Pardon Me!

If you’ve heard the words “Pardon me” in our nation’s capital recently, it’s likely the phrase had nothing to do with being polite. Instead it was a plea to keep the requestor out of the big house, and I’m not referring to the White House. I mean prison. With the Trump administration drawing to a close, folks were eager to receive a presidential pardon. But exactly what is such a pardon and how does one obtain one? I’ll pardon your ignorance if you don’t know and enlighten you.

Ignorance may be bliss, but it also doesn’t help anyone understand what is going on in current events. While fully comprehending what a coronavirus is and how to combat it requires some scientific background, presidential pardons aren’t as difficult to wrap your brain around. In fact, a citizen can readily grasp the concept and its parameters without being Albert Einstein. All it takes is a short civics lesson.

Everyone’s heard of the Constitution, right? Sure. That important document contains the basis for the power of a president to issue a pardon. Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 of the Constitution states, “The President…shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” Short and sweet, isn’t it? It’s a mere one sentence long with no mention of spike proteins and antibodies to confuse us.

This succinct constitutional provision answers some important questions, i.e., who, what, and when. The who is the President of the United States. What he can do is to grant pardons for federal offenses except in impeachment cases. When he can do that is while he is POTUS. That’s why there was a buzz of activity to seek pardons as 2020 wound down and Inauguration Day (Biden’s not Trump’s) approached. Once sworn in, Biden is POTUS and possesses the power to pardon.

Note that Article II, Section 2, Clause 1 gives the president virtually unlimited power to issue pardons. The only restrictions on his power are that he hold the office of POTUS, that he cannot pardon state offenses, and that he cannot pardon offenses in impeachment cases. He does not have to give a reason for granting a pardon, and his action is not reviewable by other branches of the government.

Just whose idea was it to allow POTUS to have such great power? Think Broadway. The answer is Alexander Hamilton, a Founding Father made even more famous by Lin Manuel-Miranda’s smash musical “Hamilton.” Hamilton pushed for this presidential power and even advocated for it in the Federalist Papers. Somehow this portion of Hamilton’s career failed to rate a song in “Hamilton.” One can only hope for a sequel to the play to address this oversight.

If someone is pardoned, the punishment for the federal crime is set aside. But POTUS simply granting a pardon isn’t all that is necessary for the punishment to be avoided. The person to whom the pardon is granted must accept the pardon. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in U.S. v. Wilson in 1833 ruled that a pardon can be rejected by a convict, and that a pardon must be affirmatively accepted for the courts to recognize it.

Why in the world would someone reject a pardon? One reason is that applying for and accepting a pardon is seen as an admission of guilt. While a pardon provides a get out of jail (or don’t go to jail) card, there is still a stain on the individual’s record of having acknowledged he did wrong.

A pardon may be granted before an individual has been found guilty or even charged with the commission of a crime. These types of pardons are known as presumptive pardons. For example, in September 1974, President Gerald Ford pardoned his predecessor, Richard Nixon, for any offenses connected to the Watergate scandal. At that point, Nixon (not so fondly known as Tricky Dick) had been accused of obstruction of justice, but he had yet to be charged.

Unresolved is whether a president can pardon himself. This issue has never been tested in the courts because, to date, no president has taken such action. That step was considered by Nixon’s lawyer and rumors swirled that President Trump might attempt that action, but no self-pardons materialized.

How does one request a pardon from POTUS? Applications for pardon must be submitted to the creatively named (NOT!) Office of the Pardon Attorney for review and recommendation as for the action to be taken. POTUS, of course, does not have to follow the recommendation of the OPA (Office of Pardon Attorney). He can also elect to pardon an individual on his own initiative. For example, on December 22, 2020, President Trump issued 20 pardons; of those pardons, only three were tied to petitions submitted to the OPA.

