Temple Chima UbochiWednesday, March 29, 2017
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Bonn, Germany




Continued from Part 1

Speech is silver, silence is golden (Thomas Carlyle)

Trump is 'a distraction in and of himself' (Jeb Bush)

Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute (Josh Billings)

In silence man can most readily preserve his integrity (Meister Eckhart)

Well-timed silence hath more eloquence than speech (Martin Farquhar Tupper)

The best apology against false accusers is silence and sufferance, and honest deeds set against dishonest words (John Milton)

I think the first virtue is to restrain the tongue; he approaches nearest to gods who knows how to be silent, even though he is in the right (Cato the Elder)

resident Trump is a sad man; he can't get anything done, despite the fact that the Republican Party, his Party, has the monopoly of power in Washington. The Senate, the House of Reps, and the White House are being controlled by the GOP, and still, President Trump and the House of Reps' Speaker, Ryan Paul, couldn't get enough votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, President Obama's signature health care policy. On Friday, March 24, President Trump and the House Speaker had to pull off the bill, at the last minute, when it became clear that the votes weren't there. The Republicans in the House of Reps didn't need the Democrats there to get the bill passed, but there were dissenting GOP members - the far right members called the Freedom Caucus and the Club for Growth, and that killed the bill for now. I will write on this next.

Back to the wiretapping allegations: In order to deflect the pressure from the investigations on his campaign ties to Russia, Trump wanted to shift the focus, so, he falsely accused his predecessor of having wiretapped him, and has refused to retract the evidence-free accusations, despite the fact that it has been proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that his predecessor didn't do such a thing. As repeated in the preceding part of this article, the FBI, the NSA, and the Congressional Intel Committees have all said that Obama is innocent, but Trump will not take it. Trump's administration also falsely alleged that the British spy agency, GCHQ, helped former President Barack Obama surveil Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. According to CNN, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, cited an uncorroborated Fox News report to allege that the UK intelligence agency spied on Trump at the behest of Obama. The claim -- called "ridiculous" by a spokesman for Prime Minister, Theresa May -- resulted in what amounted to an apology from Spicer and national security adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster, to the British government, though Spicer later denied an apology had taken place.

Jeb Bush, President George Bush's junior brother, and one of those who contested the GOP presidential primaries against Donald Trump, is not happy with President Trump. The former governor of Florida State said that President Trump's evidence-free claims are kneecapping his first 100 days in the White House. In a report, anchored by Dylan Stableford for Yahoo News, Jeb Bush said, in an interview that aired Sunday, March 26, on Miami's WFOR-TV, that President Trump should stop saying things that aren't true, that are distractions from the task at hand. In his words:

"He's a distraction in and of himself. He's got a lot of work to do, and some of these things - the wiretapping and all of this stuff - is a complete distraction that makes it harder to accomplish the things I know he wants to do."

Jeb Bush also advised Trump to stop those tweets which are distracting his appointees from doing their work. In Bush's view, the president has still not made the transition from candidate to commander in chief. Hear him:

"He hasn't shifted to being president in the way that people are used to. And I think that's the problem. Our country is at a crossroads right now. I think we need sober, serious leadership. And it's a huge opportunity for the president to win over a whole lot of people."

This isn't the first time Trump has fired off a baseless accusation at Obama. Trump falsely claimed that Obama was not born in the U.S., until recently, when he reluctantly withdrew that comment. Chronicling Trump's history of making claims without evidence, the USA Today wrote that in March 2011, Trump began promoting the idea that Obama wasn't born in the United States. It was a suspicion presented without evidence, and Obama ridiculed Trump for it during the 2011 White House Correspondents Association dinner. Last September, without explaining why, Trump abandoned the claim with a statement: "Mr. Trump believes President Obama was born in the United States."

