Despite his promise to President-elect Trump during their White House meeting two days after the election to do everything he could to ease Trump’s transition into office, President Obama has encouraged disappointed leftists to continue challenging the legitimacy of Trump’s victory. During a press conference while attending an Asian-Pacific summit conference in Lima, Peru, Obama said he would not follow the precedent of his predecessor, George W. Bush, by refraining from commenting on the new president’s policies. Instead, Obama reserved the right to speak out, “if there are issues that have less to do with the specifics of some legislative proposal or battle or go to core questions about our values and ideals, and if I think that it’s necessary or helpful for me to defend those ideals.”
When Obama’s last foreign trip as president was scheduled months ago, it was envisioned as a victory lap in which he could assure international leaders that Hillary Clinton would continue his foreign policies. But reality intervened, and over the weekend in Lima, Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders he met, with somewhat less confidence, that President Donald Trump would respect current U.S. international commitments, even though it was likely that U.S. foreign relations would change under his administration.
During a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, he said that regardless of Trump’s policies, he expected her to protect “the basic tenets of a liberal, market-based democratic order that has created unprecedented prosperity and security for Europe, but also for the world.”
OBAMA WARNS OF A LOST LIBERAL “WORLD ORDER”
He warned that if Trump, his successor, decides that the U.S. should no longer lead that “world order. . . then it collapses. . . there’s nobody to fill the void,” and the world would return to the chaos that prevailed prior to World War II.
Just before returning to the U.S. on Sunday, Obama expressed hope that Trump might not overturn as many of his administration’s policies as he had promised during the campaign.
“I can’t be sure of anything,” Obama began, hesitantly. The presidency, he said, “has a way of shaping your thinking and in some cases modifying your thinking because you recognize the solemn responsibility not only to the American people but the solemn responsibility America has as the most powerful country in the world.”
The lame duck president seemed to be hoping that the liberal protests against Trump’s victory, featured so prominently in the mainstream media since the election, will continue and force Trump to think twice before implementing his policy proposals. Obama said, “I would not advise people who feel strongly or who are concerned about some of the issues that have been raised during the course of the campaign … to be silent.”
Most of the post-election anti-Trump protests have been peaceful, but others in major cities including Chicago, New York City and Portland, Oregon have been violent. There have also been widespread reports of students expressing their support for Trump being bullied.
CHALLENGING OBAMA TO HALT THE PROTEST
Concerned by Obama’s refusal to call for an end to the uprisings against the president-elect, Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, demanded several times that the president assume his role as commander-in-chief and restore peace on the streets.
“I am calling for responsibility and decency,” Conway told Fox News. “I hope President Obama says, ‘Cut it out.’”
Instead of issuing a plea for a restoration of peace in American streets, Obama sought to dismiss the protests as a natural post-election phenomenon.
“Whenever you have got an incoming president of the other side, particularly after a bitter election like this, it takes a while for people to reconcile themselves with that new reality,” Obama said, ignoring the fact that the scale of the post-election anti-Trump protests is unprecedented.
Obama publicly lectured Trump on his use of Twitter and other forms of social media to send his message directly to the American people instead of allowing it to be filtered through the mainstream media, which remains as hostile to Trump as ever.
During the campaign, Trump repeatedly promised that he would undo much of Obama’s legacy on the first day of his presidency. This is possible because Obama enacted many of his policies via executive order rather than by passing congressional legislation. The orders can all be canceled with a stroke of the new president’s pen. They include Obama’s order to suspend enforcement of immigration laws against certain groups of illegal aliens, tighten EPA emission standards for the burning of fossil fuels, and even the Iran nuclear deal. It is also certain that Trump will not permit Congress to ratify Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal.
DEMOCRATS CHALLENGE TRUMP’S MANDATE
Democrats are openly challenging the legitimacy of Trump’s election, pointing out that Mrs. Clinton, mostly due to voting in California, New York and other large Democrat bastions, won the popular vote. Electoral College votes, according to the U.S. Constitution, determine the outcome of a presidential election.