To no one’s surprise, presidential pardons are often controversial. Just two days before Christmas, POTUS delivered a very special present to two men to which he is connected. He pardoned Charles Kushner, his son-in-law’s father, and Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager. That wasn’t jingle bells these men heard but the sound of freedom from punishment.

But President Trump is hardly the only president to use his pardon power to take controversial actions. On his last day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned his own brother who was serving time for a federal drug-related offense. President Clinton pardoned billionaire tax evader and fugitive Marc Rich and his wife Denise, generous donors to Bill and Hillary. Boy did those donations ever pay off!

While President Trump issued a flurry of pardons before leaving office, including 52 on the day prior to Biden’s inauguration, he did not use the power excessively. Only 112 can be attributed to him. FDR, in contrast, issued the most pardons of any president–3,687. President Obama ranks #4 on the list of presidential pardons granted with 1,927.

Whether you agree with the existence of this presidential power or to whom the pardons are granted, having presidential pardons in the news is a positive thing. The topic provides Americans with the opportunity for a civics lesson. Even better, it offers something other than COVID and contested elections to hear about. Pardon me if I am thankful for that development!

Just WONDER-ing:

Is the presidential pardon power too broad? Does it pass the sniff test for presidents to pardon family members and political donors? Does it surprise you that Alexander Hamilton was the Founding Father who proposed the granting of this power?

Coronavirus Crisis in the Capital–Washington Isn’t Well

With less than a month to go until the presidential election, one would think the upcoming vote would be the biggest headline. Nah! Nothing is normal in 2020; a health topic has been all the buzz. Sure COVID-19’s old news, but there’s a twist now. The high and mighty in our nation’s capital, the Commander in Chief, his staff members/aides, FLOTUS, members of Congress, and the top military brass, have fallen victim to coronavirus. Washington isn’t well.

The D.C. coronavirus crisis started off with a bang when President Trump announced his positive diagnosis via Twitter at 12:54 a.m. last Friday. Call me old school, but I’d have thought such a momentous piece of news would rate a press conference in broad daylight. But, nevertheless, the word got out and spread like–take your pick here in 2020–California wildfires or, fittingly, the coronavirus itself.

By Friday night, President Trump had developed a fever and his blood oxygen level had “dropped rapidly,” requiring him to be given supplemental oxygen at the White House. No ambulance was called for Trump’s transportation to the hospital though. This COVID sufferer is the Commander in Chief, so a helicopter, Marine One, was summoned to fly him to his medical care destination. Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird. It’s a plane. No, it’s Trump’s Covid Copter.

The medical destination for the mask-clad president was Walter Reed, a tri-service (Air Force, Army, and Navy) military medical center in Bethesda, Maryland. While the facility’s official name is Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (“WRNMMC”), it is more commonly known simply as “Walter Reed” after the yellow fever researcher. This facility routinely treats presidents and vice presidents in a secured and autonomous ward. A presidential office is available offering a sitting room, kitchen, conference room, hospital bedroom, and an office for the White House Chief of Staff (assuming that individual isn’t down for the count with COVID and unable to work).

Speculation was rampant as to the president’s condition after his admission to Walter Reed. He is, after all, at higher risk due to his age (74) and weight (just over the threshold for obesity for his height). If the Physician to the President (Navy Commander Sean Conley, D.O.) and the White House’s world-class medical resources weren’t enough to handle the situation, there was cause for concern. Would the president be able to carry out his executive duties or would the 25th Amendment be utilized to designate VP Mike Pence to take over for his boss?

Dr. Conley gave press briefings, but they didn’t provide as much detail as enquiring minds wanted. The press pressed for for further information but were rebuffed. The president must be hiding something, right? Not according to Conley who explained that doctor-patient confidentiality had not been waived. Donald Trump may be the president and live in a fishbowl, but he is a patient like anyone else and entitled to some privacy. Sorry, Charlie! No one’s getting ahold of the president’s lung scans.

