Tammy Bruce: Romney’s Trump attack rings especially hollow when you look at his treatment of Ric Grenell

Fox News article

Tammy Bruce, Jan 3, 2019

It’s been a couple of days since now-Senator Mitt Romney’s petty and divisive Washington Post op-ed smearing President Trump. The failed 2012 presidential candidate also made his feelings known about him in March of 2016 when he gave a speech condemning, again, the character of then-candidate Trump.

In that earlier screed, he also predicted that Trump’s economic ideas would be a disaster for the country, and would “lead entrepreneurs and businesses of all stripes to flee America.” That prediction, like all the rest of his enraged pearl-clutching that night, didn’t age well.

In the aftermath of that 2016 attempted knee-capping of candidate Trump, I was especially struck by Romney’s ostentatious moral preening. This week he returned, standing upon his same well-tended molehill of superiority to again point at and accuse the president of, sigh, being a bad, bad man.

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But Romney’s effort casting himself as the arbiter of character rings hollow for some who worked on, or were involved with, the Romney 2012 campaign for the presidency.

Over the years, our current Ambassador to Germany and former Fox News contributor, Richard Grenell, and I became friends. Everyone was very excited when Romney, having won the GOP nomination in 2012, chose Ric to be his national security spokesman for the campaign. As the New York Times put it at the time, “Mr. Grenell, a 45-year-old with a sharp wit, had joined the Romney campaign in April with sterling recommendations from Bush-era foreign policy figures, and an impressive résumé.  He had served as a United States spokesman at the United Nations under four ambassadors during the Bush administration…”

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Choosing Ric as his campaign national security spokesman was a natural and inspired choice. But when character mattered, Romney choked.

While the following details have been presumed by many and written about by some, they have never been confirmed by Ric, who has a policy to never speak publicly about those for whom he has worked. Over the years, however, he has spoken to me about the details of his time on the campaign. But now, as Romney struts in with his smug rehab as the nation’s moral arbiter, a more complete picture of the politician is warranted.

After just three weeks with the Romney campaign, Ric resigned. There has been speculation about what exactly led to his departure. The fact of the matter is he was pushed out after Mr. Romney failed both a character and moral test: to stand up for someone he hired who was being attacked for being gay.

But it wasn’t just refusing to stand up for someone he knew was the best person for the job. The Romney campaign responded to the criticism by asking Ric to stay quiet and not speak publicly about anything. The character-filled Romney was asking the gay man to go hide in the closet.

The last straw was when the Romney campaign told Ric to pretend he wasn’t present during a conference call he arranged. In the aftermath, the New York Times reported of the bizarre scene, “It was the biggest moment yet for Mitt Romney’s foreign policy team: a conference call last Thursday, dialed into by dozens of news outlets from around the globe, to dissect and denounce President Obama’s record on national security,” reported the newspaper in May 2012, “But Richard Grenell, the political strategist who helped organize the call and was specifically hired to oversee such communications, was conspicuously absent, or so everyone thought…”

Ric, in fact, was present and listened as reporters asked if he would be joining the call and wondering why he wasn’t there. The message was clear. He was facing a deliberately untenable situation, which would appall any serious person. He consulted with mentors and then resigned from the campaign.

He also made the decision to never say a bad word publicly about Mr. Romney. Ric even wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal endorsing Romney over Barack Obama, because it was the right thing to do.

Did Romney recognize Ric’s display of character over the years in how he handled that debacle? Likely not.

Due to Romney’s failure to defeat Mr. Obama, Ric had to wait four more years before the nation had a candidate and then president with the character to not just recognize Ric’s talent but stand by him. Ric is now our Ambassador to Germany because President Trump made sure a passive-aggressive senate confirmed his nomination.

Mr. Romney says he doesn’t like what Mr. Trump stands for. But perhaps the fact that Mr. Trump actually stands for something is what really outrages the also-ran.

In 2012, Mr. Romney’s communications strategist was asked how the candidate’s message would change now that they were headed into the general election. The answer revealed just how vapid, or dare I say, devoid of character, Romney really was.

