On Feb. 6 when Dr. George P. Shultz died at 100, the United States lost the greatest government executive of modern times. Shultz served three different presidents in the capacity of U.S. Secretary of Labor (1969-70), Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (1970-1972), U.S. Secretary of Treasury (1972-1974) and U.S. Secretary of State (1982-1989). No single person before or after him ever matched such a record of service.
In 2006, as a professor at East Carolina University, I was interviewed by Impression Magazine for an article on sustainable tourism in North Carolina. I was asked about my work in Washington, D.C., and abroad and to name a person I enjoyed most in my work. The interviewer noted that I responded quickly that is was Shultz: “David says, ‘He was the smartest man I have ever met and most gracious besides.’”
I had the good fortune of meeting and working for Shultz on two occasions. In 1969, as a very young labor economist, I worked for Robert C. Goodwin, then the U.S. Associate Administrator for Unemployment Insurance in the Department of Labor. Goodwin would attend Labor Secretary Shultz’s executive briefings, but many times admitted he did not always understand the terminology and hence his assignments. I got the assignment of accompanying Goodwin to the briefings to assist him. Later, during many informal Saturday morning work sessions, I got to know Shultz.
By 1983 I had moved to an executive position in the U.S. Department of Commerce with assignments that included work on trade agreements. I was asked to help negotiate a comprehensive U.S.-Mexico Tourism Agreement. I had the good fortune of briefing Secretary of State Shultz on the intricacies of the agreement and I had the pleasure of standing behind him during the signing ceremony on April 18, 1983, in Mexico City.
Edgell is professor emeritus and research scholar for ECU’s Center for Sustainable Tourism.
Donald Trump’s impeachment trial had speakers who claimed they had facts to prove he incited his followers to attack the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Trump’s acquittal seems to have prompted Nancy Pelosi to launch a counter-attack disguised as an independent commission, modeled after the bipartisan 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist hijackings of four aircraft. Her idea appears lathered from the jar of hypocrisy.
The 9/11 hijackers were on a mission to kill Americans. Osama bin Laden was the al-Qaeda mastermind. The 9/11 Commission established the facts, identified the hijackers, then traced those terrorists back to the source, bin Laden. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Delaware, suggests the new commission will start with Trump, his planning, and the implementation of the attack on the Capitol. Coons’ goal is to “lay bare the record “ of how Trump violated his oath of office, not to identify the attackers or their leaders.
The 9/11 Commission Report states they came together because “our nation demands it.” Mandated by law “to investigate the facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks,” their aim was not to “assign individual blame.” The truth of their assignment was eloquently stated. “That September day, we came together as a nation. The test before us is to sustain that unity of purpose and meet the challenges now confronting us.”
I believe our nation demands both sides of the political aisle come together and determine the factual events surrounding Jan. 6, not to assign individual blame, but to sustain a unity of purpose to improve security in public buildings. It is hypocritical to legislate an investigation under the guise of preventing future attacks when the real intent is to discredit one person or one party.
Kudos for Burr
Kudos to the Daily Reflector for defending Sen. Richard Burr’s courageous vote to convict our “Inciter in Chief.” But no praise for the N.C. Republican Party leaders who promptly voted to censure Burr for putting his oath of office above their wishes.
Senators participating in Trump’s trial took an oath to “do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help [them] god?” Given the evidence presented in Trump’s case, Burr and the 56 other senators who voted to convict clearly honored that oath, while Sen. Thom Tillis and the 42 other Republican senators who voted to acquit ignored their constitutional obligation.
Instead, they hid behind the specious and unprecedented argument that an impeached president can escape a Senate trial by the simple expedient of leaving office before his trial begins — an argument that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell aided and abetted by delaying Trump’s trial until he was out of office! What unmitigated hypocrisy!
At least one of the Republicans attacking Sen. Burr also threw in a plug for Lara Trump as Burr’s Senate replacement. Heaven help us! Lara married Eric Trump. Do we really want someone with such poor judgment representing us in the U.S. Senate?
Tinsley E. Yarbrough