Medical updates did reveal Dr. Conley’s patient had been drinking while at Walter Reed–an experimental Regeron’s polyclonal antibody cocktail that is. President Trump downed one 8 gram dose of this so-called cocktail which supplies antibodies to help the immune system fight the virus and rid the body of it. The Commander in Chief also started a five day course of the expensive (think about $520 or so per vial) antiviral remdesivir used with moderately to severely ill patients and shown to speed recovery. This drug curbs the virus’ ability to multiply.

Additionally, the president underwent steroid therapy. Unlike athletes, he wasn’t trying to bulk up; Dexamethasone was given to tamp down on possible dangerous inflammation. This cheap and widely available steroid drug has been around for decades, but it is usually reserved for patients deemed severe or critical cases. In this case it was used because it was critical to get the president better and back to the White House to run the country.

The COVID hospital drama ended Monday evening when the president was released and flew home aboard Marine One. But of course the drama continued thereafter because opinions were offered by many that President Trump had been sent home too early. Home for him, of course, is the White House, which offers “world-class” medical resources and a personal physician unlike the home of your average COVID patient.

Why should the president have all the COVID fun though? The high and mighty in Washington began following suit and testing positive. Forget the D.C. “A” list. There’s now a lengthy “C” list in the nation’s capital, and that “C” stands for COVID. Joining President Trump as COVID patients, among others, are his press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, the Republican National Committee Chief Ronna McDaniel, Utah Sen. Mike Lee, North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis, and Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson. Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett politely declined since she’s already participated over the summer.

It’s not just politicians who are on the “C” list either. The military brass didn’t want to be left out. Taken captive by this unseen enemy were the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Millay, the Army Chief of Staff James McConville, the Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Brown, the chief of the National Guard Gen. Daniel Hokanson, and the naval operations chief Adm. Michael Gilday. Sounds like a lot of “stars” are under the gun from this rampant virus.

Notice how the country has come to a screeching halt with all the “C” listers out of action? No? Me either. That’s a good thing since the Russians are surely watching the evening news on our major networks and keenly aware the top honchos are out of the office. But the C-listers are still minding the store even while sick–just remotely. Washington’s not well, but are country is still up and running.

Just WONDER-ing:

How much medical information about a sitting president are Americans entitled to have? Where do you draw the line between patient confidentiality and the public’s right to know? Was it inevitable influential individuals running our country would at some point come down with COVID?

Thirty Days of Thanks — Current Events Version

You know it must be November when social media is filled with posts giving thirty reasons to be thankful. Practicing gratitude is a wonderful way to improve one’s attitude. Unfortunately, most posts I see are personal to the person posting them. Aren’t there reasons for our society as a whole to give thanks at this time of year? Of course, there are! Let’s turn to current events to see what positive things we can identify for which we can be grateful.

FUR FORBEARANCE.  Animal lovers can give thanks that our animal friends are a bit safer now. Unfortunately, there will still be a mass slaughter of certain feathered birds in connection with Thanksgiving. Nevertheless, some fur-bearing animals can breathe a sigh of relief. The Queen’s dresser (What? She can rule a kingdom but can’t dress herself?) has revealed in her new memoir that Queen Elizabeth will no longer wear fur during royal appearances. OK, she will still wear fur, but it will be faux fur. Since fashion trends are swayed by anything a royal does, it would appear that real fur is out and fake fur is where it’s at.

HEALED HERO. U.S. citizens are giving thanks that a military hero is A-OK. This particular military hero has four legs and is covered in fur. He’s Conan, the Belgian Malinois. With no regard to his personal safety, Conan dashed down a dead end tunnel after an ISIS leader clad in an explosive vest. Detonation of said vest rid the world of a terrorist but resulted in injury to Conan This brave canine officer was awarded the Medal of Honor by our Commander in Chief and invited to visit the White House. Conan, who’s a good dog, won’t complain if he’s served fast food there or even leftovers. It’s wonderful to know that man’s best friend is doing his part to serve his country.

