President-Elect Trump — The week in review
By Mark Alexander
This past week has been interesting. In some ways, it seems the surreal election results just came in. In other ways, it seems they arrived six months ago.
The day after the historic national elections and Donald Trump's victory, I offered punctuated commentary on the results above my Veterans Day edition, "Honoring Those Who Have Earned It." Two days later, I rebutted Barack Obama's remarks about the election.
Today, I'll briefly focus on some topical observations regarding BO's condescending welcome remarks about Trump, as well as BO's "Denial Tour." I then have some observations about Trump's first week and his transition team.
On Barack Obama's exit...
Recall that in 2012, Obama chastised Republicans after his defeat of Mitt Romney: "You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Go out there and win an election. But don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building."
He then continued breaking everything "our predecessors spent over two centuries building" for another four years.
In response to his "go out there and win an election" challenge, Republicans chalked up another round of historic wins in the 2014 Midterm Republican Wave, and the GOP continued that winning streak in 2016.
Last week, BO, who's in a state of pathological denial about the wide and deep GOP gains across the country, offered this assessment: "I believe that we have better ideas. But I also believe that good ideas don't matter if people don't hear them."
Actually, it wasn't a hearing problem. It was an ear-splitting repudiation of the ideas Obama and his error-apparent, Hillary Clinton, personified.
Since BO was elected, Democrat control of the nation's 99 state legislative chambers has dropped from 62 to 30, and only five states now have a Democrat trifecta — control of the senate, house and governorship — while 25 states have Republican trifectas. Democrats have lost 13 governorships, leaving Republicans with 34 governors (depending on North Carolina's results).
But the most notable trifecta was in Washington, DC, where Trump will have a Senate majority of 52 Republicans (after the Louisiana runoff) and at least a 238-to-193 House majority, with a few results still out. And I would argue that, contrary to the top-down assertion that Trump carried a lot of conservatives down ballot, this was in fact a bottom-up grassroots election that Trump won as an up-ballot result of state and local elections.
The Washington Post provided a remarkable set of visual charts referencing the Democrat Party decimation since BO was elected.
Obama offered additional condescending remarks about his successor before heading off on his global denial tour, ostensibly to reassure other nations that Trump was fit to lead, despite his previous assertions that Trump was unfit to lead.
This from a president with the most inept and dangerous foreign policy failures since James Earl Carter. Indeed, Obama's tenure is marked by his retreat from Iraq, resulting in the rise of the Islamic State and an epic humanitarian crisis in the Middle East.
As further evidence of Obama's delusional state, he declared "those folks" who voted for President-Elect Trump "are better off than when I came into office."
No, they are not — and neither is anyone else across the nation. BO insists, "People seem to think I did a pretty good job. ... Perhaps the view of the American people is that you just need to shake things up. I think I can make a pretty strong argument that the policies that we put forward were the right ones."
And in remarks from Greece last week — a national model of the economic consequences when the socialist policies that Obama advocates are fully implemented — Obama had this assessment of the election results: "The more aggressively and effectively we deal with [people's fears], the less those fears may channel themselves into counterproductive approaches that pit people against each other. And frankly, that's been my agenda for the last eight years."
Clearly, Obama's agenda has been all about "pitting people against each other."
In the end, Obama succeeded in one area — "[fundamentally transforming the United States of America]," though not exactly as he had in mind. Just prior to the election he declared it would be "a personal insult, an insult to my legacy" if Clinton was not elected. Indeed it was, is and always will be.
As Charles Krauthammer summed it up, "Historians are going to see [Obama] as a textbook definition of a guy who won on hope and change, who won with a wave of goodwill and who completely destroyed his presidency with liberal overreach. ... This [election] is a rejection of his ideology."
That being said, however, BO does not leave office for two months, and there is still plenty of damage he will do. Until then, we must remain vigilant.
On Donald Trump's entrance...
Like many of you reading this column, I voted for the presidential candidate who vowed to appoint constitutional constructionists to the Supreme Court — appointments critical to the protection of our Republic and its foundational Rule of Law. I also supported the candidate who I believed, as commander in chief, vowed to extend to all military personnel and veterans the due respect they have earned.
Since then, I have asked many conservatives who didn't make the transition from #NeverTrump to #NeverClinton this question: "You didn't vote for Trump, but Wednesday morning were you relieved that Trump won?" To a person, they have all responded, "Yes."
Moving forward, I hope Trump doesn't forget who brought him to the dance — and follows through with his commitments to appoint conservative justices, to secure our nation's borders and enforce immigration laws, to restructure taxes and dramatically cut regulations, to strike down Obama's executive orders, and more. And I hope he'll demonstrate the humility to make amends with fellow Republicans with whom he failed to forge unity.
But unlike what some of Trump's most ardent supporters would like to believe, Trump is not going to be the next Ronald Reagan, as some of his appointments and policies will soon demonstrate.
Will Trump seek to repeal or amend Obama's signature, and inestimably misnamed, Affordable Care Act? What will Trump's border and his immigration strategy really look like?
