President Donald Trump gave an interview by phone to Fox & Friends Thursday morning, and, in true Trumpian style, he had a lot to say on several subjects currently dominating the news cycle. While the hosts of the show struggled, with patience and good humor, to get a word in, the president pulled few punches as he opined on his nominee to run the Veteran’s Administration (V.A.) and former FBI Director James Comey’s media circus.
Current White House physician Ronny Jackson was tapped to run the massive bureaucracy that has failed so dismally to meet the needs of military veterans. Although Jackson was physician to Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama – the latter writing glowing reports of the Rear Admiral’s character and performance – he was assailed with a barrage of anonymous allegations the moment his name became associated with the V.A.
Ronny Jackson Versus the Politics of Personal Destruction
Not wishing to subject himself to the unwarranted hostility of Senate Democrats, Jackson quickly withdrew his name from consideration. In doing so, he released a statement denying the allegations of misconduct. He pointed out, in the statement, that he would never have been entrusted to serve as the personal physician for three presidents if such accusations against him were accurate. Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana has detailed the claims made about Jackson but has yet to provide a shred of evidence to corroborate them or identify any of the alleged accusers.
The president did not fail to note that Tester is up for re-election in November. “I want to tell you,” he said, “that Jon Tester…I think this is going to cause him a lot of problems in his state.”
It would now seem incumbent on the Senator to produce evidence of the allegations he made against Jackson. Should he fail to justify his attempts to destroy the career and character of a highly-respected naval officer and former combat medic, Tester will certainly find himself in the president’s crosshairs when the midterm election campaigns begin in earnest. Trump had more to say on the subject:
“For him [Tester] to be doing this to this man and this family, I think Jon Tester has to have a big price to pay in Montana because I don’t think people in Montana…the Admiral is the kind of person that they respect and admire and they don’t like seeing what’s happened to him.”
Trump Ups the Ante Against Comey
James Comey wasn’t spared the president’s attention, either. Describing Comey, once again, as a leaker and a liar, Trump was fired up after having watched the former FBI chief’s appearance on CNN Wednesday evening. For the first time, the president accused Comey of not truthfully recounting, in his now-famous memos, the substance of conversations between the two men. “They’re phony memos,” Trump said, “He didn’t write those memos accurately. He put a lot of phony stuff…” Going even further, Trump said of Comey “He is guilty of crimes,” he said, referring to Comey’s leaking of his memos, which contained classified information. “And if we had a Justice Department that was doing their job…” Trump continued, before being interrupted by one of the hosts, concerned about time constraints. After a moment, the president pointed out that he had decided, for now, that he “would not be involved” with the Justice Department.
As his Twitter feed indicates, Trump is an early riser and he always seems to be particularly fired up in the mornings. This was obvious in his interview with Fox News, but it is also becoming more apparent that the president is rapidly losing patience with the obstructionist tactics of the Democrats, with the special counsel investigation, and with the Justice Department’s handling of several ongoing affairs that continue to distract from the work that needs to be done.
All of this, of course, adds even more significance to the November elections. It seems very likely that if the Republicans manage to retain control of both houses of Congress, the president will see it as a vindication of his policies and a mandate to move against those who continue to work to bring him down.