IT’S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME. Praise be that good sportsmanship is still a concern in today’s world. A Long Island, New York football coach, Rob Shaver of Plainedge High School, was suspended for one game after allowing his team to run up the score on an opponent. He ignored a good sportsmanship rule that was intended to prevent lopsided victories. The coach was faulted for not taking his starters out quickly enough allowing his team to notch a 61-13 victory. I’ll bet the coach did not even say “I’m sorry for your loss” to the losers.

HOPELESSLY DEVOTED TO CLOTHES. For those of us who don’t want to part with old clothes in our closet, we can be grateful that old clothes can sometimes be very valuable. Olivia Newton-John decided to clean out her closet recently and got rid of an old pair of leather pants from 1978. These famous pants, worn when she sang  “You’re The One That I Want” in “Grease,” sold for a whopping $162,000. The pants won’t be worn again or even relegated to a closet. Purchased by Spanx founder Sara Blakely, the leather pants are to be framed and hung in the Spanx headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Will this make Hotlanta  even hotter?

SNAGGED SUPPORTIVE SPOUSE. We can be thankful that women behind the scenes aren’t forgotten these days. We’ve all heard that behind every successful man is a woman. In some cases there’s  more than one. Let’s take recently departed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for example. He allegedly had four wives. No wonder he rose to such heights of terrorist power; he preferred to be out causing trouble than to be at home mediating between four wives. Turkey’s president announced that Turkish forces have captured one of these wives along with several other of the slain leader’s relatives. I feel safer that Wife #1 is in custody, but should we be nervous that Wives #2, #3, and #4 are on the loose? Can we put Conan on their trail?

THE END IS NEAR(ER). It’s almost here! The 2020 presidential election, to be held on November 3, 2020, is now less than one year away. Seems like the candidates have been running since the dawn of time, but we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. And the tunnel is getting less crowded as presidential contenders drop out of the race. Bye bye, Beto!

FOOTBALL FRENZY. It’s a great time of year to be a college football fan. A monumental game is on tap this Saturday between LSU and Alabama, two SEC teams rated #2 and #3 respectively in the season’s first College Football Playoffs rankings. And if the high stakes game isn’t enough excitement, a high profile fan will be in the stadium–President Donald Trump. Who will President Trump be rooting for? Well, he is a member of the GOP whose official symbol is an elephant….Roll Tide???

TRASH TECHNOLOGY.  Thanks to technology, household chores are now less onerous. The world’s first self-changing trash can is currently on sale. Townew’s Smart Trash Can automatically seals the bag inside with the touch of a button. No muss, no fuss. Once the bag is removed, a new bag is automatically installed. Unfortunately, the smart trash can is not smart enough to take the discarded bag out to the street for pickup, but progress has been made.

IT’S BACK!  Didn’t get to try Popeye’s new chicken sandwich when it debuted in August, promptly sold out, and dropped off the menu?. Hallelujah!  The apparently to die for fast food feature is now back and available for purchase. Unconfirmed rumors indicate the chicken sandwich boldly asserted, “Ill be back” before fading off the menu. A chicken fight is back on between Popeye’s and Chck-Fil-A, although Chick-Fil-A observes a ceasefire on Sundays.

We can all be thankful that there is more than simply bad news out there. It may take some searching to find them; however, some current events do provide reasons for us to be thankful. Keep an eye out for additional reasons to give thanks this month when you are reading or listening to the news. And express gratitude when you come across them.

JUST WONDER-ing:

Can you think of other current events that give rise to a reason for gratitude? Do we tend to focus on good news or bad? Which attracts more media attention? Does giving thanks promote a more positive attitude?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hitting A Wall On The Wall

With the beginning of 2019, many have made resolutions while others have chosen a word for the year. While I have no inside information, I am fairly certain that President Trump’s word for the year is “wall,” and his resolution is to get one built on our country’s southern border with Mexico. But, as anyone not living under a rock is well aware, the president’s wall goal has hit the proverbial wall.