It will not look like what he promised in the campaign, but at the same time, the "circular firing squads" that have threatened both conservative unity and Liberty over this past year must cease and desist.
In the early hours of the morning after his win, Trump said, "I can only say that while the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning." Indeed it is, and untangling eight years of the most damaging socialist policies in our nation's history will be very difficult — and not something that will happen in one election cycle.
Trump also said, "To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people. It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be president for all of Americans." I believe he'll be just that, though he'll also be under constant assault from Democrats whose power is dependent on dividing our nation by race and gender and other special-interest constituencies.
Trump's decisions over the last week regarding his administration's key leaders and advisors reflect his business acumen.
Drowned out by the leftmedia howls over Trump's key advisor appointments is the good news that he demoted New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie from his position heading the transition team and replaced him with Indiana Gov. and Vice President-elect Mike Pence — who will now have the most influence in the transition process.
Given the fact that Trump has never held a government job or elected office at any level, choosing Pence for his ticket was wise. It was equally wise to make Pence his transition team leader.
Pence, who will oversee hundreds of key appointments, is a highly respected conservative and Christian whom I have followed since he was first elected in 2000. He was chairman of the conservative House Republican Study Committee from 2005-07 and the House Republican Conference from 2009-11. He is a close friend of Paul Ryan, who was re-nominated as House Speaker with unanimous support from House GOP members.
Pence and Ryan will be instrumental in guiding executive branch initiatives through Congress. I should note that the first test of Ryan's leadership will come today, as the House votes on whether to restore the corrupt practice of redistributing wealth by way of special interest earmarks, which Republicans banned when they took over Congress in 2010.
Among Pence's first "swamp draining" acts as Trump's team leader was to remove all lobbyists from the transition team, and others who were brought in by Christie. Among those others was former Rep. Mike Rogers, who, when he was in the House, endeavored to block the formation of Rep. Trey Gowdy's House Committee to investigate Benghazi — which ultimately discovered Clinton's illegal subterfuge to conceal her communications when secretary of state.
The list of folks being considered for key cabinet posts and other leadership positions is strong.
As for Trump's appointments of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus as chief of staff and media executive Steve Bannon as chief strategist and counsel, that breaks the conventional mold — but that's been the basic formula for Trump's success. Bannon is the quintessential outsider, and Priebus is the quintessential insider who will team with Pence and Ryan.
On those two key appointments, Trump's transition team stated, "Bannon and Priebus will continue the effective leadership team they formed during the campaign, working as equal partners to transform the federal government, making it much more efficient, effective and productive."
Priebus, chairman of the RNC since 2011, was the principal architect of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's 2010 victory. Walker endorsed Priebus for the RNC leadership post, applauding his "leadership and involvement in the grassroots Tea Party movement that swept the state and the nation" in 2010. I should note that Priebus has promoted and distributed The Patriot Post's Essential Liberty Guide to the Declaration and Constitution when presiding over Republican conventions.
In a major sense, Steve Bannon, the CEO of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, is Priebus's maverick alter ego. A gruff and tough bulldog Virginian, Bannon graduated from Virginia Tech, earned a master's degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown and then an MBA with honors from Harvard. He was also a Navy officer who served as special assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon. After his military service, he was an investment banker at Goldman Sachs before launching his own successful company.
In 2012, Bannon assumed control of an online publication after the death of his friend, Andrew Breitbart. Since that time, Bannon has become a lightning rod for everything published by Breitbart News. Indeed, that's the curse that follows every publisher.
Most notably, Bannon is accused of being anti-Semitic by his leftist detractors. This charge is largely based on Breitbart News's "alt-right" nationalist tone, but Bannon's Jewish friends and colleagues have defended him vigorously.
Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot and a national Jewish philanthropist, had this to say about Bannon: "These attacks are nothing more than an attempt to undermine the incoming Trump administration. I have known Steve to be a passionate Zionist and supporter of Israel who felt so strongly about this that he opened a Breitbart office in Israel to ensure that the true pro-Israel story would get out. What is being done to Steve Bannon is a shonda [scandal]."
Fact is, Bannon should only scare leftists who are, themselves, a threat to Liberty.
And speaking of threats to Liberty, all Americans should take note that a potential successor to San Fran Nan Pelosi as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee is none other than Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a radical black Muslim member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). Ellison is now co-chair of the Congressional [Regressive] Caucus and has been endorsed by outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and his replacement, Chuck Schumer.
In closing, I've been asked by many people if I was elated about Trump's victory. The answer is no. I was relieved. Our nation has been given a reprieve, and the near-term prospects for the Supreme Court and our Constitution are now immeasurably better than they would've been had Hillary Clinton been elected.
Let's reconvene our forces and form a solid front ahead of the president-elect and Republicans at every level nationwide and ensure that 2018 can be yet another record year for growth in the ranks of conservative Republicans, as was the case in 2010, 2014 and 2016!
Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.