Donald Trump loves this female Judge

February 14, 2017
trump-and-his-sister

President Donald Trump and Judge Maryanne Barry, his sister.

Here’s one judge that Donald Trump loves. Federal Judge, Maryanne Barry, his older sister.

Judge Barry, is a Senior United States Circuit Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She was first appointed to the federal bench during the Reagan administration. The Clinton administration promoted her again.

In 2004, she was presented with a public service award by Supreme Court Justice, Sandra Day O’Connor.

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Kick & JFK on the right.

Many presidents have had close relationships with a sister. It is almost eerie. Abraham Lincoln looked to Sarah. Her death broke his heart. John Kennedy was disconsolate when he lost his sister, and best friend, Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy. He vicariously thrilled with her adventures and they shared many secrets together.

 

President Jimmy Carter was close to his sister, Ruth Carter Stapleton.

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The George H.W. Bush family.

When George and Barbara Bush called young George, Jr. out of school in Texas, and had him get into the car, to tell him that his sister, Robin had died, he was stunned. He had known that something was wrong. He had begged to play with her at Kennebunkport, Maine that summer but they kept them apart, fearing that young George would be too rough.

Now, weeks later in Texas, told that she had died, he kept repeating, in between sobs, “Why didn’t you tell me, why didn’t you tell me.” He had not been given the chance to say goodbye.

(Read All the Presidents Children.)

Thomas Jefferson’s sister, Martha, was widowed at a young age and spent much of her life at Monticello, running her brother’s estate.

President Rutherford B. Hayes was close to his sister, Fanny. As children, when one got sick, the other one nursed them back to health. Rutherford used to pull his sister around on a sled.

When President Chester Arthur’s wife died, his sister, Molly McElroy, had to step in as first lady, to run the White House and take care of his little girl.

Theodore Roosevelt’s sister, Anna Roosevelt Cowels, “Bamie,” was so talented that Alice Roosevelt once said that she should have been the president.

In the soon to be released book, GAME OF THORNS, you will read about President Donald Trump’s older sister, Judge Maryanne Trump Barry.  When candidate Trump tangled with Megyn Kelly of Fox News, his big sister was there to reassure him. “Just be yourself.”

When the Access Hollywood tape was released, and all seemed lost, she and others counseled calm.

Journalists and television pundits are quick to point out that no president has ever had a sister serving as a judge. It’s true. But some have been close.

President George Washington’s nephew, Bushrod Washington, served on the Supreme Court.

President Zachary Taylor’s sister in law was the daughter of the famous Supreme Court Justice, John McLean.

President William Henry Harrison’s sister was married to a judge.

President John Tyler’s son in law was a judge. He became one of Tyler’s closest confidantes.

President James Buchanan’s brother was the US Attorney for Western Pennsylvania.

President John F. Kennedy’s brother was appointed Attorney General.

Then there is the big one. President William Howard Taft actually, later, became the tenth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

As you will learn in GAME OF THORNS, Donald Trump is close to his family members, that’s why his mind turned to them on the night he was declared the President –Elect.

“Truly, great people,” Trump told the nation, “I’ve got a great family.”

 


Not so fast: Trump may still need Rubio to win.

March 14, 2016

3-14-2016

Anything may happen but as of this moment Donald Trump is headed to victory in Florida tomorrow night and that will go a long way in clinching his position as the Republican nominee for president. It will crush Senator Marco Rubio who will have been beaten in his own home state.

But not so fast. In a curious way it might make both men more dependent on each other than ever before.

There is a general assumption that what Trump has done to win the nomination has diminished his chances of winning the general election. Obviously, Mr. Trump will have to revisit Women, Hispanics, Blacks and any other alienated constituencies. The general consensus is that Trump will need a woman on the ticket, as his vice presidential nominee, or else a whole lot of potential Trump voters will sit at home. And his choice would most likely be South Carolina governor, Nikki Haley. But there are some compelling reasons behind a Trump-Rubio ticket as well.

Rubio? Who can’t even carry his home state? The reasons are complicated.

In 1960 the Democratic Party found itself in a similar dilemma. They had started the political season with an army of potential nominees.  One by one they were eliminated. The first to drop out was  Illinois Senator Adlai Stevenson, the party elder statesman. He had already run twice and lost. The early front runner, Senator Estes Kefauver, of Tennessee was next to go. And then the so called “Happy Warrior” Minnesota Senator, Hubert Humphrey, who lost the West Virginia Primary to young Senator John Kennedy of Massachusetts.

Toward the end of the nominating season the numbers had been reduced to three serious contenders. Senator Kennedy, Senator Stuart Symington of Missouri and Senator Lyndon Johnson of Texas. Johnson was considered by many as the most experienced and the most likely to win against a Republican in the general election.

Kennedy won the nomination but the party was deeply fractured.

The Johnson campaign workers were especially bitter toward Kennedy, an upstart, son of a millionaire, who was a Catholic. No Catholic had ever been elected president.

Kennedy wisely divined that he needed Lyndon Johnson as his vice presidential running mate. His own supporters were furious. And Johnson’s supporters were apoplectic. In the end it took the strength of will of both men, individually, to pull it off.