It’s not just any wall which our country’s 45th president desires to build. He wants a border wall which would run approximately 700 miles to limit the movement of non-citizens across the U.S. border. The structure is not to fence anyone in, but to keep illegal immigrants out. “Without a wall you cannot have border security,” President Trump asserts.

But without money, you cannot build a wall. So the president is seeking a approximately $5.6 billion (that’s billion with a “B”) towards the construction budget. The Democrats are only willing to give him a mere couple billion dollars though. As a result, a stalemate exists resulting in a partial shutdown of our government since December 22nd.

For want of a nail, a kingdom may have been lost. In our case, for want of a wall, government services have been lost. Currently about 800,000 government workers are either furloughed or working without pay. Nine out of fifteen federal departments are closed. Although I’m all for reducing the fat in our bloated government, I do feel sorry for those federal workers taking a hit in their wallets.  Hey, you can’t spell “wallet” without a “wall,” y’all!

And speaking of being hit in the wallet, yes, the IRS is affected by this impasse. 12% of IRS workers are toiling without pay. No refunds are being issued, and most of the IRS customer “service” support staff is furloughed. Considering how long you have to wait on hold to ever speak to an IRS “service” support person on the phone, I wonder if anyone would even notice the ongoing furlough. On the bright side, everyone can breathe a sigh of relief that those scam IRS calls threatening you with jail will be put on hold because no one will fall for them given the circumstances.

But safety first, folks. Around 420,000 employees of the FBI, DEA, BATFE, Coast Guard, and various correctional and law enforcement officers are on the job without pay. Makes me a tad nervous, I’ll admit. Are we going to get what we are paying for from these employees? Yikes!

As the wall impasse drags on, various suggestions have been floated as to how to resolve the situation. For example, erecting steel barriers rather than constructing a masonry wall might be less expensive. But are steel barriers really a “wall?” Not according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary which clearly identifies a wall as a “masonry structure.” Perhaps a wall is in the eyes of the beholder.

Another solution President Trump has mentioned is declaring a national emergency and having the military erect the wall. This idea is superficially appealing. Wouldn’t any military family rather have their loved one recalled from deployment to Afghanistan in order to help build a wall? I’m no military expert, but I’m fairly certain bricks are less dangerous than bombs and the Taliban. Moreover, having a military member learn a skill such as masonry would certainly aid in finding a job when transitioning to civilian life one military service has ended.

All this back and forth talk about how to build a wall and how to pay for it overlooks a basic question–Are border walls effective? Let’s consider the history of border walls. The Great Wall of China is a border wall which was erected to protect the Empire of China from powers to the north. Well, that wall is still standing and China still exists. At least that item made in China has worked and lasted. On the other hand, there’s the Berlin Wall. My younger readers may say, “What Berlin Wall?” My point exactly. That wall, constructed by the Soviet Union to divide Berlin into NATO and Warsaw Pact zones, is no longer in existence.

But that was then and this is now. Will a wall on our southern border actually solve the illegal immigrant problem? My educated guess is that the answer is a resounding “no.” Whether or not we need to make American great again, in the eyes of those making a run for our border, America is great. Sure, our country has its problems, but it is a heck of a lot safer and offers many more opportunities for those living in countries located to the south of us.

While I in no way condone taking illegal actions to get into the U.S., I can understand why people are doing so. If the choice is Door A where you or your children are slaughtered by violence in your home country or Door B, illegally enter the U.S. and perhaps be caught and detained, I’m positive I’d choose Door A too. The wall may make entry more difficult, but people are still going to try.