In several interviews, Democrat Senator Charles Schumer, who will replace Harry Reid as the Senate Minority Leader in January, denied that Trump’s Electoral College victory gave him a mandate to carry out his campaign promises, including repealing and replacing Obamacare and rolling back the onerous regulations that the Democrat-supported Dodd-Frank bill placed on U.S. financial institutions.
Schumer’s ascension to the leadership of Senate Democrats has been years in the making. A liberal, Schumer has maintained close ties to Wall Street and is far more moderate than the leaders of the progressive wing of the party, such as senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. They argue that the devastating Democrat losses in the election across the board, including congressional and state legislative races, were because the party’s policies weren’t liberal enough.
Schumer’s position as head of the Senate Democrats seems secure, though he will face a difficult task in preparing for the 2018 midterm elections. Democrat senators who were swept into office with Obama in 2012 will have to win re-election without Obama’s name at the top of the ballot to draw his Democrats to the polls.
SENATE DEMOCRATS FACE A TOUGH 2018 ELECTION
Democrats and liberal Independents will be defending 25 out of the 33 Senate seats up for election in 2018, while Republicans will have to defend only 8. One of the most endangered of the Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2018 is Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The state went for Trump over Clinton by 68%-26% margin after Clinton told the state’s coal miners earlier this year that her environmental policies would put all of them out of a job.
Rumors swirled that Manchin, who may be the most moderate Democrat in the Senate, was going to switch parties to save his job, and up the Republican majority in the chamber by another vote. That may have been why Schumer brought Manchin into the Senate Democrat leadership, in order to hold him close.
In interviews over the weekend, Schumer said he would seek common ground with Trump on issues on which they are in general agreement, such as a major new infrastructure spending program, certain pro-business changes in the tax law, and renegotiating fairer international trade deals. At the same time, he promised to go to war with Trump on issues of fundamental disagreement, such as doing away with Obamacare, enacting Trump’s proposed tax cuts and Trump’s proposal to combat illegal immigration.
He spoke to a split between Trump’s agenda and the traditional policies of the Republican Party which he hopes to exploit as Senate Minority Leader. “I think he won the blue-collar vote far more because of the Democratic programs he espoused than the Republican,” Schumer said in a weekend interview, as if he has a claim towards Trump that he has to follow Schumer’s lead. “We’re challenging him to work with us on those, which means he will have to tell the Republican establishment that he’s not going to agree with them on those issues.”
Schumer has adopted some of the talking points used by the extreme left wing of his party to explain away their defeat on Election Day. “We didn’t have a bold enough, strong enough economic agenda and message,” Schumer said. “And even though the average blue-collar worker was closer to our beliefs than Republican beliefs, Donald Trump came off as the change agent.”
Schumer said he had spoken with the president-elect several times since the election, and is waiting to see how their relationship develops. “He’s called. He’s friendly,” Schumer said. “The word is that he thinks he can work with me, but we’ll see. The jury’s out.” They know each other from New York and have spoken previously.
HOUSE DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY
In the House, the Democrat leadership is in disarray. The disappointing results of the election triggered an internal revolt against longtime Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Her challenger for the leadership, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, said he is running because his party is facing a political emergency.
“I mean, we lost 68 seats since 2010, we have the lowest number we’ve had in our caucus since 1929. … The question is, how bad does it have to get before we recognize we have to change?” Ryan asked.
He added that talented members of the House Democrat caucuses “feel bottlenecked” because they are not being given an opportunity.
THE NEXT ATTORNEY GENERAL
The first test of Democrat congressional conduct will be the reception Trump’s cabinet nominations receive when they are presented to the Senate for advice and consent, as required by the Constitution. Schumer said that Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney-general, shouldn’t expect any special deference from his Democrat Senate colleagues, and that he will receive “a very thorough and tough vetting. . . [just like] anybody else.”
Sessions was the first cabinet pick announced by Trump’s transition team, which stepped up its pace last week after speculative reports in the mainstream media that the transition process was in disarray, following its takeover by Vice President-elect Mike Pence from the hands of its former head, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani were initially thought to be leading contenders for the attorney-general’s post. Both had Justice Department experience as successful prosecutors before they entered electoral politics. Giuliani took himself out of the running for that post, indicating he wants a higher position in the new government, such as secretary of state. Sessions will face less opposition than Christie or Giuliani would have from Senate Democrats in the confirmation process, and a trouble-free confirmation is important to getting Trump’s presidency off to a fast start.
