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  1. #1
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005

    White House morale tanks amid Helsinki fallout

    White House morale tanks amid Helsinki fallout

    Staffers are considering accelerating their departures in the wake of the president's equivocations on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    07/19/2018 07:48 PM EDT

    President Donald Trump’s disastrous performance since his press conference alongside Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has sent West Wing morale to its lowest level since the Charlottesville fiasco almost a year ago.

    As happened last August, when the president refused to condemn neo-Nazi demonstrators, Trump’s attempts to tamp down outrage have backfired. Stilted statements followed by ad-libbed remarks left even his allies feeling that while the president was technically acknowledging a mistake, he actually meant what he’d said on the first go-round – that he believed Putin’s denials of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    “People are just depressed,” said one Republican close to the White House. “Nobody wants to take on the public heat of resigning right now but there are a bunch of people who were thinking maybe they’d leave after the midterms who are very seriously starting to consider accelerating their timetable.”

    But the president’s usual defenders, many of whom have been critical of him in public and almost all of whom are privately disappointed by his performance, say the following: While Trump’s statements are regrettable, they have few if any policy consequences. And it’s for that reason that senior-level officials like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton – those with the most impact on policy – are unlikely to step down.

    Yet, as Charlottesville triggered public soul-searching by Trump’s Jewish economic policy adviser Gary Cohn, the spectacle in Helsinki has raised questions of how senior officials who accept that Russia is a serious adversary can continue to work for a president who looks the other way on Putin’s attacks.

    To Trump’s critics, even among his fellow Republicans, both events represent an abdication of moral leadership, a role to which Trump’s predecessors aspired even if they fell short.

    “Moral leadership is critically important for the president,” said Allan Lichtman, presidential historian and the author of the forthcoming book The Embattled Vote in America. “It sets the tone not only for the nation but for the entire world because the president is the leader of the free world.”

    Many of the biggest controversies of the Trump presidency have come from such moments of perceived moral equivocation. His speeches have been devoid of references to Reagan’s “shining city on a hill” or even to George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” — phrases that defined their presidencies but also continued a tradition where presidential leadership involved charting a moral course for the country and the world.

    Trump has rejected that tradition from the outset, using his inaugural address to describe “American carnage” and repeatedly undermining the idea of America as a beacon for the world. He refused, for example, in a February 2017 interview with former Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly to condemn Russian President Vladimir Putin’s suppression of the free press. “There are a lot of killers,” Trump said. “You think our country’s so innocent?”

    Indeed, while a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and independents say it is important for the president to provide moral leadership, according to a Gallup poll released in May, 22 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats say Trump provides somewhat or very weak moral leadership.

    “You cannot understate the importance of these moral moments, going back to Lincoln’s Second Inaugural,” Lichtman said. “We are still inspired by Lincoln’s words. Is anyone inspired by anything Donald Trump has ever said, ever?”

    Trump’s attempt to rewrite the script on Russia this week has reignited some of those concerns. The president departed from written remarks intended to clarify his comments at the Helsinki press conference with Putin where he gave equal weight to the findings of the American intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 election and to Putin’s denial of that fact.

    After acknowledging Russia’s culpability, Trump added, “Could be other people also, there’s a lot of people out there.”

    Last summer, days after sparking a media conflagration for condemning people on “both sides” of the rally in Charlottesville, the president emerged at Trump Tower for a press conference ostensibly intended to tout his infrastructure agenda and declared, “You had some very bad people in that group, but you also had people that were very fine people, on both sides.”

    Behind him, his newly appointed chief-of-staff, John Kelly, could be seen rubbing his temples with a look of misery that ping-ponged across the Internet. Cohn, then Trump’s chief economic adviser, drafted a resignation letter. But not a single member of the White House staff resigned over it – though Cohn eventually left, amid a fight over tariffs.

    Monday’s events have sparked renewed demands for resignations-en-masse from presidential aides.

    “Assuming Mike Pompeo and John Bolton still have their own senses intact, they...should resign following the epic disgrace of the U.S.-Russia summit in Helsinki on Monday. So should their senior staff,” wrote New York Times columnist Bret Stephens on Thursday, noting that he knows and respects both men.

    But others have called for those already inside to stay. “Please don’t resign,” wrote Kori Schake, head of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in the Atlantic. “We should not want the moral satisfaction and practical devastation of clearing out people of conscience and allow the president to replace them with more malleable or compromised people.”
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    If you are not 100% on board with a new and improved relationship between the US and Russia, and become depressed as things move forward in this direction, then for your own health, well-being and dinner parties, you need to leave as soon as possible, otherwise your name will be associated with one of the great moments of US history generated by Donald Trump. Much better for you to move on out, let new people come in with the same goals as the President, and restore your mental "moral equivalency" to whatever morality you think you have, and become a prideful happy-in-conflict person again.

    And if you haven't noticed, Trump is really a One Man Machine, so ,,,, well .... you get my drfit, right? He knew and said this on the campaign trail that some of you wouldn't like all this winning!!

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    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

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