Donald Trump’s “Fine People”

Donald Trump has casually referred to various nominees and appointees during his administration as “fine people,” “wonderful people,” or “great people.” But, recalling what Groucho Marx famously said about not wanting to be a member of any club that would have him, perhaps we should see it as suspect when Donald Trump heaps praise on someone. Trump’s accuracy in declaring people to be stellar human beings hasn’t exactly been spot-on. Are Trump’s proclamations about “fine people” and “great relationships” dishonest, or just insincere?

Below are just a few whom Trump has at one time deemed “fine people”:

Tom Price, former Secretary of Health and Human Services: Fired for using military and private jets for personal use (at taxpayers’ expense). Just shortly before his dismissal, Trump pronounced him “a very, very fine man.”

Scott Pruitt, former head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Resigned amid numerous legal and ethics scandals. In April of 2018, Trump said of Pruitt, “He’s a good man.”

Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman: Found guilty of eight counts of tax and bank fraud.

After Manafort was convicted, Trump tweeted, “I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family…Such respect for a brave man!” and “Manafort is a good man, and the conviction is very sad,” praising Manafort for “refusing to break,” and portraying him as a victim of “Justice.”

Michael Flynn, former National Security Advisor: Fired for lying to Vice President Mike Pence. Another “fine man,” according to Donald Trump.

Rob Porter, former White House Staff Secretary, who left his post amid allegations of spousal abuse of two former wives:

“People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Tweeted Trump. (Does this sound familiar?)

Incidentally, earlier in 2018, it was reported that Trump had said he hoped Porter could come back to work at the White House.

Most recently, Donald Trump has praised Supreme Court nominee (now seated Supreme Court justice) Brett Kavanaugh, by saying, “Brett Kavanaugh is one of the finest human beings you’ll ever have the privilege of knowing or meeting.”

Trump’s supporters believe him and support Trump’s opinion of Kavanaugh. Though the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh have not been proven, Kavanaugh’s demeanor and responses during questioning about the allegations have brought up speculation about his integrity and his fitness as a Supreme Court judge. We can only wait and see if Kavanaugh belongs on Trump’s list of “fine people.”

Trump Says Brett Kavanaugh Is A “Fine Fine Person” | TIME [2018-09-21]

Will Trump keep national security adviser Michael Flynn? | Fox Business [2018-02-13]

Brett Kavanaugh: Judicial Temperament, or Adolescent Temper?

The issue of whether Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasey Ford is much more complex than a simple “he-said, she-said” situation. For the Republicans, it’s not about what Kavanaugh did or didn’t do…It’s about having their man on the Supreme Court. Indeed, Fifty-four percent of Republicans said that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh should be confirmed, “regardless of whether (Christine Blasey) Ford’s allegations are true,” according to a recent NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll.

But putting aside (for a moment) the question of whether Kavanaugh did the things he is accused of (by two women in addition to Blasey Ford), Kavanaugh showed some worrisome traits – traits that are the opposite of those befitting a Supreme Court Justice.

First, he demonstrated an adolescent belligerence at various times during his questioning. When asked by Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, whether he had ever drunk so much that he blacked out, Kavanaugh responded, “You’re asking about black out, I don’t know, have you?”

If he were a teenager and spoke to his parents in that manner, he’d likely be grounded. But he’s an adult who spoke to a U.S. Senator that way, and the Republicans want to reward him with a Supreme Court judgeship.

Second, Kavanaugh lost his temper and general composure at various times during questioning, lashing out at Democrats and accusing them of conspiring against him as revenge “on behalf of the Clintons.” (Kavanaugh was an associate counsel for Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated Bill Clinton.) This and other accusations of Democrat conspiracy, along with his warning that he would “threaten the lives of millions of Americans for decades to come,” should alarm us. Not only do Brett Kavanaugh’s statements and manner reveal his ability to maintain calm under pressure, they also underline his clear partisanship.

Third, Kavanaugh has been caught in several “small” lies from his testimony. He claimed that he had no connections to Yale, and that he got in by “working his butt off.” In reality, his grandfather attended Yale, and this makes Kavanaugh a legacy student. When asked about an item on his calendar (“Devil’s Triangle”) from when he was in high school, he claimed it was the name of a drinking game though, in reality, it is the name for a sexual situation with two men and one woman. Since Thursday’s hearing, several classmates of Kavanaugh’s have come forward, saying that he downplayed the degree to which he drank, as well as having lied about never blacking out.

Though the lies in Kavanaugh’s testimony may seem small, they are still lies. Lying under oath is perjury.

As Chad Ludington, a former Yale classmate of Kavanaugh, said, “I do believe that Brett’s actions as a 53-year-old federal judge matter. If he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences. It is truth that is at stake, and I believe that the ability to speak the truth, even when it does not reflect well upon oneself, is a paramount quality we seek in our nation’s most powerful judges.”

Kavanaugh has clearly shown himself to be lacking the temperament and integrity that is crucial for one of our country’s highest interpreters of the law. Republicans were willing to put aside one man’s blatant misogyny, proven dishonesty, and lack of respect for others, and elect him president. Should it surprise us, then, that the Republicans maintain their support for Kavanaugh?

Kavanaugh classmate: He has not told the truth | CNN [2018-10-01]

Trump expands scope of FBI probe into Kavanaugh | Fox New [2018-10-01]