WASHINGTON — In the months before Kirstjen Nielsen was forced to resign, she tried to focus the White House on one of her highest priorities as homeland security secretary: preparing for new and different Russian forms of interference in the 2020 election.
President Trump’s chief of staff told her not to bring it up in front of the president.
Ms. Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security early this month after a tumultuous 16-month tenure and tensions with the White House. Officials said she had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by hackers, to rerouting internet traffic and infiltrating power grids.
But in a meeting this year, Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, made it clear that Mr. Trump still equated any public discussion of malign Russian election activity with questions about the legitimacy of his victory. According to one senior administration official, Mr. Mulvaney said it “wasn’t a great subject and should be kept below his level.”
Even though the Department of Homeland Security has primary responsibility for civilian cyberdefense, Ms. Nielsen eventually gave up on her effort to organize a White House meeting of cabinet secretaries to coordinate a strategy to protect next year’s elections. ctd
Let’s start with the obvious: Every president lies. Maybe it’s a little fib. Maybe it’s “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” Maybe it’s actual perjury. After all, we live in a fallen world and saints typically don’t run for president.
All of that said, the sheer volume of falsehoods, fabrications, mistruths, and prevarications from Trump and his administration collected in the Mueller report should be disconcerting to pretty much everyone in America, regardless of party or creed. He lies to the press. He lies in official communications. He lies to his staff. He tries to get others to lie for him.
Here’s a small sample (all page numbers are from Vol. II): continued
President Donald Trump told acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan last week to close the southern border and that he would pardon him if he faced any legal challenges, according to The New York Times.
The paper, citing three people briefed about the conversation, reported that they spoke when Trump visited the border town of Calexico, California, last week shortly before he named McAleenan acting homeland security secretary.
One of the officials briefed on the conversation said they did not know whether the president was joking. But Trump's remarks alarmed officials at the agency who were briefed on it, The Times said.
It's possible that some students belong to more than one of these categories and, presumably, some would have been admitted without membership in one of the categories, but a more meaningful analysis would reveal the percentage of students who would not be part of the class if not for their category membership.
What's also hidden from view is the advantage accrued by students whose parents paid a fortune for daily tutoring, SAT/ACT prep and application coaches. I've known parents who've spent $100k or more on such assistance. Without a doubt, it made the difference between admission to a top tier school and a middle-of-the-pack institution.
And how many students have had a university presidents visit their home while they're in the process of applying to college? I know of two such cases, both of which involved wealthy parents who are big donors. Maybe they're represented in the "Dean or Director's Interest List" category.
So as the Trump administration launches attacks on racial diversity as a consideration in college admissions, we should not leave consideration of the above categories out of discussions of fairness and merit in admissions. By the way, 6% of the student population identifies black or African American, 10% Hispanic or Latino.
During a trip to Mount Vernon, Donald Trump was reportedly amazed that George Washington had not named the historic property—or anything else—after himself. Politico reports that the president was perplexed why America’s first president was not prescient enough to name any of his vast estate in his own honor. “If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said, according Politico, citing three sources. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”
In politics, as in physics, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Hence, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s emergence as the Donald Trump of the left. Fundraising and polls show that many Democrats think the best answer to an angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flair for demagoguery is, well, another angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flair for demagoguery. It’s not difficult to picture a scenario in which Bernie captures the Democratic presidential nomination with the same formula that worked for Trump with Republicans in 2016.
On paper, the independent from Vermont doesn’t make sense: Democrats are a party of youth, and he’s 77; they are majority-female, and he’s a man; they represent the emerging multicultural America, and he is white. Statistically, he is the worst option against Trump: An NBC News poll this week found that there are more voters with concerns about Sanders (58 percent) than there are for former vice president Joe Biden (48 percent), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (53 percent), Sen. Kamala D. Harris or former representative Beto O’Rourke (41 percent each).
I think some people confuse thick-headed big mouthery with authenticity. Kinda of like a stupid drunk ranting while his drunk friends nod in assent.