We are faced with the odd prospect of a president fighting desperately to keep a job he evidently doesn’t want. Trump has continued to insist he did not lose the 2020 election, and yet seems to have given up on governing. He has not taken any questions from reporters since Election Day and has spent a great deal of time golfing. Today the G20, the “Group of Twenty, which consists of leaders of developed or developing countries from around the world, met virtually. After speaking briefly, Trump turned his attention back to tweeting false information about the 2020 election. Then, while members of the G20 began to talk about responses to the global pandemic, Trump went golfing. This was his 298th golf trip during his presidency. Today America surpassed 12 million coronavirus infections.
I can't remember where I heard this saying on Jewish immigrants but it seems to parallel the cycle Lincoln talks about in a beautiful way. It is: The first generation is the carpenters and the tailors so the second generation can be the doctors and the lawyers so the third generation become the artists and the musicians. Love it that the objective is to have the luxury of the arts and music as the height of civilized culture. True wealth is not measured by how much money one has, but by the wealth of the mind to pursue something larger than one's self. My dream is our country and countries around the world put a Well-Being Index as a more important measuring wealth than the GNP.
I wanted to share a post from a friend who is a recount observer in Milwaukee.
I'm told the counting went much better today. We've won every challenge and made real progress. My favorite story of the day:
There are three chairs in front of each counting tables for we observers. The rule is one Biden and, one Trump observer. The third chair for a 3rd Party. Of course, the Trump people were occupying every empty chair despite the rule. The commission announced that they had to stop. So, in a planned response, several Trump observers left the room, tore off their Trump sticker and went back to take the "third" chairs and claimed they were now independent and NOT Trump observers.
When the commission got wind of that, they came around and, literally, removed every "third" chair from every table and stored them.
"We are faced with the odd prospect of a president fighting desperately to keep a job he evidently doesn’t want."
Did he ever want it? Didn't Trump run for the notariety; to gain a national platform where he could mouth-off, promote his brand? He never expected to get the job. While the good times, and Obama's economy, rolled, things were cool. He didn't have to do much, the money rolled in to Trump properties, and the presidential perks were nice. There were regular rallies where he could get a booster shot of adoration from his devoted mob. The Republican Party allowed and even encouraged his antics as they demolished federal regulations they didn't like and packed the federal court system with conservative judges. Then this damned Coronavirus thing came along and ruined everything.
My view is that it's not so much that Trump doesn't want to govern; he has no idea how to govern. He's run away from problems and adversity his whole life; never living up to his mistakes, and never learning from them. He's learned to create his own reality when tne actual one doesn't suit him. None of this is working for him now, and if he runs away, he runs into the arms of federal, state, and local prosecutors in New York.
His whole mis-begotten life is coming crashing down around Donald J. Trump.
Better to play golf. Maybe it will all just go away.
Congratulations Professor Richardson!
I saw that you book, “How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America,” made it to the New York Times list of 50 Notable works of nonfiction for 2020.
I like it better when he golfs than when he quietly fires directors of agencies and sells arm to the UAE. Keep golfing, Mr. Trump!
I so appreciate your letters and I love your photo today. It’s like the Republicans and Democrats—they look different and the same. They are meant to do the same work.
Am I the only reader to hear the hammer- thud of your repetition of the word "men" in the latter paragraphs. It's reminding us all just how regressive the men in the current Republicans party are?. Thank you as always for providing historical precedent to the current oligarchic trend. It gives me hope that the trend will shift, hope that it may be, this time, without war.
As Muhammed Yunus, the Nobel-winning creator/founder of microcredit at the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, and my esteemed son-in-law Sam Daley-Harris whose Microcredit Summit organization led the its proliferation to hundreds of millions of the world's poorest people around the globe, the so-called "mudsills" represent the most astonishing individual and worldwide example of resourcefulness and innovation and entrepreneurial drive in the human community. As Muhammed said (in effect), "Behind the flap of every squalid hovel on earth you will find individuals whose determination to create a living every single day puts to shame the casual ride the rest of us take up the escalator of daily life." A more homespun example is that of entrepreneurialism in America, where the vast majority (both absolute, and proportional number) of entrepreneurs creating new businesses come not from the elite colleges and universities but from state schools. We have an economy of the people, by the people, for the people. Now if we can just restore a government to match that...
Heather, your connection between Hammond and our current president seems to grow deeper. Hammond had a history of a disrespecting young women (his 4 nieces and slaves) as written in his diaries.
Similar to Mary Trumps book’s psychological explanation of her Uncle’s desire for power without regard for others is partially due to his father, Fred, Rosellen Brown writes in her NYT article that Hammond was of the same ilk.
