With the passing of John McCain earlier this year, and with the recent passing of President George H.W. Bush the public became aware of the accomplishments and the character of these men. John McCain could be a bit feisty but he treated others with respect. Even though he was held prisoner during the Vietnam conflict, he turned down the offered early release so those who had been there longer could go home.
Although they were staunch Republicans, there is no doubt that both McCain and President Bush were willing to work with Democrats for the good of their country. McCain and President Bush were pilots in war situations...McCain in Vietnam, and Bush in World War II. Both survived when their planes were shot down.
As the lives of these two unfolded, I found myself comparing them to the current president of the United States. President Donald Trump did not serve in the military. It seems that bone spurs in his heels kept him from being drafted. The draft was in place when Donald Trump was a young man, and most young men entered the military in times of conflict.
John McCain and George H.W. Bush have consistently been described as honourable men. McCain made his way to Washington while dealing with cancer so he could vote to assure the maintenance of health care for millions of people. President Bush made sure environmental policies were put in place to counteract greenhouse gases. Desert storm happened during his presidency, and Saddam Hussein was defeated.
The current Republican President has been a no-show at ceremonies to honour the military when it is raining. He has attempted to eliminate former President Obama's health care plan...with no plausible replacement in place. President Trump has also pulled the United States out of the Paris Accord...and has opened the gates to numerous environmentally harmful actions and industries. The Dakota Pipeline and the Keystone Pipeline are now being pushed forward.
Trump made many promises during his campaign. He promised more manufacturing jobs in the mid-west. GM has announced the closing of four Chevrolet plants in his country...with thousands now finding themselves out of a job. He also promised that middle class citizens would be getting a tax break. The middle class did get a very small temporary tax break which is eaten up by inflation. As it turned out it was the very wealthy corporations that benefited from a sizable permanent tax break...putting that country further in debt.
There was also a promise that he would “Drain the Swamp” in Washington. Ironically, he may have drained it somewhat...but not in the way he intended. During his presidency five swamp members have entered numerous guilty pleas to crimes. Michael Flynn confessed to questionable monies earned in Russia...and questionable contacts with Russia. George Papadopoulus and Rick Gates confessed their involvement early on – hoping for leniency. Michael Cohen has entered a guilty plea on eight counts, including paying out a good amount of campaign money to a porn star...and now he admits he lied when testifying to congress. Cohen indicates he did these things to protect Trump.
Paul Manafort was found guilty to eight counts by a jury regarding his wheeling and dealing. He then entered a guilty plea to additional charges to avoid a second trial – and promised that he would cooperate with Robert Mueller's office in their investigation into Trump's campaign. He apparently thought he could get around Mueller. It appears that Robert Mueller is much smarter and better informed than Manafort realized. Manafort has lost much of his ill-gained wealth. With the possibility of additional charges being brought he is looking at a lengthy prison sentence.
In addition, Roger Stone and Andrew Miller are currently being investigated by the FBI It is also probable that members of Trump's family might be receiving a bit of attention related to involvement in questionable activities. It seems that Trump is indeed draining the swamp. Just wondering...if he might be the final one swirling round and round...and out.
Shirley Hallee is a freelance writer living in Amherst. Her column appears weekly in the Amherst News.