The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Well, Pardon Me

Rich Galen

Monday July 24, 2017

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  • Last week a guy named Anthony Scaramucci was named White House Director of Communications. Outside of Washington, DC and network bureaus in Atlanta and New York, I can't imagine anyone knows. Or cares.

  • Immediately upon Scaramucci's appointment, the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, announced he was resigning in protest.

  • More people know who Spicer is, if only from his weekly skewering on Saturday Night Live.

  • But even with that, if you went to, say, Omaha and asked who the White House Press Secretary has been, you might get an answer like that time Jay Leno asked someone if they could name any of the Ten Commandment and she said, "Freedom of Speech?"

  • There is only one person who works in the White House - any White House - that matters and that person is the President of the United States.

  • You can probably name all the Presidents of the United States since your birth. I think this is true because you are reading a political column.

  • Now. Name all the Vice Presidents of the United States over that same period of time.

  • Gets a little tricky around Nixon and Ford, doesn't it? There is no way I could tell you FDR's first two VPs without Googling them.

  • Which I just did:
    John Nance Garner (Texas)
    Henry Wallace (Iowa)
    Harry S. Truman (Missouri)


    Before you get all giddy about my using the period after Truman's middle initial (the "S" didn't stand for anything) this, from the Harry Truman Library page:

    "The evidence provided by Mr. Truman's own practice argues strongly for the use of the period."

    Sir: Step away from the "SEND" key, place your fingers slowly on the Home Row, and stop resisting.


  • Just to finish the Truman thought, his VP was Alben W. Barkley (Kentucky).

  • Anthony Scaramucci will not, perhaps to his shock and disappointment, be a household name anytime soon. Or ever.

  • Donald Trump is the only household name in that house. And it continues to go badly.

  • This past week was supposed to be "Made-in-America Week." U.S. manufacturing companies brought their products to the White House lawn - from Caterpillar to the company that makes undershirts for the U.S. Military.

  • It wasn't. It was another Tweet Week.

  • Trump Tweeted about how his meeting with Putin at the G20 was #FakeNews. That "Obamacare is dead" and it is the Democrats' fault but that that same Obamacare lies dead at the feet of Republican Senators, who need to "after 7 years, vote to Repeal and Replace." How the President has the "complete power to pardon."

  • And then, because he can't seem to get away from it, he Tweeted Sunday afternoon:
    "As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!"

  • And this one, at about 3:15 PM, which really caught my attention:
    "It's very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President."

  • That whole pardon thing just sprung up like a toadstool after a rainstorm. And, I didn't understand why he had suddenly become so interested in Article II, Section 2, Clause 5 of the Constitution:
    He shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

  • Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon in a proclamation issued September 8, 1974 which read, in part:
    [I] do grant a full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from January 20, 1969 through August 9, 1974.

  • Those dates ran from the day Nixon was inaugurated until the day he resigned.

  • I began to wonder whether Trump, when musing about firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller if Mueller begins to dig into the Trump family's business dealings looking for Russian entanglements, generated private phone calls from friends on the Hill about triggering impeachment proceedings.

  • It's pretty clear Trump can't pardon himself as President for what he might have done while in office. President Mike Pence could do that.

  • But, can President Trump pardon private citizen Trump for misdeeds committed before he was President?

  • Probably not, but stay tuned. These guys might try anything.

  • Oh, did I type that out loud? Well, pardon me.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: A link to Jay Leno's greatest hits (seriously, pretend it's already August and waste 7 minutes watching this), also links to Harry Truman's middle initial and to the WaPo's report on Presidential pardons last week.

    The Mullfoto is almost too good to be true. From Mullpal Rob Schuler. Worth a peek.

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