Tags Posts tagged with "President-elect Donald Trump"

President-elect Donald Trump

Image by Mike Sheinkopf

By Rich Acritelli

“Your success is now our country’s success.”

George H.W. Bush (R) who lost a hotly contested election to Bill Clinton (D) in 1992, passed on this message to the incoming president. Bush lost a difficult campaign to Clinton, but wanted a smooth transition of power to the newly elected leader. Both men were opponents who were completely opposite from each other. Bush was a fighter pilot who flew off aircraft carriers in the Pacific during World War II, and Clinton was decisively against the United States involvement during the Vietnam War. Bush was a conservative president and vice president living in Texas who served under Ronald Reagan (R) for eight years, and Clinton was a liberal governor from Arkansas. While their political views often clashed, since both men left office, they have grown to become good friends. These one-time executive adversaries are immensely close, and Clinton now regards Bush’s wife, Barbara, as a second mother.

Little-known Vice President Harry S. Truman (D) from Missouri gained power after the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt (D) April 12, 1945. Right away Truman felt the immense burden of responsibility after learning about the tragic death of Roosevelt. When he asked the late president’s wife, Eleanor, what he could do to help her family, she asked, “Is there anything we can do for you? For you are the one in trouble now.”

Truman presided over the end of World War II, the start of the Cold War, a fledgling postwar economy, and a difficult re-election against New York Gov. Thomas Dewey (R). Although Truman is remembered as an extremely capable president, he had the difficulties of serving after the trusted four-term leadership of Roosevelt and before the “General of the Armies” Dwight D. Eisenhower (R).

During World War II, Eisenhower was rapidly promoted and given an immense amount of authority by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Marshall, a highly regarded officer who became the architect of victory against Hitler in Europe. Outside of attaining a stellar record in the Army, Eisenhower’s only key blemish was his World War II affair with his driver Kay Summersby. After the war, he approached Marshall about the desire to divorce his wife and bring back his love interest to the U.S. Marshall took a heavy interest within Eisenhower’s career and he was seen as a second father to the future president. When the disciplinarian-minded Marshall learned that Eisenhower wanted to send for Summersby, he told his subordinate that he would run him “out of the Army” and make it impossible for him ever to “draw a peaceful breath.”

Marshall later wrote a scathing report about Eisenhower’s infidelities that was destroyed by Truman before he left office. Although Eisenhower and Truman did not have a warm relationship, Eisenhower stressed to Truman he could not believe how relentless the media was about his relationship with Summersby. Truman bluntly responded that if these were the only attacks against him by reporters, Eisenhower was immensely fortunate. Before he left office, Truman told the new leader he did not shred Marshall’s letter about Summersby to personally protect Eisenhower. His outgoing priority was to preserve the honor of the executive branch and its new leader, President-elect Eisenhower.

Currently, some of the cabinet nominations of President-elect Donald Trump (R) are facing scrutiny by Congress. Many previous presidents have endured political obstacles during this process. Clinton found it a chore to fulfill the attorney general position, as the first two candidates withdrew from being considered. George H.W. Bush watched as John Tower, his pick for secretary of defense in 1989 was not approved for the job. Personal allegations apart, the U.S. Senate did not like Tower’s connections to the national defense industry because they said it was a conflict of interest that could not be overlooked. It was the first time in 30 years the Senate refused to confirm a presidential cabinet appointment.

In 1980, Reagan faced scrutiny over Jackie Presser, later president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who was believed to have ties to organized crime. Presser was a labor adviser to Reagan’s transitional team, and the Democrats were outraged by possible connections of corruption. The choice of Jimmy Carter (D) for the Central Intelligence Agency, Theodore Sorensen, withdrew his own name in 1977 due to the onslaught of resentment waged against the former World War II conscientious objector. Many members of the intelligence and military communities were concerned that he was too much of an outsider who wanted to reform the CIA’s overall mission of gathering vital information during the height of the Cold War.

Historically speaking, the time between the election and inauguration, a period of uncertainty, has impacted every leader since the days of George Washington. These triumphs and failures are realistic issues that must be accepted by our leaders before they enter the Oval Office. This will be no different for Trump when he is sworn in Friday in front of the nation by Chief Justice John Roberts during an inauguration that will be watched by the world.

Rich Acritelli is a social studies teacher at Rocky Point High School and an adjunct professor of American history at Suffolk County Community College. Research for this story was contributed by the Rocky Point High School History Honor Society.

Shay O’Reilly, an organizer with the Sierra Club, speaks during the protest. Photo by Kevin Redding

By Kevin Redding

In the wake of the decision of President-elect Donald Trump (R) to nominate ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, along with climate-change doubters to top federal positions, Long Island residents and economy activist groups called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to #TakeTrumpOn and fight against the climate-change denial of the incoming administration.

Holding up signs reading “NY Renews” and “Make NY A Climate Leader,” the group of protesters rallied in front of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Office in Hauppauge Dec. 21, urging Cuomo to move the state and country forward and pass the Climate and Community Protection Act in his upcoming 2017 state budget.

The act would attempt to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change through a combination of measures aimed at reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions and improving the state’s resiliency against future extreme weather events, like Hurricane Sandy.

Long Island Progressive Coalition member K.C. Alvey said, at the protest, that climate change needs to be acknowledged.

“Climate change is real, it’s urgent, and our communities are already being impacted by climate disasters,” she said. “We need to be dealing with this now and rapidly transitioning to a clean-energy economy that works for all of us.”

“If you don’t believe there’s global warming, just wait until the next full moon high tide and try to drive along the South Shore of Long Island. You can’t do it. It’s flooded.”

— Jack Finkenberg

Alvey said Cuomo has expressed his support for many of these environmental policies. In August, the governor announced the approval of New York’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030, with a phase-in schedule throughout the next several years.

“We need him to codify this into law and move these plans forward,” Alvey said. “We’re not just calling for clean energy by any means necessary … we’re calling for a just and equitable transition to 100 percent clean energy and making sure that no one is left behind.”

During the course of his campaign and since winning the election, Trump has voiced his skepticism of the scientific view that humans cause global warming.

The president-elect has tweeted out “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese” in order to topple the United States in manufacturing, and he has expressed interest in canceling the Paris climate accord and undoing clean air and water protections. This potential action has caused distress among scientists and climate activists.

Shay O’Reilly, an organizer with the not-for-profit Sierra Club, called the Trump administration “a set of billionaires who seek to further enrich themselves and defend what they have already accumulated by reinforcing our present reliance on fossil fuels.”

O’Reilly said the new cabinet and their beliefs threaten the immediate survival of marginalized colonies from New York to the South Pacific, but especially Long Island — a uniquely vulnerable location to climate change, with so much coastline.

O’Reilly said what’s done in New York can affect the rest of the country and the world, should it be decided to pass the legislation.

“State action on climate change is not just a political necessity, but a moral imperative,” O’Reilly said. “Cuomo needs to lead the way and listen to the people of New York.”

Jack Finkenberg, from the New York Communities for Change coalition, said there are real examples of global warming all over the world.

“If you don’t believe there’s global warming, just wait until the next full moon high tide and try to drive along the South Shore of Long Island,” he said. “You can’t do it. It’s flooded. We need to protect our communities, healthwise, with the rising rates of skin cancer and respiratory disease. Global warming is a serious thing and it’s got to stop.”

Alvey ended the protest by leading the group in a call-and-response chant.

“What do we want?” she yelled. “Renewable energy,” the protesters shouted back.

“When do we want it?” she asked. “Now,” they answered.