Sessions is well qualified for the post. Following his appointment by Ronald Reagan in 1981 as U.S. attorney in Alabama, Sessions was elected state attorney-general in 1994, and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1996, where he has served on the Judiciary Committee.
Sessions is one of the Senate’s most conservative members. He supports maintaining the terrorist detention facility at Guantánamo Bay and the use of waterboarding when necessary to extract vital information from high value terrorists.
A TOUGH STAND ON IMMIGRATION
As attorney general, Sessions would order the Justice Department to do more to crack down on illegal immigration and strict enforcement of federal drug laws. Sessions has also supported Trump’s call for a temporary ban on inadequately vetted immigrants from countries infested by Islamic terrorism.
“We have no duty to morally or legally admit people,” Sessions has said. “We need to use common sense with the who-what-where of the threat. It is the toxic ideology of Islam.”He also disapproves of the Obama administration’s use of the Justice Department to expand the definition of civil rights. Sessions has said the government should not be “a sword to assert inappropriate claims that have the effect of promoting political agendas.”
For these reasons, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund issued a statement saying, “It is unimaginable that he [Sessions] could be entrusted to serve as the chief law enforcement officer for this nation’s civil rights laws.”
A VICTIM OF FALSE ACCUSATIONS
Senate Democrats, led by Ted Kennedy and Joe Biden, led a campaign to smear Sessions during 1986 confirmation hearings after Reagan had nominated him to be a federal judge. Sessions was accused of making racially charged statements about the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, and his nomination was rejected. After being elected to the Senate, Sessions served on the same committee that rejected his nomination. Over time, Ted Kennedy became Sessions’ friend. Senator Arlen Specter, another committee member who voted against the nomination, years later publicly admitted that he had made a mistake, and had “since found that Senator Sessions is egalitarian.”
Nevertheless, the anti-Trump media was quick to attack the nomination of Sessions and revive the accusations made against his nomination 30 years ago.
Sessions is a staunch law-and-order conservative, and an outspoken foe of illegal and some forms of legal immigration. According to a Wall Street Journal editorial, nobody familiar with his record could suspect him of being a racist. While he was a U.S. attorney in Alabama, Sessions helped to desegregate the state’s public schools and won a death-penalty conviction against the head of the state Ku Klux Klan in a capital murder trial, dealing a heavy blow to the morale and leadership of the notoriously racist organization.
Sessions was the first senator to endorse Trump’s presidential candidacy. He was crucial to Trump’s early efforts to win the support of conservatives by helping to compile a list of 20 highly respected candidates from which Trump promised to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia last year.
THE MAN WHO WILL RUN TRUMP’S WHITE HOUSE
Another highly respected early choice by Trump was the appointment of Reince (Reinhold Richard) Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) to serve as White House Chief of Staff. Priebus deserves much of the credit for organizing the RNC’s effective grass roots organization across the United States. The Trump campaign relied heavily on the RNC’s Election Day get-out-the-vote efforts, whose success, especially with rural and blue collar voters, was one of the keys to Trump’s victory.
Priebus calmly resisted the pressure from prominent “Never Trump Republicans” to cut off RNC support for Trump at the low points of his campaign. Unlike other national GOP party leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan, Priebus never criticized Trump in public.
Priebus has long been admired for his political organization skills. While he was the GOP party chairman in Wisconsin from 2007-2011, Priebus was credited with bringing Wisconsin Republicans to national prominence, including Ryan and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and creating one of the strongest state political organizations in the country.
On the same day that Trump appointed Priebus chief of staff, he also announced the appointment of former Breitbart News CEO Stephen Bannon to the new post of Chief Strategist and Senior Advisor at the White House.
LIBELING STEPHEN BANNON
Bannon has been a political lightning rod, drawing strong condemnation from liberals and Democrats since he assumed the post of CEO of the Trump campaign as part of the same shakeup which led to the departure of Paul Manafort as Trump’s campaign manager to be replaced by Kellyanne Conway.