New York Times
MONSTER OF ALL HE SURVEYED
By Rosellen Brown
Jan. 29, 1989
“We are forced to ask how much of Hammond's wanton insensitivity, and his bathetic habits of self-exoneration and self-pity, came with the unquestioned power to own and command - slaves, wives, children. How much responsibility should go to his father, whose moral sensibilities seem to have been less than refined? The questions lead us backward down the long, barely lighted corridor in which character and circumstance, generations of it, mysteriously collide”
Yesterday I got this historical note on Presidential transition from Bill Blackburn, who was an aide to President Lyndon Johnson:
When President Johnson decided not to seek re-election in 1968, he promptly set in motion the process to implement for the first time the Presidential Act of 1963, which authorizes funding for the General Services Administration to provide suitable office space, staff compensation, and other services associated with the presidential transition process. LBJ called out of retirement Charles S. Murphy, Counselor to former President Harry S Truman, who had directed the transition between Truman and President-elect Dwight Eisenhower in 1952-3. LBJ asked Murphy to coordinate the transition between his Administration and that of the next President, whether it be Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon, or unlikely though the prospect, George Wallace. (This anticipated later amendments to the law which now allow support to eligible candidates for pre-election transition planning.) I was privileged to sit second chair to Murphy as contact was made with all three candidates and all branches and departments of the government whose heads would likely be replaced by the next President. We had briefing materials prepared for the incoming officials to be delivered to them after the election but well before the Inauguration. In fact the plan was to provide the materials to each new appointee as he or she was designated by the President-elect so that they would be fully prepared to address pending or potential issues in their respective areas of responsibility. We met with Nixon’s law partner, Frank Lincoln (who was reporting to the dour John Mitchell), flew to Boston and met with Harvard professor Phillip Areeda, who had been asked by Nixon to serve on his transition team, and we of course created a great deal of correspondence, which is on file at the Library. And I am sure you recall that LBJ invited Nixon and his staff to a reception in the White House after the election where our staff met and mingled with Nixon’s people. All done with grace. I have a vivid memory of the openness and patriotism that our Administration exhibited in this effort, and am appalled by President Trump’s belligerence and ignorance in this regard, and saddened by the example he is setting, and the harm he is doing to our country. Bill
But the question Bill's note prompts is this: if there is an Act relevant to transition, is there not a legal path to moving Trump out the door, or breaking the GSA resistance?
Lest we forget, November 22, 2020 will mark 57 years since President Kennedy's assassination.
Powerful words! I LOVED this well-worded and informative letter on Lincoln and Hammond. You are a great teacher of facts. Thanks much!
T**** never wanted the job. He wanted to polish up the T**** brand, which was not doing well financially in 2015. He didn't have a transition plan or team going in, and he doesn't have them going out. To meet with Biden's transition team would mean revealing that there are no plans to hand off. No plans for vaccine distribution, no plans for peace in the Middle East, no plans for relief for the millions of Americans who are on the brink of homelessness. He's the same empty shell of a man he's been all his life.
Another day and Ms Murphy has refused to admit Biden/Harris have won the election, so the letter opening the doors to them remains unsigned. I realized this morning that she may have a very difficult time finding a job after she is thrown out of the GSA. Who would hire someone with such poor judgment? Loyalty may be important, but judgment more so. What the hell has to happen for her to see the end is nigh? Judges are turning away frivolous attempts to overturn results. Certifications are moving along. Enraging that this one person can hold such power. I hope she is royally grilled by Democrats tomorrow....assuming she shows up!
"While the president golfs, President-Elect Joe Biden is trying to pressure Congress to pass another coronavirus bill as the economy lurches toward another drop. Incoming presidents usually want to hold their influence in reserve to take credit for new policies, but Biden is pushing forward because he is so concerned about the economy. Unless Congress passes a new bill, about 12 million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits at the end of the year. Hunger and homelessness will follow."
Can you imagine people being as callous as 45 and his underlings? I use the term "underlings", because these yes-men even stoop and bow to his shadow. How can the Senate sit back and do NOTHING for our citizens?
This afternoon, I was listening to the concerns of good, decent people who lost their jobs in March, who don't know how they will cope without unemployment benefits. When the interviewer asked a mother what she will do for Christmas, she responded: "It'll be sparse, but we will survive; we'll have e/o; the children don't need things. It's January that I worry about, with all our savings gone and no unemployment ..."
My heart breaks for them! Still, the well-fed, spoiled brats prance around golf courses and through the hallowed halls of Congress! For shame!!! 💔💔💔
It is going to be a busy week here in Michigan. Dr Richardson, your letters are a beacon directing us to keep perspective in turbulent waters. Thank you so very much.
Thank you HCR. I’m fascinated by the current echo of the past, as you describe in today’s letter. From my grassroots perspective, I believe trumpism is a social problem that gives rise to political ones that stoke the flames of the social ones. A vicious circle. Irresponsible media coverage is at the heart the current social eruption which feels like a wildfire raging out of control. BidenHarris and their team are our smokejumpers parachuting in and risking their lives to save ours. But, they are going to need all of us average citizens protesting and voting our support. As I wrote yesterday, I’m through putting my energy into listening to and playing nice with family and friends who are lifelong ignorant bigots and racists who golf and care only about the stock market, or just benefit from living here without paying attention. So, I volunteer in GA. ❤️🤍💙