One of the most troubling things about the presidency of Donald Trump is that association with the president seems to tarnish anyone who comes near him.
The latest example is Rob Rosenstein, the new deputy director of the Justice Department.
Rosenstein came into office with a sterling reputation. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had promised to recuse himself from investigations into the president and Russian interference with the 2016 election and everyone, Republican and Democrat, seemed relieved that Rosenstein would be in charge.
Two weeks into the job, Rosenstein wrote a memo suggesting that FBI Director Jim Comey be fired because of the way he treated the Hillary Clinton investigation last year. Trump then fired Comey and said he did so because of Rosenstein's memo.
Does anyone truly believe that?
I would guess the memo represents Rosenstein's true feelings. It represents a lot of people's true feelings. It represents my true feelings. The question is, was Rosenstein's top priority in becoming attorney general the firing of the FBI director? Or, did the president ask him to prepare the memo?
No matter how you answer that question, the result is that Rosenstein's reputation is now tarnished. Rather than being a source of confidence within the Justice Department, he now appears to be the president's toady.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer is now a national joke. The night Trump fired Comey, Spicer was found hiding in the bushes outside the White House to avoid reporters.
Our man from Janesville, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, has gone all in with the president. He is now the face of the “health care” bill that will price 24 million Americans out of the market and, at the same time, take the better part of a trillion dollars out of the Medicaid program that helps the nation's poorest citizens (possibly including your grandma in a nursing home) and transfer it to the nation's richest citizens, definitely including the president.
In the meantime, this morning's newspaper displayed a front-page photo of the president shaking hands in the White House with Sergi Laverov, the Russian prime minister. The photo was credited to the “Russian Foreign Ministry.”
American news photographers were not allowed in the meeting.
Honest people can disagree on whether the president's policies are good or bad. I don't see how anyone can agree that the president is competent to carry them out.
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