Conway and Bannon are widely credited for helping to keep Trump focused and on message during the final months of the campaign. Bannon urged Trump to continue focusing on mobilizing support from white working class voters, and not backtrack on his positions on immigration, free trade and economic recovery, which were of greatest concern to them. Working class and rural voters ultimately came out in record-high proportions, enabling Trump to overcome Hillary Clinton’s lead with black voters in the Rust Belt states, which was the key to his upset victory.
Bannon had served as Trump’s primary ideological advisor even before he formally joined the campaign on August 15. Liberals accuse Bannon of having served as a conduit for racist and bigoted influences on Trump’s policy proposals, and warn that he will continue to do so in the White House.
As proof of his bigotry, they point to anti-Semitic, anti-feminist and anti-Muslim articles, written by others, which were published on the Breitbart News site after Bannon took over its operation following the death of its conservative founder, Andrew Breitbart, in 2012.
Bannon had long predicted the demise of the Republican Party establishment, and was determined to hasten it by whatever means necessary. He told Fox News in 2011 that the GOP leadership was, “the moral equivalent of the Whigs before the Civil War, that is, a party that has gotten away from its bearings, its roots.” He was quick to recognize and capture the energy of the tea-party movement, and told tea-party activists through the Breitbart website that their resentment at the party’s establishment was justified. Earlier this year Bannon told a group of tea-party activists, “You are continually stabbed in the back, mocked and ridiculed by your ‘betters.’”
When Trump announced his run for the White House in June 2015, Bannon turned Breitbart News into one of his most enthusiastic supporters. Other conservatives at Breitbart were more skeptical, and were attracted to what became the Never Trump movement.
Earlier this year, a number of Breitbart’s top staffers, including editor-at-large Ben Shapiro, resigned from Breitbart in protest against Bannon’s efforts to “shape [Breitbart] into Trump’s own personal Pravda.” But none of them accused Bannon of bigotry or racism or of promoting radical white nationalist ideas, as the liberals claim.
FALSE ANTI-SEMITISM CHARGES FROM THE ADL
Perhaps the most disturbing accusation came from a statement issued by the Anti-Defamation League which said it “strongly opposes” Bannon’s appointment to the Trump White House because, under his leadership, Breitbart News became the “chief curator for the alt-right.” The statement was issued by ADL president Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama White House aide. He called Bannon “a man who presided over the premier website of the alt-right, a loose-knit group of white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists.”
Bannon’s Jewish defenders include former Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who is one of Israel’s most outspoken liberal defenders, and conservative commentator Dennis Prager, who wrote a widely-respected book on anti-Semitism. They vigorously reject the ADL’s claim that Bannon is anti-Semitic, and say that the evidence cited to justify the accusation is either taken totally out of context or came from an unreliable source.
Bannon’s alleged anti-Semitic statements came from accusations that his ex-wife made in court against him during their bitter 2007 divorce proceedings. He has flatly denied them.
Bannon’s critics cite two articles that were published on the Breitbart site which they claim had an anti-Semitic theme. One of them was entitled, “Bill Kristol: Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.” Conservative commentator David Horowitz has come to Bannon’s defense. He writes: “In fact, neither Breitbart nor Bannon is responsible for that statement. A Jew is. I wrote the article, which was neither requested nor commissioned by Breitbart. And I wrote the headline: ‘Bill Kristol, Republican Spoiler, Renegade Jew.’”
WHY BILL KRISTOL WAS CALLED A “RENEGADE JEW”
“I wrote the article when Kristol set out to lead the Never Trump movement, after Trump had secured the Republican nomination. I would write it again in a heartbeat,” Horowitz said. “I would write it the same way and with the same headline. Bill Kristol and his friends betrayed the Republican Party, betrayed the American people, and betrayed the Jews when he set out to undermine Trump and elect the criminal Hillary Clinton. Obama and Hillary are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, the organization that launched the Arab drive to destroy Israel and push its Jews into the sea (that was their slogan).”