From the March, 21, 2012 edition of the New York Times, “Mr. Fehrnstrom on Wednesday reached for a word to describe how Mr. Romney might pivot to the general election, the one that came tumbling from his mouth was ‘Etch A Sketch,’ the children’s drawing toy in which nothing is ever permanent,” reported the newspaper. “’Everything changes,’ Mr. Fehrnstrom, 50, said on CNN, with a slight smirk that suggested he believed he was about to use a clever line. ‘It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.’”

President Trump’s personal mistakes have been the subject of non-stop public investigation, commentary and debate every single day, every hour, every minute, for years. We know the man, we know what he’s done, and most of all, we know who he has become.

Donald Trump, and his entire family, left comfortable lives, where their days were not filled with death threats, invective, lies, anthrax hoax letters, harassment on airplanes, in restaurants, mocking by the liberal media, accusations of being traitors, Nazis, and targeted by a weaponized federal government with the intention of nullifying his electoral success.

Yes, he became president, and family members have joined him, in working to deliver promises made on a campaign trail to bring back jobs, the economy, border security, the rule of law, and national security to this nation. In other words, he promised to bring back the future for American families.

President Trump’s promises and conversations with the American people during the campaign and every day since aren’t written on an Etch A Sketch, and every day he pays the price for not being like Mitt Romney.

Tammy Bruce, president of Independent Women’s Voice, is a radio talk-show host, New York Times best-selling author and Fox News political contributor.

The Real Reason They Hate Trump

from Wall Street Journal

He’s the average American in exaggerated form—blunt, simple, willing to fight, mistrustful of intellectuals.


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President Donald Trump sits in the driver’s seat of a semi-truck in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2017. Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared.

The contrast with the Obama years must be painful for any honest leftist. For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.

This has happened before, in the 1980s and ’90s and early 2000s, but then the financial crisis arrived to save liberalism from certain destruction. Today leftists pray that Robert Mueller will put on his Superman outfit and save them again.

For now, though, the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful.

Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.

Mr. Trump lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton.

But my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it.

The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.

Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet. Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious. Mr. Trump is no genius, but if you have mastered the obvious and add common sense, you are nine-tenths of the way home. (Scholarship is fine, but the typical modern intellectual cheapens his learning with politics, and is proud to vary his teaching with broken-down left-wing junk.)

This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?

True, Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen. Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies. (Mr. Trump is improving in these two categories.) You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.

Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself. To turn away is fair. But to hate him from your heart is revealing. Many Americans were ashamed when Ronald Reagan was elected. A movie actor? But the new direction he chose for America was a big success on balance, and Reagan turned into a great president. Evidently this country was intended to be run by amateurs after all—by plain citizens, not only lawyers and bureaucrats.

Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve it—not such fancy-pants extras as network commentators, socialist high-school teachers and eminent professors, but the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.

Mr. Gelernter is computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC. His most recent book is “Tides of Mind.”

Appeared in the October 22, 2018, print edition.

 

The Real Reason They Hate Trump

He’s the average American in exaggerated form—blunt, simple, willing to fight, mistrustful of intellectuals.

ed-ay022_gelern_m_20181019163641

President Donald Trump sits in the driver’s seat of a semi-truck in Washington, D.C., March 23, 2017.Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Every big U.S. election is interesting, but the coming midterms are fascinating for a reason most commentators forget to mention: The Democrats have no issues. The economy is booming and America’s international position is strong. In foreign affairs, the U.S. has remembered in the nick of time what Machiavelli advised princes five centuries ago: Don’t seek to be loved, seek to be feared.

The contrast with the Obama years must be painful for any honest leftist. For future generations, the Kavanaugh fight will stand as a marker of the Democratic Party’s intellectual bankruptcy, the flashing red light on the dashboard that says “Empty.” The left is beaten.

This has happened before, in the 1980s and ’90s and early 2000s, but then the financial crisis arrived to save liberalism from certain destruction. Today leftists pray that Robert Mueller will put on his Superman outfit and save them again.

For now, though, the left’s only issue is “We hate Trump.” This is an instructive hatred, because what the left hates about Donald Trump is precisely what it hates about America. The implications are important, and painful.

