Loading...
BYH to the one who thinks that we are energy independent because of this president. The initiatives you speak of began...

Democrats now can hold Trump accountable

Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson

Loading…

Friday, November 16, 2018

In mob movies they call it "going to the mattresses" — getting ready for war.

One day after voters put an end to unaccountable, strongman-style, one-party rule in Washington, Trump moved to cover his flank. He shoved out Attorney General Jeff Sessions and installed a replacement, Matt Whitaker, who has publicly warned special counsel Robert Mueller to stay away from Trump family business dealings. The sudden switch was clear proof of who was the big winner in Tuesday's election — and who was the big loser.

Pay no attention to anyone who whines that "well, yes, the Democrats did manage to take the House, but they didn't ... " and then goes on to bemoan Beto O'Rourke's loss in Texas or one of the other near-misses. A bigger wave would have been nice, but control of the House was the Big Enchilada of this election, and Democrats grabbed it. Trump's life is about to change in ways he will not like.

I saw what looked like panic in that bizarre post-election news conference Trump held Wednesday. Predictably, he was full of bluster. The results were "very close to complete victory," he claimed. It must have been studied professionalism that kept the assembled reporters from bursting into laughter.

For the first time, Democrats have the power to hold Trump accountable. The next House speaker — almost surely the current minority leader, Nancy Pelosi — will name a new set of committee chairmen who can call hearings, compel testimony and subpoena documents. Pelosi indicated that oversight of the administration will be surgical rather than scattershot, but that it will indeed be performed. She and her leadership team have been plotting their first steps. This will be fun to watch.

Consider the House Intelligence Committee. The outgoing chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., did everything in his power to protect Trump from any serious investigation of Russian meddling. The incoming chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is a Harvard Law graduate and former federal prosecutor who knows how to systematically peel away layers of obfuscation and deception to reach the truth.

Think of the Government Oversight Committee under the leadership of Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., who will conduct actual oversight of an administration that plays fast and loose with the rules. Think of the Financial Services Committee under Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., whom Trump describes as "low-I.Q." in racist tweets — and who is set to plumb the Trump Organization's cozy relationship with Deutsche Bank.

Perhaps prospects like these were what put Trump in such a bad mood on Wednesday. He came into the news conference obviously determined to pick a fight. Why else would Trump have called on CNN's Jim Acosta, who has been the president's most visible antagonist among the White House press corps?

"You are a rude, terrible person," Trump told Acosta, amid some back-and-forth snarling. "You shouldn't be working for CNN."

When Yamiche Alcindor of PBS inquired whether Trump's rhetoric might embolden racist white nationalists, Trump accused her of asking "such a racist question."

It was all straight from the Trump playbook: Attack the media, encourage whites to feel aggrieved, display a cartoonish toughness, never give an inch. But it all seemed frantic and overdone, as if Trump were trying to convince himself that he could handle the difficulties to come.

Trump's massive insecurities were on full display. He blamed Republicans who distanced themselves from him because of his unpopularity among their constituents. They had voted loyally for Trump's agenda, mind you, but his idea of gratitude was cruel derision. Among those he singled out was Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah: "Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia."

Trump made reasonable-sounding noises about working with a Democratic House majority on issues such as infrastructure, health care, a middle-class tax cut and environmental policy. But then he took it all back, saying that if Democrats actually try to perform their constitutional duties of oversight and accountability there will be no cooperation on a legislative agenda.

Just hours later, Sessions was gone. The battle was joined.

Tuesday was a turning point because now the majority of Americans, who reject Trump and Trumpism, have real power. The president acted Wednesday as if he knows the second two years of his administration will be nothing like the first two years. He is right.

Eugene Robinson is a columnist and an associate editor of The Washington Post who won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2009.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

December 15, 2018 - 46 minutes ago

Throughout Donald Trump's campaign for the presidency, he repeatedly promised to build a high, impenetrable, concrete wall along America's nearly 2,000-mile border with Mexico.

And he further promised that it wouldn't cost American taxpayers one red cent, saying he would make Mexico pay for it.…

lambro2

December 15, 2018 - 31 minutes ago

The Los Angeles Times

President Trump’s announcement that he will nominate William Barr to serve as U.S. attorney general — a position Barr also held under President George H.W. Bush — eases concerns that he would seek to replace ousted Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions with a loyalist…

December 15, 2018 - 31 minutes ago

While many are fretting over the just-right Christmas present, tackling last-minute holiday details or preparing for years-end, many of North Carolina’s high school seniors have the added stress of preparing applications for college.

Unless you parent a high school student it is hard to…

Tom Campbell.jpg

December 14, 2018

Every time conventional Beltway wisdom congeals as quickly as it did on Tuesday — this time around, the certainty that President Donald Trump had blundered terribly in saying he would in effect "own" any government shutdown over border security funding — analysts ought to think back to…

HughHewitt

December 14, 2018

This just in: Black men are still being killed by police officers for no good reason.

But you knew that. Anyone who has remotely been paying attention should be aware that unjustified police killings of African-American men continue unabated. In far too many police departments, the unwritten rule…

Eugene Robinson

December 13, 2018

In the January 1953 edition of the magazine If: Worlds of Science Fiction, a fan of the genre from Texas, Marilyn Venable, made her debut as an author. “Time Enough at Last,” Venable’s story of a bookish man who survives a nuclear holocaust, made such an impression that Twilight…

john hood.jpg

December 13, 2018

Prosecutors investigating President Trump made big news recently, but it wasn't about Russia. Rather, in their sentencing recommendation for fixer Michael Cohen, lawyers with the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York wrote that in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign,…

Byron York

December 12, 2018

 

How appropriate would it be for a major publicly held American company to hire a person with a history of having publicly made the following statements and many others like them? (In the interest of brevity, I shall list only four.)

"The world could get by just fine with zero black people."…

Walter Williams

December 12, 2018

When I heard the news of the arrest in Canada of Wanzhou Meng, Huawei's chief financial officer, my thoughts turned to Al Capone.

Capone was targeted for running Chicago's underworld but was ultimately brought down for tax evasion. Canadian authorities detained Meng on what appears to be Huawei's…

LAKE

December 11, 2018

Here we are, two years later.

We've taken many, arduous, often tedious steps, only to return to where we began, having gone nowhere.

In late 2016, as Gov. Roy Cooper was preparing to take office, the General Assembly decided it would change the makeup of the Bipartisan Board of Elections and Ethics…

John Trump
324 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 33
        Next Page»   Last Page»