“Sunday Political Brunch: Will This Ever End?” – May 21, 2017


(Charleston, West Virginia) – I honestly don’t know where to begin; and I honestly don’t know where this will end. This has been one of the most bizarre weeks - politically speaking – that I have every witnessed. It’s like the rain storm that never ends. There are huge implications, so let’s “brunch” on that this week:

“Location, Location, Location” – I’ve often said in this column that when the political heat gets too high, the best things a politician can do are to change locations and to change the topics of conversation. President Trump departed the U.S. on an eight-day international trip. He’s probably hoping that will deflect public attention from some of the unfavorable coverage he has been getting here at home. Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Italy are among his stops. Maybe the questions he is asked there will be about foreign relations and terrorism, but I doubt that will be all.

“My Dear Friend Boris” – I will never, ever forget President Clinton visiting Russia on September 1, 1998, during a much-ballyhooed foreign trip. Mr. Clinton was probably looking forward to knocking his impeachment scandal off the front page. As he stood next to Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin, came this question from a reporter: “Sir, you were just speaking of the challenges that we face as a nation. And has the reaction since your admission of a relationship with Ms. Lewinsky caused you any -- given you any cause for concern that you may not be as effective as you should be in leading the country?” Clinton repeated his public apology and request for forgiveness, but he looked as if he wanted to crawl under the Kremlin carpet and die.

“Shut Up Already” – The worst political wounds are usually self-inflicted. I advised post-election that Donald Trump should stop his daily tweets, or at least choose his battles more carefully. He would often go on a rant about something of little consequence, and it would blow up into a big story. He’s a provocateur, and he likes to stir up trouble. Friday, on a talk-radio interview, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) echoed my sentiments. “They keep throwing gasoline on the fire, every hour of every day,” said Manchin, advising the White House to tone it down. It wasn’t only Democrats who voiced this opinion. “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House,” said Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

“Nixon’s Most Famous Quote” – At the height of the Watergate scandal, President Nixon gave a speech to - of all people – a convention of newspaper editors. Nixon – like Trump – was no fan of the press. During that address, he said, “…people have got to know whether their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook.” A lot of people are comparing the current White House problems to the Nixon years, particularly after the firing of FBI Director James Comey. The two cases aren’t exactly parallel, and there are some “apples and oranges” comparisons. But the Trump investigations could become all-consuming, as happened with the Watergate and Clinton probes.

“No, No, Next Question” – On Thursday, in a joint news conference with the President of Colombia, President Trump was asked whether he had requested then-FBI-Director James Comey to drop the investigation of fired National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Trump responded tersely, “No, no. Next question.” Maybe we’ll get some clarity, as Comey has now agreed to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee some time after Memorial Day. Trump has asserted that Director Comey – on three occasions – has said Trump was not the focus of the Russian election-hacking investigation. Comey has asserted there was some White House pressure to halt the Flynn-Russia probe. And now, former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been appointed Special Counsel to lead the Russia investigation. Stay tuned!

“Why All of This Matters” – I lived through Watergate and was a student of it. I covered the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal for a full year as a reporter in Washington, D.C. In 1972, President Nixon made his breakthrough, historic trips to China and Russia; but I don’t remember a single significant accomplishment of Mr. Nixon once the Watergate scandal hit full-bore. President Clinton had very productive years from 1995 through 1997; but once the Lewinsky affair broke, the administration’s agenda came to a screeching halt. The biggest danger of the Trump-Russia-Comey mess is that little else of significance may get done in Washington for the foreseeable future.

What are your thoughts on all the new revelations – or accusations – concerning President Trump? Just click the comment button at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

© 2017, Mark Curtis media, LLC.

Photo courtesy: cbsnews.com

Mark Curtis, Ed.D., is a nationally-known political reporter, author and analyst based on the East Coast

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