The wall may be akin to a “Keep Off The Grass” sign. We all know that we aren’t supposed to step on the green stuff, but there are compelling reasons for doing so. If our toddler slips our grip and runs onto the forbidden grassy area, are we going to obey the sign? I hope your answer is, “Of course not!” If a citizen of a Central American country is trying to remove his/her child from life-threatening violence, will the wall’s command “Do Not Enter” trump (no pun intended) the will to save one’s family? Probably not.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a brilliant solution to the current wall dilemma. There is no simple answer, and there are pros and cons to having/not having a wall. All I can say is a variation of a line from “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, they will still come.

Just WONDER-ing: Have you been following the news about President Trump’s attempt to build the wall? Do you think building a wall will solve the immigration problem? Is breaking the law ever justified?

 

 

 

 

Behind Every Successful Republican Presidential Candidate Is A Wife We Need To Know More About

ladies first candidates

At this point in the presidential campaign (just SEVEN more months to go….), most Americans are tired of hearing about Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, the top two candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination.  Perhaps the citizens feel like they have heard it all, but I beg to differ with them.  Each man has a running mate, and I am not referring to a vice presidential candidate but his spouse–the woman behind the man.  Just how much do we really know about the women who will have the candidate’s ear and with whom he will engage in pillow talk?

So far, the only real focus on the candidate’s wives has come from the candidate’s themselves exchanging barbs about how the other side has disrespected his wife.  An organization not directly connected with Cruz published a (GASP!) nude photo of Melania Trump a/k/a Mrs. The Donald.  If this publication was aimed at shock value, I think it missed the mark.  Mrs. Trump was a model.  If you are a model, you often pose for nude magazine shoots.  As the commercial says, “It’s what you do.”  No one disputes this occurred years back, but what does it have to do with The Donald being in the Oval Office?

Cruz supporters picking on Mrs. Trump did not go over well with her hubby.  He lashed back by saying he’d “spill the beans” on Heidi Cruz.  I am not sure exactly what The Donald had in mind, but an unflattering picture of Mrs. Cruz was subsequently posted.  While I am sure Heidi has had better pictures taken of her, who hasn’t had a picture of themselves passed around that they wished could be deep sixed?

heidi spill beans

The Donald caught some heat for this post for being superficial and focusing on a woman’s physical attributes.  To his credit, he did not do anything worse than post an unflattering picture of Heidi Cruz.  He did not did not question her mental stability, a fair inquiry given that public records reveal Mrs. Cruz suffered a bout of depression in the past and was found sitting by the side of a busy highway (not in a car) with her head in her hands by a policeman who deemed her to be a danger to herself.  So she is a real human being who had a difficult transition from D.C. to the Lone Star State where she moved to support her husband.  And?   She clearly bounced back from this difficulty.  But regardless of what negative thing Trump brought out about Mrs. Cruz, what does this  have to do with Ted being in the Oval Office?

Forget spilling the beans on either candidate’s spouse.  Let’s talk turkey instead.  Why don’t we consider the facts about these women because whichever candidate  is elected will have a spouse who will be expected to serve in a very high profile position, First Lady.  Here are the basics on the Republican contenders for  First Lady.

In corner #1 we have Heidi Nelson Cruz,  age 43.  She has been married to Ted since 2001.  The couple has two daughters, born in 2008 and 2011 respectively.  Mrs. Cruz received an MBA from Harvard Business School and is employed as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs.  She met her husband while both were working on George Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign.  Mrs. Cruz speaks Spanish, a language she picked up while working for J.P. Morgan on Latin American markets.

cruz family

In corner #2 we have Melania Trump, age 45.  She has been married to Donald since January 2005 having met him at a fashion week event in New York.  The couple has a 9 year old son, Barron.  Mrs. Trump was born in Yugoslavia (now called Slovenia) but became a U.S. citizen in 2006.  She studied design and architecture in college. Melania worked as a model and now owns a successful jewelry business.  Mrs. Trump is fluent in five languages:  Slovenian; French; English; German and Serbo-Croatian.  (Translation:  She’s no dummy!)

donald kisses Melania

Now that we know the basics, who would best fit the bill of First Lady?  Let’s consider the First Lady’s role:

  1.  The First Lady is highly visible and frequently photographed.    Undeniably, Mrs. Trump, a former model,  is likely to be the more photogenic and at ease around the cameras.  And, thanks to The Donald’s post, we know that Mrs. Cruz may take an unflattering picture from time to time. Melania wins that round.