Johnson knew that Kennedy  would not win without him. But Johnson humbled himself and accepted the second spot on the ticket and eventually both Kennedy and Johnson became U.S. presidents. Even politics can be a game of inches.

Notwithstanding Marco Rubio’s failure to win his own state of Florida, it is still very possible that Donald Trump will not win a general election without his support. It is less an issue of region and home state as it is demographics.

Trump has offended Hispanics and Rubio is Hispanic.

Trump is a Presbyterian who needs a Catholic on the ticket. Rubio is Catholic.

Trump has been publicly opposed by Mitt Romney, who is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. They are key to carrying the Mountain States, including swing states such as New Mexico and Colorado. Rubio grew up as LDS and is a favorite of Romney.

Trump needs Florida to win. Although Trump is likely to beat Rubio in the Florida GOP primary tomorrow night, Rubio is a native of Florida and might make the difference if it comes down to Florida as it did in 2000.

And Trump needs to unite the Republican Party. No one has taken more abuse from Donald Trump than Marco Rubio. If Rubio can forgive Trump, then Cruz, Romney, Ryan and everybody else will have to fall into line.

Finally, if Senator Marco Rubio losses Florida Tuesday, he will need Donald Trump too. His future political career will depend on helping to heal the Republican Party. A successful nationwide campaign as the GOP vice presidential nominee will restore his relevancy.

In 1964 establishment Republicans badmouthed their own nominee, Barry Goldwater and he went down to defeat. But one GOP public figure stayed true and faithfully supported the nominee of his party. That man, Richard Nixon, won the nomination himself four years later and was elected president that same year.

Will Donald Trump make the offer? And would Senator Marco Rubio accept it if he did? That discussion is still months away. And at this moment it is as unlikely as it was for John F. Kennedy to take on Lyndon B. Johnson as his running mate.

(See this dated assessment from one year ago. Who knew that Trump would trump both Bush and Rubio?)

 


What’s with Rand Paul’s blue jeans?

February 2, 2015

Doug Wead on Neil Cavuto, February 2, 2015.


Presidents in the Movies

January 31, 2015

Each president is different.  In their own way, each has impacted the office.  What may be an accurate theatrical representation of one president will differ greatly from another and both may be right or wrong.  In recent years, the office has become forced into a more consistent template, this because of the demands of security and technology.

Almost any movie or tv portrayal of a president is flawed.  but some are more accurate than others.  West Wing had some accurate moments.  Although the constant rushing about – shuffling paper – and the extra large, movie set offices were far-fetched and distracting.  The open, team oriented president is also unlikely.  Presidents quickly become corrupted and become more private.  Because of the nature of the office, all of them become isolated.  This leads to moments like Katrina for George W. Bush and Paris for Obama.  These are moments when presidents lose touch with reality.
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Some movies are literally scripted by history.  Oliver Stone’s W used many historical events and real life conversations, with some very notable exceptions. (They had Karl Rove advising GWB back in the 80’s.  I never saw Karl or even heard of him back them and was with GWB almost every day.)  But even with accurate conversations the movie still managed to portray GWB as “the dummy” characterized by Saturday Night Live, which was inaccurate.  I guess you would call that art mimicking art. Ha.
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The movie Lincoln also stuck to real events recorded by history and like a good newspaper editor, they didn’t use a conversation unless confirmed by more than one source.  The exception were the private conversations between Abe and Mary, which only Mary gives us in her recollections.
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It was a great movie that was ruined by one stark, totally unnecessary, inaccurate scene at the very beginning.  Lincoln is sitting with soldiers, black and white and they are reciting back to him the Gettysburg Address.  I promise you that nothing like that ever happened.  It would be like someone reciting back to President Obama or Reagan a speech they had just given a few months before.  At that time in history, no one memorized the Gettysburg Address.  Lincoln, himself, could not have quoted his own Gettysburg Address, let alone soldiers in his army.
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Kevin Costner played in Roger Donaldson’s Thirteen Days.  He was a special assistant to the president. The portrayal  of this character was too confident, too relaxed, to glib in the president’s presence.  He was the hero, not JFK.  In fact, a presidential assistant is in constant danger of the machinations of other staffers.  If he was anything other than servile and deferential to the president he would be gone fast.
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 Movie producers almost always underestimate the power of the president’s celebrity.  No one but the president can be the center of attention.  He dominates the room.  Every room.  And almost every conversation.
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Depictions of the sycophants around the president are almost always poorly done.  They are subtle and accomplished beyond anything one sees in the office or the corporate world.
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The most accurate theatrical moments, to me, have been in the House of Cards because they have captured the art of politics at work.  I have literally put the show on pause and told my children stories from real life that mimic exactly what is going on. The only thing that is different from real life, is that all of the players, not just Frank and Claire Underwood, can likewise be manipulative. (And, of course, presidents don’t personally commit murder.)  Picture the White House with 100 Frank and Claire Underwoods on staff and you get a little idea of what life is like there.
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And in the House of Cards, the media is often seen as the victim when they are just as likely the predator as the politician.
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Presidents of the nation, like presidents of corporations, never have to say what they want or spell it out.  Although, comically, sometimes it happens like the governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, who was wiretapped speculating on the sale of appointing a new Senator.  The staff is competing to please them and anticipating what they want.  The president can grunt or groan or role his eyes or sometimes just remain silent and wait and his staff will figure out what he wants.  And sometimes they will do it without his knowledge to protect him.  And they will all use lofty language, the good of the people, the nation comes first, etc.
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Power corrupts.
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Finally.  The best, recent, presidential movie, the most accurate from history, IMHO, is probably Hyde Park on the Hudson, starring Bill Murray.  It was a small but complicated piece of neglected history that I had been researching and it was done exceptionally well.  Historians, spoon fed from the FDR propaganda machine have usually portrayed him as sexually impotent. We now know better.
PostScript:  This blog was written before the third season of House of Cards in which the accuracy of life in the White House, especially the role of the Chief of Staff, was very much diminished.  It’s too bad.  That was a good part of its charm.  The theatrical appeal of the series is still somewhat compelling but the producers clearly decided to save some money by cutting much needed input from real live participants who have “been there and done that.”  The author of the original British series, who took great pains to get it right, was probably horrified.
Doug Wead presidential historian