On Nov. 27, Trump tweeted: "In addition to winning the Electoral College, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally." He cited no evidence. Voting officials across the country found little evidence of vote fraud, and certainly nothing as massive as Trump claims. He also tweeted that voters from Massachusetts illegally voted in New Hampshire, which caused Trump to lose that state last November. No evidence was found to support that claim either. Trump said he could sign an executive order calling for an investigation into the alleged fraud. So far, no order has been signed, and no investigation has started.

During his Feb. 16 news conference, Trump claimed that his Electoral College win was the biggest since President Ronald Reagan's in 1984, when he carried every state except Minnesota and the District of Columbia. However, election records showed that Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton (two times) and Obama (twice) won higher percentages of the electoral vote than Trump - in five of the seven elections since Reagan won his last.

Trump claimed he needed to sign his Jan. 27 ban on immigrants from seven mostly Muslim nations because the influx of dangerous people in the United States demanded it. The title of a newly leaked Department of Homeland Security report tends to debunk the idea: "Most foreign-born U.S.-based violent extremists radicalized after entering Homeland."

Trump has said the United States has left "our own borders wide open, for anyone to cross." That's not true! The Border Patrol budget and number of agents have both doubled since 2001. In 2016, more than 416,000 in the country illegally were apprehended.

Trump's unsubstantiated wiretapping allegations against Obama were a face saving measure, but it backfired. I agree with the Independent, where it wrote that Trump's latest claims about Obama are transparently distraction tactics. Characteristically, the President provided no evidence to back up his remarkable allegations. Fake news, perhaps? Or maybe just alternative facts, as his aides call them. It appears that Mr. Trump seized on claims by the right-wing Breitbart News website.

All roads in Washington today lead to Moscow, and Mr. Trump's latest tweets (false accusations) look like a naked attempt to divert attention from the crisis engulfing him over his team's contacts with Russia, which have already forced the resignation of Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, and put his Attorney General Jeff Sessions under pressure. It suits Team Trump to suggest that Mr. Obama's allies are behind the leaks.

President Obama remains unfazed by the accusations; he didn't lose his cool, as the NBC wrote that Obama wasn't livid, but "rolled his eyes" in reaction to Trump's wiretapping claims. Peter Alexander of NBC News wrote that Barack Obama reportedly "rolled his eyes" at Donald Trump's allegations over alleged wiretapping during the US election. A source close to Mr. Obama told NBC News he felt the claims "undermine the integrity of the office of the President" , but do not undermine his own integrity, because "he didn't do it". "Mr. Obama is much more concerned by President Trump kicking people off their health insurance, not staffing the government, not being prepared for a crisis, rolling back regulations so that corporations can pollute the air and water, and letting mentally unstable people buy guns with no problems whatsoever. He cares about all those things much more than what President Trump tweets each morning."

The affair is another reminder of the stark contrast between Mr. Obama - who insists he never authorized the surveillance of any US citizen or interfered in a Justice Department investigation - and Mr. Trump. Mr. Obama might not have fulfilled all the hopes and dreams invested in him when he became America's first black president, but history will look back on some real achievements, and will likely judge him a highly honourable man who gave his all for his country. Mr. Obama would surely have beaten Mr. Trump, if the US Constitution had allowed him to run for a third term - when the contrast between them would have been even more evident. It is hard to imagine Mr. Obama sinking to the depths of ordering the tapping of Mr. Trump's phone to help the Democrats keep him out of office. Indeed, it is the Democrats who were the most likely victims of such dirty tricks during the election campaign.

True, Mr. Obama had good reason for wishing his successor ill. After all, Mr. Trump wrongly claimed that Mr. Obama was not born in the US and branded him "the founder of ISIS". Yet the dignified way in which Mr. Obama handled his exit from the White House and the transition to the next administration indicated that the real President Obama was professional to the end, a man who would not sink to the desperate and illegal tactics of Richard Nixon. Michelle Obama's "When they go low, we go high" speech would be pertinent to remember.

Obama has not commented publicly on the wiretapping allegations, but his spokesman said, on that Saturday the allegations were made, that "neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false".