The second article condemned journalist Anne Applebaum as a “Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned,” for her “disinformation offensive against the anti-globalist right.” The article criticizing her said that Applebaum, who was the wife of the former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski, “desperately wanted to replace Baroness Catherine Ashton as EU foreign affairs spokesman. This bid died with the exposure of corruption in the Polish Civic Platform party. This turn of events ended Applebaum’s dream of being Poland’s first Jewish-American first lady.” It led to the reference to her as a “Polish, Jewish, American elitist scorned.” Bannon’s defenders claim that in context, describing Applebaum as Jewish was just another biographical detail, no more significant than the references to her being Polish or American.
Dershowitz remains highly critical of Bannon for his conservative political views, including his support for the alt-right groups, which does include anti-Semites. “Both Bannon and Breitbart have made bigoted statements about Muslims, women and others, which I do not condone. That is why I do not support Bannon, even though I do not think he’s an anti-Semite. Bigotry against any group should be disqualifying for high office,” Dershowitz wrote.
Prager interviewed David Horowitz on his radio talk show. Prager began by stating that “Calling Steve Bannon an anti-Semite is a witch-hunt … It’s just a libel … the whole thing is fabricated.” Prager also said that the false accusation damaged the credibility of the ADL, which is a necessary organization.
Horowitz said that he had sent the article criticizing Bill Kristol for effectively supporting Mrs. Clinton to Breitbart unsolicited, and wasn’t even paid for it. He condemned Clinton and Obama for “empowering” the “Jew-hating Hitlerites” of the Iranian regime and for “supporting the Muslim Brotherhood takeover in Egypt.”
LIBERAL HYPOCRISY IN SUPPORTING ELLISON
Horowitz noted the hypocrisy of those condemning Bannon for his alleged anti-Semitism while supporting black Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota to become the next chairman of the Democrat National Committee. “The same people who are attacking Steve Bannon are about to name as the head of their party a Farrakhanite, Jew-hating, racist, Muslim Brotherhood protégé, Keith Ellison,” Horowitz said.
Jewish staff members at Breitbart News, including Joel B. Pollak (a shomer Shabbos), its Senior Editor at Large, insist that rather than being an anti-Semite, Bannon turned Breitbart into one of the most consistently pro-Israel general news sites in the United States. During his tenure, Bannon created the Breitbart Jerusalem news bureau, under the direction of conservative pro-Israel reporter Aaron Klein.
In an interview published last week by the Wall Street Journal, Bannon cited the pro-Israel coverage generated by the Breitbart operation. “We’ve been leaders in stopping this BDS [boycott] movement in the United States; we’re a leader in the reporting of young Jewish students being harassed on American campuses; we’ve been a leader on reporting on the terrible plight of the Jews in Europe,” Bannon said.
ADL STEPS BACK
In light of the harsh criticism of ADL from Dershowitz, Prager and Jews working at Breitbart for unfairly branding Bannon an anti-Semite, it backed away from that charge last week, while sticking by its objections to his White House appointment.
In a second statement titled “Five Things to Know” about Stephen Bannon, the ADL wrote:
“Bannon has embraced the alt-right, a loose network of white nationalists and anti-Semites.
“Under Bannon, Breitbart published inflammatory pieces about women, Muslims, and other groups.
“Bannon is a critic of the Republican establishment and the left.
“Bannon has held a number of positions in his career.
“We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements from Bannon.”
The ADL statement also noted the defense of Bannon by Jewish employees at Breitbart and added, “We are not aware of any anti-Semitic statements made by Bannon himself,” other than the disputed statements cited in his 2007 divorce proceeding.
Bannon’s defenders admit that Breitbart’s coverage under his leadership often stimulated reader interest by skirting the edges of permissible discussion of highly controversial subjects, which no liberal publication would touch. One of them called Bannon, “a wily media entrepreneur, willing to poke at the edges of taboo subjects in order to drive up traffic on a generally conservative if sensationalist site.” His defenders insist that there is a need for a venue where controversial articles can be published without fear of being censored in the name of political correctness.
Joel Pollack wrote, “Breitbart is not an alt-right publication, and the daily news content of the website speaks for itself. Moreover, there are no ‘white nationalists and unabashed anti-Semites and racists’ working at, or published by, Breitbart.”
In his Wall Street Journal interview, Bannon described himself as “an economic nationalist. I am an America-first guy. I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world, [and] have said repeatedly strong nations make great neighbors.
“I’ve also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I’ve never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism.”