Doug Wead

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Almost Presidents: Sons of presidents who almost won the White House themselves

September 26, 2012

Eight men who might have been president.

Everybody knows that there were two sons of presidents who became president themselves.  John Quincy Adams, son of our second president, John Adams, was elected the sixth president of the United States.  And George W. Bush, who was the son of  George Herbert Walker Bush, was elected the 43rd president.  But there were many others who thought about it and eight who either declared or were promoted for the position or were highly expected to run.

1.) Charles Francis Adams

Charles Francis Adams was the son and grandson of presidents and might have become one himself.  He was fluent in several languages, graduated from Harvard at age seventeen and was elected to the House of Representatives.    As Ambassador to the Court of St. James during the American Civil War he is credited with many for keeping England from supporting the Confederacy.

2.) John Van Buren

Many said he was a better lawyer, businessman and politician than his father.  But when “Prince John” as he was called, was elected to the House of Representatives he kept fighting his fathers old battles.

3.) Robert Todd Lincoln

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, his eldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln rose to prominence in America.  After graduating from law school, every major corporation looked to his services and many offered him positions on their board of directors.   Within decades he became one of the richest men in America and was a cabinet officer and an ambassador.  Heads of State who visited America, often stopped to call on Mr. Lincoln as well.  But many were concerned that his political rise was unhealthy.   At one point, no less than Joseph Pulitzer, himself, railed against the possible presidency of Mr. Lincoln “simply because he is the son of a president.”

4.) Jesse Grant

Jesse Grant, son of President Ulysses S. Grant, joined his mom and dad on their famous round the world trip during their retirement years.  Jesse fell in love with the lavish lifestyle foreign potentates showered on the son of a former head of state and succumbed to their flattery.  Failing to understand how American elections worked, and living in cultures where power rested in a few families, many foreign leaders anticipated that Jesse Grant, himself, would one day be an American president.  It all apparently went to Jesse’s head.  He eventually returned to America and announced he was running for president but the press and the public largely ignored him and his campaign fizzled.

5.) Theodore Roosevelt , Jr.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. was on the fast track to the presidency.  His father had been appointed Assistant Secretary of the Navy on his way to the White House, and so had his cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt.  So when TR, Jr. received the same appointment many expected the pattern to be repeated.  But fate did not comply.  Ted served as governor of Puerto Rico and the Philippines.  He was a hero in World War II but recent disclosures show a jealous FDR restricted his press coverage.  TR, Jr. was the only General to land with his own troops on the first wave, on the first day of the Normandy D Day invasion during World War Two.  He died shortly afterward and was awarded the Medal of Honor in absentia.

6.) Robert Taft

Senator Robert Taft, son of President William Howard Taft, is considered by many to have been one of the top five greatest lawmakers in American history.  He ran for president three times and very nearly won the Republican nomination in 1952.

7.) John Eisenhower

John Sheldon Doud Eisenhower, son of President Dwight Eisenhower,  is one of America’s greatest military historians.  He served as U. S. ambassador to Belgium in the Nixon administration. In the 1960’s, the Democratic National Committee commissioned a private poll which showed John Eisenhower as their most formidable Republican opponent for president, beating out both Barry Goldwater and Nelson Rockefeller but Eisenhower was not tempted.  He is in retirement and is the oldest living child of a president.

8.) John F. Kennedy, Jr.

Many observers believed that JFK, Jr., son of John F. Kennedy, had the best chance to retrace his father’s steps and win back the White House for a Kennedy family member.  Kennedy never traded on those expectations and wisely kept his own counsel about any political ambitions.  His sister made a brief appearance in public life, jockeying for appointment to the Senate.  It did not go well.  JFK, Jr. died in a plane crash in 1999.  He was 38 years old.
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Caroline Kennedy’s public moment