How Obama has reacted to Trump's false accusations shows a class and the difference between the two. Being a white man or a rich man doesn't confer intelligence. Obama has shown that silence is golden. President Trump is getting his punishment somewhere else; as the CBS News, on March 23, 2017, reported that a poll shows that the wiretap claims have hurt the president's credibility. President Trump's boasting and tendency to believe conspiracy theories have led to a deficit of credibility. Mr. Trump said on the campaign trail: "In this journey, I will never lie to you". Since the campaign, Mr. Trump has presented himself as the last honest man in Washington. But a new Quinnipiac poll shows that his unsubstantiated wiretapping claims have been damaging. Sixty percent of voters do not believe that he is honest, and 39 percent of Republicans do not believe his allegation that former President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower.

The president has made other allegations without evidence, such as claiming widespread voter fraud and a historically high murder rate. The claims led the conservative-leaning editorial page of the Wall Street Journal to warn that Mr. Trump is causing damage "to his presidency with his seemingly endless stream of exaggerations, evidence-free accusations, implausible denials and other falsehoods." In his signature book "The Art of the Deal," published 30 years ago, Mr. Trump referred to his style as "truthful hyperbole," an "innocent form of exaggeration-and a very effective form of promotion." But that style may not be effective in the White House. In an interview with Time magazine published Thursday, March 16, Mr. Trump dismissed concerns about his truthfulness, telling the reporter "I can't be doing so badly, because I'm president, and you're not."

If Obama was like Trump he would have gone to court against his successor's baseless allegations, but he will not do it, because he's honorable more than Trump. If Obama was like Trump, he would have sued his successor for libel. Obama could have used Trump's own campaign words to haul him before a judge. You can imagine what Trump would have done, if he was in Obama's shoes. A year ago, according to Huffington Post, candidate Donald Trump proclaimed that, if elected president, he would change the nation's libel laws to make it easier for people like him to sue those who make false and defamatory statements about them. In his words: "One of the things I'm going to do if I win is "to open up our libel laws" so that when people say "purposely negative and horrible and false" things about me "we can sue them and win lots of money. We're going to change the law so when people write things that are "a total disgrace . . . we can sue them and win money instead of having no chance of winning because they're totally protected."

It would be truly fascinating if Obama were now to sue Trump for defamation. If Obama did sue Trump, he could almost certainly "win lots of money" from him. Indeed, there seems no doubt that Trump's statement was false, defamatory, and at the very least made with reckless disregard for the truth. Such a lawsuit would be amusing and entertaining beyond belief. Of course, this will not happen. Barack Obama is not that kind of "guy." He is a person of integrity, calm, and self-restraint. So, perhaps sadly, we will be spared the drama of such litigation. But this is just one more illustration of why the person currently in the White House should not be there.

Donald Trump vilifies the press, the courts, immigrants, Muslims, Democrats, protesters, anyone who disagrees with him, and now, he tries to use Obama as a distraction from his Russian ties mess, and just as the Salon wrote, it isn't hard to imagine a modern-day Mussolini - or worse. And just as the Independent noted, a few early morning tweets that set more hares running, and the media chasing after them, should not fool anyone or divert us from the real story - the close relationship and contacts between Mr. Trump's team and Russia. If there is a scandal on the scale of Watergate, it is that - and Congress should not allow the President to use his power to obstruct a proper investigation into it.

I wish that one day, Trump would get a lesson of his life, so that he will start behaving like a president. For now, he's not the stuff presidents are made of. From what we're seeing, putting a clown in the White House would have been better!

The Obamas, unperturbed, radiantly leave the National Gallery of Art on Sunday, a day after Trump's unsubstantiated allegations. CREDIT: AP

Barack Obama leaves the National Gallery of Art in Washington on March 5 - a rare public appearance in a post-presidency that is nonetheless shaping up to be busier than most. (Jose Luis Magana/AP)

"Poor" President Trump in the Oval Office on Friday, March 24, looking so sad! He has sought to assign blame for Republicans' failure to advance a bill replacing the Affordable Care Act. Credit Al Drago/The New York Times






Continued from Part 1