Bannon said he cut all of his ties with Breitbart and has had “nothing to do with the site since August 15,” and that Breitbart reporters “didn’t get a scoop from the campaign from the minute I took over. They’ve had to scramble like everybody else.”
He said that he will continue to distance himself from “all association with the site while I’m working at the pleasure of the president.”
BANNON’S SUPPORTERS SPEAK OUT
Others who have come to Bannon’s defense include Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway. In a brief exchange with reporters in Trump Tower, she said, “I worked very closely with Steve Bannon. He’s been the general of this campaign. And frankly, people should look at the full résumé. He has got a Harvard business degree. He’s a naval officer. He has success in entertainment. I don’t know if you’re aware of that.”
In an interview on NBC, Reince Priebus echoed Conway’s praise for Bannon’s resume, and added, “I’ve spent a lot of time with him. . . He was a force for good on the campaign at every level that I saw, all the time.”
Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy told reporters, “The president has a right to select the team,” and said that while he didn’t know Bannon, he would give him “the benefit of the doubt.”
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “critics of Steve Bannon know he’s smarter and tougher than they are.”
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION
John Zmirak, who has written articles for Breitbart, says that the left is trying to destroy Bannon using the time-tested formula of “guilt by association,” which Zmirak describes as follows:
1. Start by calling the target a racist or anti-Semite.
2. When pressed for evidence, if there isn’t any, cite some old friend or one-time associate of the target who can be plausibly framed as prejudiced.
3. Demand to know why the target hasn’t already denounced his former associate. Muse publicly about how very suspicious that is.
4. If some pundit defends the target, publicly charge that he is enabling racism and anti-Semitism.
5. Denounce that pundit, and demand that his friends and associates denounce him, too. Try to get him fired.
6. When anyone else sticks his neck out for the target, repeat 4 and 5.
Initial indications are that other politically controversial Trump appointees will get the same kind of rough treatment that Bannon has received.
The announcement of the appointments of Priebus and Bannon undermined the anti-Trump mainstream media’s favorite post-election story line to discredit the president-elect. It claimed that his transition team was in disarray, even though most previous newly-elected presidents took much longer to announce their first appointees.
Trump quickly followed with his appointment of Sessions to be his attorney general, and two more respected individuals, a former congressman and a retired general, to key positions on his national security team.
TRUMP CHOOSES A NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR
Trump has offered the job of national security adviser to retired General Michael Flynn, a top Pentagon intelligence officer who became controversial for openly criticizing U.S. counter-terrorism policies from inside the military establishment.
During his 33-year Army career, General Flynn became widely respected for his candor and unorthodox sensibilities about intelligence and military operations. He served as director of intelligence for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and intelligence adviser to General Stanley McChrystal when he commanded U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2010, Flynn raised eyebrows in the Pentagon establishment by publishing a paper that was highly critical of the military’s approach to intelligence collection, and for releasing the study outside of military channels through the Center for a New American Security, a center-left Washington think tank.
Flynn’s military career culminated in his 2012 appointment to run the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Flynn tried to overhaul the way the U.S. military treats intelligence but ran into opposition from his military superiors and counterparts.
These clashes ultimately led to Flynn’s removal from his post at DIA in 2014 by James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, and Michael Vickers, undersecretary of defense for intelligence, forcing him into retirement.
In a July 9, 2016, article published in the New York Post, Flynn wrote that he had been fired because of his criticism of the Obama administration for its passive approach to “radical Islamism and the expansion of al Qaeda and its associated movements.” He argued that Obama rested on his laurels after the killing Osama bin Laden in 2011 and underestimated the threat from al Qaeda and its remnants, which led to the rise of ISIS and its ability in 2014 to seize large swaths of territory from the Iraqi military.
Flynn was also criticized by retired General Martin Dempsey, another former Joint Chiefs chairman, for his involvement in partisan politics by delivering a speech at the Republican National Convention.
Later this summer, Flynn got into a dispute with Colin Powell, the former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who described Flynn as “nutty” in a hacked email. Flynn responded by calling Powell the sort of establishment military leader who has “lived in the bubble of Washington, D.C.” for too long.
