Steve's Blog

Trump, Pence, Alexander Hamilton, William and Mary, the Transition, and the Klan

A lot’s happened over the last week, mostly, but not all, related to Trump’s transition. Vice President-elect Mike Pence made a trip to Washington last Thursday, and was warmly and enthusiastically received by the House Republican Conference (that’s made up of all Republican Members of the House of Representatives – including of course, me. For some reason, our Democrat counterpart calls itself a “caucus” rather than a “conference.” I know, we can’t agree on anything.)

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Okay, back to Mike Pence. He said that he and soon-to-be President Trump are anxious to hit the ground running in several areas: repealing and replacing Obamacare, getting our borders and immigration policies under control, and cutting taxes and simplifying the tax code, in particular. I agree that these have to be priorities, as Candidate Trump emphasized his commitment to these things time and time again on the campaign trail. Now it’s time to deliver. Here are a couple of photos taken shortly after the meeting with Mike Pence last Thursday. Sorry the one’s so blurry, but another Member of Congress snapped the pictures, and as a group, we’re not necessarily the most competent bunch of people you’ll ever come across. (Probably not a shock to you.)

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You also may have heard that Mike Pence decided to take his daughter, nieces, and a nephew to a play in New York City the next evening. Now such an occurrence normally wouldn’t have been newsworthy. A father taking his kids out for the evening happens all the time across the country. Except that many in the audience booed the Vice President-elect, and the cast of the Broadway hit “Hamilton” chose to rudely lecture the Vice President-elect and the kids. Mike Pence was gracious afterwards, offering that he wasn’t offended. But his boss, Donald Trump, was p…ed, and demanded that the thespians apologize.

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I’m with Trump on this. Yes, the crowd has the First Amendment right to boo, and the cast of Hamilton has the right to speak to power, but the way they did it was just plain rude. Now in full disclosure, I’m probably not the most cultured guy in the world, and haven’t seen Hamilton on Broadway, or anywhere else for that matter. The last play I can remember seeing was Sweeney Todd, when our son was playing in the orchestra at St. Xavier High School. (I didn’t get booed or lectured.)

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Okay enough about that. I had mentioned last week that after the close of business in Congress, I was heading down to my alma mater, The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, to speak to the students. Well, I did, and it was a great experience for me, and I hope for the students too. I spoke to two separate government classes and answered a lot of their really well-thought-out questions. If they are representative of college students across America, I’m optimistic about the future of our nation (therapy dogs, playdough, crying-rooms, and coloring books on some campuses notwithstanding.)

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And while I’m on the topic of William and Mary and Williamsburg, my wife Donna and I got married during the summer between my sophomore and junior years. Here’s a photo I snapped of the apartment we lived in for two years in Williamsburg. It looks pretty much like it did 40 plus years ago, at least from the outside.

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Now the most important thing that happened over the last week, is President-elect Trump’s continued effort to put together what I hope will be one of the most impressive cabinets and administrations that we’ve seen in a long time. Since last week’s blog, Trump has interviewed quite a few quality individuals, some of whom were very helpful to Trump during his race for the presidency, like Rudy Giuliani and Newt Gingrich, and some of whom were, shall we say, not so helpful, like Mitt Romney. As of the time of this writing, Trump has made the following additional choices since last week: Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, retired General Michael Flynn (a Democrat) will be National Security Adviser, and Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo (who graduated at the top of his West Point class) will be CIA Director. Still to come are some of the most important slots, like Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, and Treasury Secretary.

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In my opinion, Trump has made some solid choices so far. Of course the mainstream press (being the mainstream press) has spent an inordinate amount of time trying to convince the American people that Trump’s choice for White House Adviser, Steve Bannon, is a racist, and that Trump’s choice for Attorney General, Senator Jeff Sessions, at least used to be a racist. They of course conveniently ignored the fact that Hillary Clinton, just a few years back, referred to former KKK member and recruiter, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, as “my friend and mentor.” Byrd had even used the “N” word in an interview not that long ago, but the mainstream press all but ignored it (because he was a Democrat.) Interestingly, you may remember that there was a lot of speculation in the last month or so of the presidential campaign, that there was a video or tape of Donald Trump using the “N” word which would come out just before election day. The fact that such a devastating thing was never released, leads me to conclude that it never existed. But that didn’t stop the folks on CNN and MSNBC from talking about it (and ignoring Democrat Robert Byrd’s actual use of the offensive word.)

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Okay, that’s enough for this week. Hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. And here’s a photo my younger brother Dave sent me the other day, that I thought I’d share with you. It’s our annual family (and some neighborhood kids) Thanksgiving Day football game in our backyard in Westwood. My sister Carol is on the left in the yellow pants, my brother Ron is facing the camera to her right in the brown sweater and white pants, I’m in the red jacket waiting to receive the snap, and my brother Dave (who sent me the photo) is crouched down just in front of me. The others are kids from the neighborhood.

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Again, happy Thanksgiving, and see you next week.

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