Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday December 19, 2019
‘Historic rebuke’: what the US papers say about Trump’s impeachment
There was not much debate on the top story in the US on Thursday morning, with the two votes to impeach Donald Trump getting near universal coverage.
“Trump impeached” is the headline in one of the president’s least favourite papers, the Washington Post. It devotes its entire front page to coverage, under a picture of speaker Nancy Pelosi. One headline reads: “An impeachment that mirrors his presidency: Disruption and division”. Alongside a picture of the president at the rally he hosted at the same time as the House vote, the Post runs the headline: “Unclear path to a virtually certain Senate acquittal”.
On Twitter the paper also posted its front pages for Clinton’s impeachment (1998) and that of Andrew Johnson (1868).
The New York Times carries exactly the same headline (“Trump impeached”), saying after “fierce arguments, House approves a charge that he abused power”.
The paper’s editorial says Republicans are “following him (Trump) down” and that “ignoring facts and trashing the impeachment process is no way to protect democracy”. It says there is plenty of blame to go around, “but the nihilism of this moment – the trashing of constitutional safeguards, the scorn for facts, the embrace of corruption, the indifference to historical precedent and to foreign interference in American politics — is due principally to cowardice and opportunism on the part of Republican leaders who have chosen to reject their party’s past standards and positions and instead follow Donald Trump, all the way down.”
USA Today splashes with one word: “Impeached”, and says the Clinton impeachment is a “study in contrasts”. The paper’s editorial headline is: “Donald Trump’s impeachment defenders set a dangerous precedent”.
“The Republicans have engaged in a whole pattern of behavior that will undermine Congress’ ability to serve as a check on presidential overreach,” it writes, adding that the Senate jurors like Lindsay Graham, who has said he will not pretend to be fair in the impeachment trial “are colluding with the defense lawyers to help ensure a favorable outcome at trial”.
Politico magazine’s front cover also has a one-word headline: “Impeached”, over a picture of Trump. It says the house has delivered a “historic rebuke” and describes Trump’s conduct as “A bruised ego, a Twitter eruption and a winding rally”.
The paper reports that although the White House was keen to suggest this was just a normal day for the president, and that Trump was “busy working and only ‘between meetings’ catching snippets of the action on the House floor, his Twitter feed belied that claim and showed a president obsessed with the historic nature of this day.”
Politico said that through four dozen tweets and retweets, “Trump did not shy away from weighing in on his favorite medium. “SUCH ATROCIOUS LIES BY THE RADICAL LEFT, DO NOTHING DEMOCRATS. THIS IS AN ASSAULT ON AMERICA, AND AN ASSAULT ON THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!!, he tweeted around lunchtime Wednesday.” (The Guardian) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/19/historic-rebuke-what-the-us-papers-say-about-trumps-impeachment
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday March 26, 2019
Trump breaks silence on Mueller report, claims vindication
President Donald Trump claimed vindication after nearly two years of unrelenting investigation on Sunday, seeing “complete and total exoneration” in the Justice Department’s account of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings and signalling he was eager to go on offence in the political fight ahead.
A buoyant Trump reacted to the release of Mueller chief findings with a mix of celebration, personal grievance and calls for political retribution. He cast the investigation as politically motivated, and bemoaned the probe’s toll on the country — and on him.
“It was just announced there was no collusion with Russia.” Trump said in brief remarks to reporters. “It’s a shame that our country had to go through this. To be honest it’s a shame that your president has had to go through this.”
Trump spoke shortly after the Justice Department released a letter saying special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence that Trump’s campaign “conspired or co-ordinated” with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.
The four-page summary by Attorney General William Barr was less definitive on the question of whether Trump obstructed the probe. Mueller’s report “does not exonerate” on that issue and instead “sets out evidence on both sides of the question, ” Barr wrote. Barr, however, said he found insufficient evidence of a crime on the issue.
Trump and his aides did not let that distinction — between Mueller’s findings and Barr’s determination — prevent them from declaring victory. Trump, speaking to reporters before boarding Air Force One, was clear he was ready to fight back against Democrats who have said they intend to use Mueller’s report as a road map for further investigation into Trump and his inner circle.
“This was an illegal takedown that failed,” he said, repeating his unproven claims that the investigation was launched by people trying to undermine his presidency after being devastated by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s loss.
Trump’s victory lap came after he kept a low profile over the weekend at his private club in Palm Beach, Florida. White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said Trump was briefed on Barr’s letter in his residence by staff and attorneys. Gidley said Trump reaction was brief. “This is very good,” he said, according to Gidley.
