Redefining America’s Role

* Last summer, Secretary of Defense James Mattis looked refreshingly un-Trump like when he stated that the “The greatest gift the greatest generation left us was the rules-based postwar international order.” This spring Mattis looks more like the last man standing as John Bolton sets up shop as national security adviser.

*Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, just hours removed from his ouster last month, weighed in with a cautionary corollary: “Nothing is possible without allies and partners.” T Rex never sounded so stately; Too bad he never had Trump’s ear the way his hawkish successor, Mike Pompeo, now does.

* With all of the talk about Scott Pruitt’s ethical lapses–from pricey travels to cut-rate rental deals and that notably costly 24-7 security detail–it’s easy to forget there are far better reasons to want him fired as the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

How about hostility to scientific inquiry?  As in utter disdain for the link between climate change and the burning of fossil fuels. How about being a yes man for Trump’s blustery, campaign promise-keeping withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change? How about presiding over a critically-important department in “slow-motion train wreck” mode, to quote demoralized EPA insiders? How about avoiding inconvenient truths when they could undermine a presidential agenda that prioritizes fossil-fuel jobs over the costs to public health and, well, the planet?

There are plenty of reasons why Scott Pruitt should be sent packing from his lobbyist-arranged, Capitol Hill rental back to Oklahoma. Not unlike the occupant of the Oval Office, he’s bad for America–and the rest of the world.

* President Trump now says he doesn’t know why his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, had made that $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels. “You’ll have to ask Michael Cohen,” he said, in lieu of keeping a silence that sounded better than that comment. Trump also said he had no idea where Cohen, long known as Trump’s “fixer,” had gotten the money.

Obviously the White House is still in mid-Stormy spin. It comes with the territory–an unconscionably sleazy POTUS and a non-best-and-brightest, amateur-hour coterie of sycophantic advisers. Perhaps Cohen was making a refund for Trump University.

* We’re now hearing that “older, educated, white voters” are now shifting away from Trump and trending toward Democrats. I get “older” and “white” as political demographics that, alas, helped elect Trump. But didn’t “educated” used to imply something a bit more discerning?

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