RECOGNIZING THE ISLAMIC THREAT
Flynn has been particularly outspoken in his criticism of administration leaders for refusing to recognize Islam as a threat. In a speech to a conservative national security group in Texas this summer, he said, “I don’t see Islam as a religion,” prompting the audience to erupt in applause. “I see it as a political ideology. In a way, it’ll mask itself as a religion globally, especially in the West and especially in the United States, because it can hide itself and protect itself behind what we call freedom of religion.” He has also described Islam as a political ideology that has turned into a “malignant cancer.” Like Sessions, Flynn supports Trump’s proposed temporary restrictions on immigration from terrorist-infested countries.
As Trump’s national security adviser, Flynn would counsel the president and oversee the White House specialists who will help Trump formulate national security and foreign policies.
Flynn has called Russian President Vladimir Putin a dictator and a thug, but he supports Trump’s desire to work more closely with Putin in the fight against Islamic terrorism and keep Iran’s nuclear threat under control. Flynn also agrees with Trump that the Pentagon has been too open in publicly discussing its plans to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul from ISIS.
GOP CONGRESSMAN TO TAKE OVER THE CIA
On Friday, Trump announced that he will nominate GOP Congressman Mike Pompeo to serve as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Pompeo is a graduate of West Point and served with the U.S. Army in Europe “patrolling the Iron Curtain” before the Cold War ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Upon completing his military service, he went to Harvard Law School and then started two small businesses in Kansas before being elected to Congress as a tea party conservative in 2010. During his five years in Congress, he has been a member of the House Intelligence Committee and the special committee which investigated the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four U.S. citizens were killed.
Pompeo was one of the harshest critics of Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran while it was being negotiated. After the deal’s opponents were unable to muster enough votes to kill the agreement last year, Pompeo began working to hold Iran strictly accountable for its compliance, while continuing to support the deal’s cancellation.
Pompeo holds Muslim leaders responsible for Islamic terrorism because they have refused to convincingly repudiate it. “Silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts and, more importantly still, in those that may well follow,” he said in 2013.
As Trump’s CIA Director, Pompeo has not announced his position on such controversial issues as whether the CIA should use waterboarding as an interrogation technique, and the future status of the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
By selecting Sessions, Pompeo and Flynn for his national security team, Trump sent a message that he does not intend to compromise on his commitment to place security concerns above currying political favor with Democrats and traditional Republicans in making his cabinet choices.
The reaction to his choices from Democrat liberals was swift and angry. Senator Elizabeth Warren demanded that Trump withdraw his nomination of Sessions, while Senator Cory Booker, whose political campaigns Trump supported in the past, said that Trump’s picks had “degraded and demeaned Americans.”
But Trump does not care about the objections of the Democrats. He believes that his electoral victory gives him the right to pick the people for his administration who will help him keep his campaign promises to the American people.
ANTI-TRUMP PROTESTS CONTINUE
The irrational hatred and fear generated by the Democrats and media was intended to defeat Donald Trump by demonizing him. That strategy worked against a well-intentioned but weak Mitt Romney in 2012, but it failed against Trump.
The demonization campaign succeeded best with those gullible enough to accept the wild accusations that Trump was out to get them at face value. As the truth about Trump’s benign intentions gradually emerges, that fear will subside, but in the meantime, some Democrats and progressive activists are stirring the pot by condemning Trump’s historic victory as illegitimate.
The post-election Anti-Trump demonstrations continue in front of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where the president-elect maintains his penthouse home. Over the weekend, about two thousand protesters rallied in front of that city’s Trump Tower, and then turned east to shut down Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive. Protests have also continued in Seattle; San Francisco; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Las Vegas, Nevada; Oklahoma City, and other cities across the country.
ATTACKING THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE
Frustrated Democrats and Clinton supporters are pressuring Trump’s pledged electors in the states he won to break their word to the voters and support Mrs. Clinton when they cast their ballots on December 19 to formally choose the next president, but that is considered to be extremely unlikely. Other Democrats are attacking the Electoral College system itself, which was set up by the Founding Fathers of this country to assure that elected presidents have broad support from states across the country and to prevent large population centers from dictating the outcome of presidential elections.