2.  The First Lady often accompanies her husband on overseas trips.  Who would be the more  valuable asset in travel abroad?   Mrs. Trump also wins round 2.  She was born overseas, has lived and studied outside the U.S. and is fluent in several languages.  Who needs to trust an interpreter with her on your arm?  If the trip was to Mexico though, then Heidi  would have the advantage since she speaks Spanish and is currently living just across the border in Texas, Mexico’s backyard neighbor.

3.  The First Lady needs to be able to maneuver around the Washington scene and have connections.  Heidi wins this round hands down.  She previously worked for the Bush administration and is already familiar to those in Washington, D.C. from her time as a Senator’s wife.  And as a Goldman Sachs investment banker, she is surely well connected in the financial world.  Melania’s home base is  New York City, and she is much more familiar with that metropolitan scene. New York (and her palatial penthouse) is likely where she’d rather be. (She might even get allergic to smelling political hay!)  Melania  may be socially connected, but that only gets you so far on Capitol Hill.

trump penthouse

4.  The First Lady needs to be a sounding board for her husband.  Heidi is obviously on top of economic and financial issues as a result of her MBA and investment banking job; her experience and expertise could be a big asset for Ted. .  Nevertheless, Melania is a savvy businesswoman who has lived in other countries and may be able to provide an outsider’s perspective on foreign affairs.  Barbara Walters once remaked that people don’t expect Melania to be so smart  because she is beautiful.  Anyone who can hold her own with The Donald deserves some respect.  (“Little Marco” had a tough time in that regard.)  This round ends in a draw.

5.  The First Lady is expected to entertain at the White House and at official functions.   Melania has experience with society and business functions from being married to The Donald.  How lavishly she would host such events from the White House might be a concern.  If she redecorates the White House like she did the penthouse where she lives with The Donald, then the national debt might increase dramatically.  We have not seen much of Melania on the campaign trail, so she might not cotton to so much public exposure (as opposed to personal exposure for nude photoshoots).  While Heidi has been on the scene in D.C. and has experience as a Senator’s wife, it is one thing to attend a political event and quite another to host one on a huge scale. Again, this round ends in a draw.

Considering the facts, it seems that the two contenders for First Lady of a Republican president are fairly evenly matched.  From all appearances, both women are greatly loved by their husbands who have no problem in fiercely defending them.  Melania and Heidi are each an intelligent and accomplished woman in her own right.  Melania has a good head on her shoulders; she is not simply arm candy for The Donald.  Heidi, a Harvard educated banker with political world experience, is a success whether or not every picture of her is picture perfect.  And, yes, she can take very flattering pictures.

Heidi Cruz
Heidi Cruz

In all seriousness, it behooves the voters to look at all the pertinent facts about any candidate.  A candidate’s  spouse is a huge consideration because the spouse is a special interest that will wield great influence over a candidate whether or not the spouse contributes anything at all to the campaign coffers.  Cruz and Trump’s wives are intelligent, attractive women who are standing behind and supporting their spouse.  Sure we need to know where Cruz and Trump stand on the issues, but I am one voter who feels that to be truly informed, voters also need to know about the women who stand behind these successful men.

 

 

 

 

 

Trump Trivia

With several primaries slated for tomorrow, voters will be asked to cast votes to winnow down the field of presidential candidates.  After no less than twelve Republican debates and intense media coverage, one would think that we have heard all that there is to know about the GOP candidates.  Nevertheless, this is just not the case.  Let’s see how much the average voter does NOT know about the frontrunner in the Republican field.