Not that every leftist hates America. But the leftists I know do hate Mr. Trump’s vulgarity, his unwillingness to walk away from a fight, his bluntness, his certainty that America is exceptional, his mistrust of intellectuals, his love of simple ideas that work, and his refusal to believe that men and women are interchangeable. Worst of all, he has no ideology except getting the job done. His goals are to do the task before him, not be pushed around, and otherwise to enjoy life. In short, he is a typical American—except exaggerated, because he has no constraints to cramp his style except the ones he himself invents.

Mr. Trump lacks constraints because he is filthy rich and always has been and, unlike other rich men, he revels in wealth and feels no need to apologize—ever. He never learned to keep his real opinions to himself because he never had to. He never learned to be embarrassed that he is male, with ordinary male proclivities. Sometimes he has treated women disgracefully, for which Americans, left and right, are ashamed of him—as they are of JFK and Bill Clinton.

But my job as a voter is to choose the candidate who will do best for America. I am sorry about the coarseness of the unconstrained average American that Mr. Trump conveys. That coarseness is unpresidential and makes us look bad to other nations. On the other hand, many of his opponents worry too much about what other people think. I would love the esteem of France, Germany and Japan. But I don’t find myself losing sleep over it.

The difference between citizens who hate Mr. Trump and those who can live with him—whether they love or merely tolerate him—comes down to their views of the typical American: the farmer, factory hand, auto mechanic, machinist, teamster, shop owner, clerk, software engineer, infantryman, truck driver, housewife. The leftist intellectuals I know say they dislike such people insofar as they tend to be conservative Republicans.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama know their real sins. They know how appalling such people are, with their stupid guns and loathsome churches. They have no money or permanent grievances to make them interesting and no Twitter followers to speak of. They skip Davos every year and watch Fox News. Not even the very best has the dazzling brilliance of a Chuck Schumer, not to mention a Michelle Obama. In truth they are dumb as sheep.

Mr. Trump reminds us who the average American really is. Not the average male American, or the average white American. We know for sure that, come 2020, intellectuals will be dumbfounded at the number of women and blacks who will vote for Mr. Trump. He might be realigning the political map: plain average Americans of every type vs. fancy ones.

Many left-wing intellectuals are counting on technology to do away with the jobs that sustain all those old-fashioned truck-driver-type people, but they are laughably wide of the mark. It is impossible to transport food and clothing, or hug your wife or girl or child, or sit silently with your best friend, over the internet. Perhaps that’s obvious, but to be an intellectual means nothing is obvious. Mr. Trump is no genius, but if you have mastered the obvious and add common sense, you are nine-tenths of the way home. (Scholarship is fine, but the typical modern intellectual cheapens his learning with politics, and is proud to vary his teaching with broken-down left-wing junk.)

This all leads to an important question—one that will be dismissed indignantly today, but not by historians in the long run: Is it possible to hate Donald Trump but not the average American?

True, Mr. Trump is the unconstrained average citizen. Obviously you can hate some of his major characteristics—the infantile lack of self-control in his Twitter babble, his hitting back like a spiteful child bully—without hating the average American, who has no such tendencies. (Mr. Trump is improving in these two categories.) You might dislike the whole package. I wouldn’t choose him as a friend, nor would he choose me. But what I see on the left is often plain, unconditional hatred of which the hater—God forgive him—is proud. It’s discouraging, even disgusting. And it does mean, I believe, that the Trump-hater truly does hate the average American—male or female, black or white. Often he hates America, too.

Granted, Mr. Trump is a parody of the average American, not the thing itself. To turn away is fair. But to hate him from your heart is revealing. Many Americans were ashamed when Ronald Reagan was elected. A movie actor? But the new direction he chose for America was a big success on balance, and Reagan turned into a great president. Evidently this country was intended to be run by amateurs after all—by plain citizens, not only lawyers and bureaucrats.

Those who voted for Mr. Trump, and will vote for his candidates this November, worry about the nation, not its image. The president deserves our respect because Americans deserve it—not such fancy-pants extras as network commentators, socialist high-school teachers and eminent professors, but the basic human stuff that has made America great, and is making us greater all the time.

Mr. Gelernter is computer science professor at Yale and chief scientist at Dittach LLC. His most recent book is “Tides of Mind.”

Appeared in the October 22, 2018, print edition.