secure our European allies’ agreement to fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last chance,” Trump said in a statement Friday. “In the absence of such an agreement, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time I judge that such an agreement is not within reach, I will withdraw from the deal immediately.”

At the same time, the administration issued 14 new sanctions against individuals involved in human rights violations during the Iran protests as well as those who support the Iran missile program. These sanctions, while very minor, lend a small amount of credibility to the administration, which has openly supported the protests in the Muslim theocracy.

Further Reading

‘Last Chance’ for Iran, Trump Says, as Sanctions on Tehran Regime Waived Again

https://www.algemeiner.com/2018/01/12/last-chance-for-iran-trump-says-as-sanctions-on-tehran-regime-waived-again/US President Donald Trump said on Friday he would waive nuclear sanctions against Iran for the last time to give Washington and its European allies a chance to fix the “terrible flaws” of the 2015 nuclear deal.

A senior administration official said Trump wants the deal strengthened with a follow-on agreement in 120 days or the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the international pact.

If the U.S. Is Not Isolated on the Iran Deal There Is Something Really Wrong With Our National Soul

https://www.redstate.com/streiff/2018/01/12/u.s.-not-isolated-iran-deal-something-really-wrong-national-soul/One of the first lessons you should learn as you transition into adulthood is that you don’t go along just because everyone else is doing something. The arguments for staying in the JCPOA, as best I can tell, is that the other parties (Russia, China, Germany, France, the UK, and Iran) won’t like us if we leave and we’ll lose unspecified money in sales. So a) popularity and b) money. If you want to argue that a deal that is essentially unenforceable and unverifiable prevents Iran from developing nukes, have at it. I’m not going to argue with you because I don’t argue over imaginary happenings.

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