What is The Donald’s favorite food?  Trump is a billionaire business man.  Surely he craves expensive and exotic foods.  Is it caviar? Pate de foie gras?  Nope.  The Donald is a down to earth guy like you and me.  After a long hard day of wheeling and dealing, he’ll want a nice big serving of MEATLOAF on his plate.  And make sure that there is plenty of ketchup available.

meatloaf

What is The Donald’s favorite book?  Does he enjoy reading about economic theory?  Business strategy?  Perhaps How To Win Friends And Influence People?  Maybe so, but he states that THE BIBLE is absolutely his favorite book.  Hopefully the Gideons have placed a copy in the swanky hotel rooms where he stays while on the campaign trail.  Coming in second is his own book, The Art Of The Deal.

Is The Donald A Sports Fan?  Yes, in the sense that he can make money from sports.  The Donald once served as the financial advisor to Mike Tyson and was the owner of the New Jersey Generals of the (now-defunct) USFL. Thus, The Donald has technically had experience as a commander-in-chief as head of the Generals.

What alcoholic beverage would The Donald likely serve at state dinners?  Not sure what he would serve, but he will not be drinking it.  He is a teetotaler.  The Donald’s older brother, Fred, died of alcoholism, so The Donald shuns drinking.  Of course, that did not stop him from marketing a brand of vodka at one point.

What high honor was bestowed upon The Donald in Hollywood?  He holds star #2,327 in Hollywood’s Walk of Fame for his work on The Apprentice.  Of course, being president is a much more exclusive club (he’d be only #45) and he wants in.

Republican presidential candidate frontrunner Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in seen, September 10, 2015 in Hollywood, California. Trump was awarded the star in 2007 in the television category. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK

Would The Donald take a smoke break with Barack O’Bama?  No.   O’Bama quit smoking while President because he got tired of trying to  sneak past the watchful eye of Michelle who wanted him to quit the nasty habit.  Even if Obama relapsed and took smoking up again,  The Donald won’t be lighting up with him; he’s a non-smoker.  That characterization does not deter his detractors from calling some of his proposals smoke and mirrors.

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What common political gesture does The Donald avoid?  He is  a germaphobe and avoids shaking hands when possible.  It is hard to be a politician without getting your hands dirty.  What was The Donald thinking by entering the political arena?  Is kissing babies any more sanitary?

What is The Donald’s zodiac sign?  He’s a Gemini (the Twins).  Heavens!  Can you imagine two of him? The sign seems to fit him though as Geminis love to talk.  And he’s been doing lots of that on the campaign trail.

What’s significant about the month and day The Donald was born?  He was born on June 14th, Flag Day.  With such a patriotic beginning, The Donald clearly feels he was destined to hear “Hail To The Chief” for his birthday in 2017.

Has The Donald ever been in the military?  No, but he entered the New York Military Academy at age 13.  So, he has spent some time in uniform and can say that he is a graduate of a military academy.

Is The Donald a grandparent?  Yes, he has seven grandchildren with another on the way.  Hmmm.  No one said anything about him not running because he was a grandpa like they questioned Hillary running since she was a grandma.  Do I detect some sexism here?  Naaahhh.

Why might The Donald be great with Eastern European relations?  His first wife was a Czech model and his current (and third) wife was a Slovenian model.  Thus, he seems to have an affinity for this area of the world.  At least he might be able to charm the female population there.

Where does The Donald call home sweet home?  His little nest is a penthouse condo on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan at the top of Trump Tower.  At least with that type of abode he doesn’t have to worry about mowing his lawn.

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Hopefully, these trivia tidbits have given you an even better picture of The Donald, the presidential candidate.  He is not simply a candidate; he is an individual with a life, a family, personal tastes, etc.  Candidates are not one-dimensional political beings.  Let’s consider the whole package and not merely political rhetoric.  We are all products of our experiences and our environment.  Doesn’t it then behoove us to consider those aspects as well as the issues when it comes to electing the next resident of the White House?