California Senator Barbara Boxer introduced legislation last week intended to amend the constitution to abolish the Electoral College, calling it, “an outdated, undemocratic system that does not reflect our modern society.”
Senator Schumer also voiced his support for the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, a Democrat-supported scheme that avoids the need to pass a constitutional amendment by taking advantage of the fact that the Constitution leaves the system for choosing Electoral College delegates up to each state. The plan calls upon each state to pass an identical law that would automatically assign its Electoral College delegates to the winner of the national popular vote, instead of the current state by state winner-takes-all system. The new system would go into effect once it is adopted by states which have a combined total of at least 270 Electoral College votes, enough to determine the next president. So far, the proposal has been adopted by 11 states which represent 165 votes, 105 short of the total needed.
The mostly large, Democrat-controlled states which have endorsed the proposal so far are those which would benefit it the most. It is highly unlikely that the smaller states, whose voters would be disenfranchised by the proposal and whose state governments are currently under Republican control, would support it.
More symbolic efforts to protest Trump’s election included an online petition signed by 4 million people calling for Trump electors to switch their support to Mrs. Clinton. Progressive activists in California and Oregon actually began the legal process for their states to declare their independence from the U.S.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and the Democrat mayors of several other large U.S. sanctuary cities which refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to deport arrested illegal aliens publicly declared their defiance of Trump’s threat to cut off their city’s federal funding if they do not comply with orders from federal immigration authorities.
WEALTHY LEFTISTS KEEP THE PROTESTS GOING
Organized Anti-Trump initiatives are now being planned by a variety of special interest groups opposed to his policies, including radical environmental organizations, global warming extremists, civil rights advocates, the Black Lives Matters movement and Latino organizations intent on shielding illegal immigrants.
Left wing extremists with deep pockets believe they will be able to leverage the current irrational fear of Trump’s presidency into a real revolution in the streets when (or if) his policies begin to fail.
Gara LaMarche, a progressive associate of multi-billionaire George Soros, is the president of the Democracy Alliance, a group of about 100 multimillionaires which has donated an estimated $500 million to various progressive and radical leftist groups over the past decade. Each member has to commit to giving at least $200,000 a year to a radical leftist cause.
When the group met at a Washington DC hotel in the wake of Trump’s victory, LaMarche conceded that they were “gathering in a haze of anger and grief and asking ourselves how it came to this.” He insisted that his group is determined to fight back by financing the anti-Trump street demonstrations in liberal cities.
“Some activists are in the streets, and some of us may join them, now or as the need arises, as it will, in the next four years,” LaMarche said.
Kevin Zeese, co-director of the Washington DC-based Popular Resistance, a movement bringing together extreme leftist groups from Occupy to Veterans for Peace, said, “What you’re seeing with this current reaction to Trump is it’s going to expand, especially as Trump [puts in place] his economic plans which will be terrible for all these people. You’re going to see him funnel money to the top, trillions of dollars to the top, and most people’s lives getting worse. You’re going to see healthcare go out of control. People who voted for him on economic issues are going to realize they were bamboozled by a salesman.”
These extreme leftists agree with many Trump and frustrated Bernie Sanders supporters that Clinton lost because she was a poor candidate representing continuity in a change election. Voters simply did not believe her when she adopted Bernie Sanders’ socialist class warfare rhetoric, claiming that the American economy was rigged against them by the wealthy elites.
DO THE DEMOCRATS HAVE A FUTURE?
Zeese and his extreme leftist colleagues are not at all sure that the Democrats will learn from their mistakes in backing Clinton and commit themselves to challenging President Trump with their progressive agenda.
“The Democratic party has to choose between the Wall Street big donor interests and their voters. They conflict,” Zeese said. “They have to put forward economic policies that show they’ve really listened, that they got the message from this election. We get it. It’s the economy, stupid, and it’s not working for most Americans.”
Zeese added that wealthy Democrat liberals made a mistake by pursuing identity politics for the benefit of racial minorities and women at the expense of economically struggling voters who turned to Trump.
Enough voters preferred instead to believe Trump’s promise that he would “Make America Great Again,” and enable them to share in a brighter future.
Now that he has won the presidency fair and square, Trump is beginning the effort to make good on his promise.