The White House, like lawmakers on Capitol Hill, has yet to see the full account by the special counsel. (Source: CTV News)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday February 6, 2019
Knuckling under pressure to the U.S. won’t win battle of steel tariffs
What was Ontario’s economic development and trade minister thinking when he publicly called on Canada to surrender in the trade war with the United States?
On Monday Todd Smith said Canada should remove tariffs put in place in response to Donald Trump’s imposition of 25 per cent tariffs on steel imports and 10 per cent on aluminum. Canada’s tariffs match those dollar for dollar, and are used in part to support companies and workers in the affected sectors.
Further, Smith said his boss, Doug Ford, wanted the same thing. “I know that the premier has suggested this to the federal government that they should remove their tariffs as a first step in removing tariffs overall.” As far as we know Ford hasn’t spoken on the matter, but if that’s how he feels, he should go public.
Why on earth would anyone, Ford or his minister, believe that Donald Trump would respect capitulation? Has Trump shown in past behaviour that he respects weakness? We must have missed that newscast.
Smith’s suggestion is so patently ridiculous it took only hours for steel and aluminum companies to pipe in with their support for Ottawa. A tweet from the Canadian Steel Producers Association, said: “The federal government’s retaliatory action against the U.S.A. is vital in protecting businesses and steelworkers.” The Aluminum Association of Canada said the Trudeau government should “maintain all tariffs on U.S. imports and support Canadian businesses as long as U.S. tariffs are in place.”
Analysts and pundits from all quarters were equally mystified and distraught. Why would the Ford government side with Trump against Canada? More than one suggested it might be linked to Ford’s oft-expressed respect and affection for Trump’s leadership. But suggesting Canada should surrender?
It turns out, if you believe the updated position of the province, that wasn’t behind Smith’s play. He really meant to say we should revisit tariffs on things other than steel and aluminum, like Kentucky bourbon and playing cards. That, he says, will demonstrate to Trump that Canada is willing to deal. This new position — if it can be called that — isn’t nearly as damaging, but it’s equally stupid. Do Smith and his boss really think Trump will come to the table based on bourbon and playing cards?
He won’t. He thinks his tariffs, broadly, have been a huge success and a sign of his historic greatness. Yes, they’re hurting Americans as they’re hurting Canadians, but Trump isn’t one to worry about his own citizens welfare. In his view, measures like these are signs of strength and dominance.
Tariffs are a real and growing problem for steel and aluminum companies. High steel prices have cushioned steel producers to some extent, but the impact of tariffs is already being felt in Sault St. Marie, and will eventually hit Hamilton as well.
Canada continues to work trade and diplomatic channels to see tariffs lifted. Some have suggested the prime minister shouldn’t give final approval to the new NAFTA agreement without resolution, and that might be worth considering. Trump sees NAFTA as a major accomplishment, and the fact that it might be stymied due to his nonsensical tariffs will trouble him. His own Congress has said it won’t support the new trade pact until tariffs have been lifted, and that might be worth Ottawa’s consideration, too. Much more work remains to be done.
But please, no more suggestions that Canada take a knee to the biggest bully in the free world. That’s embarrassing, and would only make dealing with Trump more difficult. The Trudeau government has walked a fine line to date between working with Trump and not being pushed around. That should continue to be its strategy. (Source: Hamilton Spectator Editorial)
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 20, 2017
President Trump’s Twitter plans: Tweet as usual
President-elect Donald Trump is well on his way to be an entirely new kind of “Tweeter in Chief,” with no plans to cut back on his frequent use of Twitter despite the disapproval of the majority of Americans and a range of security risks.
He’s tweeting despite the fact that this week a new NBC/WSJ poll reported that 69 percent of Americans believe Trump’s Twitter habits are a “bad thing” and want him to cut back. Just 26 percent of respondents said Trump’s use of Twitter is good, agreeing with the statement that “it allows a president to directly communicate to people immediately.” It’s no surprise that Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove of Trump’s tweets — just 8 percent say it’s good. And Republicans are divided, with 47 percent calling his tweets a bad idea.
Though Trump will inherit the @POTUS handle President Barack Obama established in May 2015, along with its 13.2 million followers, Trump won’t give up his personal account, which has 20.3 million followers, and plans to keep tweeting from it. The Obama administration’s “digital transition” team will wipe the timelines clean of @POTUS accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and will archive all that content. (Source: CNBC)