Our ninth president, William Henry Harrison (1773-1841), was in office for only 31 days. The last American president to be born a British subject, he succumbed to complications from pneumonia. He was the governor of Indiana Territory and gained fame as the military leader who defeated Tecumseh in 1811 in the Battle of Tippecanoe. He was succeeded by his Vice President, Virginian John Tyler, a strong proponent of Manifest Destiny — an early version of what is now called America First.
Donald Trump likes to play golf at his extravagant, posh private club, Mar-A-Lago Estates, in Palm Beach. Trump’s constant goals in life have been: First, the pursuit of The Almighty Dollar; Second, chasing beautiful women; Third, aggrandizing his puny self-esteem by humiliating people who get in his way.
Before Barack Obama gave the keys to the White House to a man whose primary driving ambitions in life have always been the pursuit of those goals, many cardiologists and other medical specialists speculated that Mr. Trump, because of his fiery nature, megalomania, immaturity, and age (70), might hold the White House for less time than William Henry Harrison.
Yesterday, after several meetings at Mar-A-Lago, Trump picked General H.R. McMaster to succeed leading Islamophobe Michael Flynn as his National Security Advisor. This caused associate solitary reporter Johanna Jones to pose an important question: Can McMaster master Trump, especially given the fact that Trump has followed the doctrine of Manifest Destiny into his constant blathering about “America First"?
Part of the answer was provided this morning by Congressman Adam Schiff (D.-Cal.), who is an influential voice for the Democratic Party (the only political party in the United States that has any sense at all) on foreign policy and national security issues. He is the Ranking Member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He was interviewed this morning about McMaster on NPR. Schiff represents Hollywood, which is getting ready to award the film Loving Best Picture on Sunday at the Oscars at the insistence of associate solitary reporter Shawnee Sherman.
Loving was not nominated for Best Picture (which is why Sherman insisted that it receive Hollywood’s top award), but Ruth Negga, a brilliant Ethiopian-Irish actress, was nominated for Best Actress In A Leading Role for her portrayal of Mildred Loving in Loving. In the film, she plays Mildred Loving, an African American woman who married Richard Loving, a white man, in 1958, in the District of Columbia. They were living at the time of their marriage in Caroline County, Virginia, in the heart of Jim Crow South, and were sentenced to a year in prison because she was black and he was white. The Supreme Court decision invalidating Virginia’s anti-miscenigaiton law is reported at 388 U.S. 1 (1967).
McMaster was Trump’s third choice for National Security Advisor after retired Vice Admiral and former Navy SEAL Robert Harward was offered the job by the mega-billionaire and Trump’s brain, chief strategist Steve Bannon, who inappropriately has been given a permanent seat on the National Security Council by Trump. According to numerous news reports, Harward turned Trump down because he knew he wouldn’t be allowed to select his own staff.
As Congressman Schiff explained to NPR’s Tom Bowman this morning, General McMaster doesn’t suffer fools gladly, so the odds are that McMaster just might be able to prevent World War III if Trump, the biggest fool ever to walk into the White House as president, will listen to him instead of to the race-baiting Bannon as soon as the inevitable foreign policy crisis involving nuclear weapons appears. That might be any day now.