Editorial New York Times

Can President Trump Be Presidential? Editorial/THE NEW YORK TIMES

NEW YORK TIMESEditorial, 20 enero 2017 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

A special strength of American democracy has been the desire of newly elected presidents to unite the public with healing words after the sound and fury of the campaign.

Now comes President-elect Donald Trump. He has won the office and yet has continued his vindictive, disruptive style of politicking. He has run a post-campaign that has corroded the traditional grace period of considerate political transition that the nation needs. The hope of citizens for a better future, for a sense of uplift, has wound up hostage to his impetuous Twitter attacks on individuals, institutions and nations.

Fellow Republicans like Senator John McCain openly wonder whether Mr. Trump’s chief obsession is to “engage with every windmill that he can find,” rather than to focus on “the most important position on earth.”

This is the question haunting Mr. Trump’s inauguration on Friday. Is he up to the job of uniting and leading the nation — of achieving and sustaining the tone that Americans for generations have called presidential? Or will self-absorption and free-flowing peevishness be the hallmarks of an era of domestic and global crises, stirred up by grossly uninformed perceptions of reality?

Poll numbers suggest that the public already has lost heart during the transition, rating Mr. Trump the least popular president-elect of modern times. Mr. Trump, of course, reacted with a fresh Twitter attack that the polls were “rigged.” Sad, as he likes to say, that he did not realize that the nation, and his standing, would be better served by a hint of humility and resolve to win over all Americans. Instead we had more “Trump Lashes Out …” headlines.

The contrast with President Obama’s incumbency and personal demeanor could not be more vivid or less encouraging. Mr. Trump’s first news conference as president-elect, just last week, was a clinic in bombast and self-aggrandizement, punctuated by denials of the need to make his tax returns public or to curtail business interests that could invite corruption. His breathtaking ignorance about health care and the Affordable Care Act made him seem clueless about just how he imagines replacing it.

Mr. Obama’s final news conference this week was a study in the sort of intelligent public speaking on complex issues that has characterized his eight years of scandal-free governance. It was leavened with a bit of self-deprecation, as Mr. Obama referred to “No-Drama Obama” in noting his own optimism, as if mindful of the years of melodramatics that might follow.

Americans who voted for Mr. Trump, as well as those who voted against him, surely must see that few incoming presidents have been in greater need of an informed cabinet and experienced public officials. Yet his cabinet choices have largely been ideologues and plutocrats who may or may not carry out Mr. Trump’s contradictory campaign promises.

This is not the first time that “transition” has seemed too gentle a word for a startling if not shocking swerve in public policy and presidential style. A youthful John F. Kennedy succeeded the aged Dwight Eisenhower; the rock-ribbed conservative Ronald Reagan followed the liberal Jimmy Carter. Barack Obama came on the heels of George W. Bush, who himself followed Bill Clinton. Each of these presidents came into office with passionate opponents who worried for the future of the nation.

Yet each president also seemed awed by the responsibilities of the office, and each seemed to grasp what the country needed. “Our unity, our union, is a serious work of leaders and citizens and every generation,” Mr. Bush declared at his first inaugural, after, like Mr. Trump, losing the popular vote but winning in the Electoral College. “And this is my solemn pledge: I will work to build a single nation of justice and opportunity.”

The campaign is over. The nation needs to hear Mr. Trump pick up this grand American theme and then find enough personal conviction to make it a central aspiration of his presidency.

Why Donald Trump Should Not Be President: NEW YORK TIMES/Editorial

El 24 de septiembre el New York Times publicó un editorial dando su apoyo a Hillay Clinton. Es una tradición de los grandes periódicos de Estados Unidos publicar recomendaciones en las elecciones importantes. El día siguiente, el New York Times publicó otro editorial expliando porque Trump no debe ser presidente de Estados Unidos.

Segunda Vuelta

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Donald Trump is a man who dwells in bigotry, bluster and false promises.

NEW YORK TIMESEditorial, 25 septiembre 2016 / NEW YORK TIMES

When Donald Trump began his improbable run for president 15 months ago, he offered his wealth and television celebrity as credentials, then slyly added a twist of fearmongering about Mexican “rapists” flooding across the Southern border.

From that moment of combustion, it became clear that Mr. Trump’s views were matters of dangerous impulse and cynical pandering rather than thoughtful politics. Yet he has attracted throngs of Americans who ascribe higher purpose to him than he has demonstrated in a freewheeling campaign marked by bursts of false and outrageous allegations, personal insults, xenophobic nationalism, unapologetic sexism and positions that shift according to his audience and his whims.

Now here stands Mr. Trump, feisty from his runaway Republican primary victories and ready for the first presidential debate, scheduled for Monday night, with Hillary Clinton. It is time for others who are still undecided, and perhaps hoping for some dramatic change in our politics and governance, to take a hard look and see Mr. Trump for who he is. They have an obligation to scrutinize his supposed virtues as a refreshing counterpolitician. Otherwise, they could face the consequences of handing the White House to a man far more consumed with himself than with the nation’s well-being.

A financial wizard who can bring executive magic to government?

Despite his towering properties, Mr. Trump has a record rife with bankruptcies and sketchy ventures like Trump University, which authorities are investigating after numerous complaints of fraud. His name has been chiseled off his failed casinos in Atlantic City.

Mr. Trump’s brazen refusal to disclose his tax returns — as Mrs. Clinton and other nominees for decades have done — should sharpen voter wariness of his business and charitable operations. Disclosure would undoubtedly raise numerous red flags; the public record already indicates that in at least some years he made full use of available loopholes and paid no taxes.

Mr. Trump has been opaque about his questionable global investments in Russia and elsewhere, which could present conflicts of interest as president, particularly if his business interests are left in the hands of his children, as he intends. Investigations have found self-dealing. He notably tapped $258,000 in donors’ money from his charitable foundation to settle lawsuits involving his for-profit businesses, according to The Washington Post.

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El editorial apoyando a Clinton

A straight talker who tells it like it is?

Mr. Trump, who has no experience in national security, declares that he has a plan to soundly defeat the Islamic State militants in Syria, but won’t reveal it, bobbing and weaving about whether he would commit ground troops. Voters cannot judge whether he has any idea what he’s talking about without an outline of his plan, yet Mr. Trump ludicrously insists he must not tip off the enemy.

Another of his cornerstone proposals — his campaign pledge of a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslim newcomers plus the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants across a border wall paid for by Mexico — has been subjected to endless qualifications as he zigs and zags in pursuit of middle-ground voters.

Whatever his gyrations, Mr. Trump always does make clear where his heart lies — with the anti-immigrant, nativist and racist signals that he scurrilously employed to build his base.

He used the shameful “birther” campaign against President Obama’s legitimacy as a wedge for his candidacy. But then he opportunistically denied his own record, trolling for undecided voters by conceding that Mr. Obama was a born American. In the process he tried to smear Mrs. Clinton as the instigator of the birther canard and then fled reporters’ questions.

Since his campaign began, NBC News has tabulated that Mr. Trump has made 117 distinct policy shifts on 20 major issues, including three contradictory views on abortion in one eight-hour stretch. As reporters try to pin down his contradictions, Mr. Trump has mocked them at his rallies. He said he would “loosen” libel laws to make it easier to sue news organizations that displease him.

An expert negotiator who can fix government and overpower other world leaders?

His plan for cutting the national debt was far from a confidence builder: He said he might try to persuade creditors to accept less than the government owed. This fanciful notion, imported from Mr. Trump’s debt-steeped real estate world, would undermine faith in the government and the stability of global financial markets. His tax-cut plan has been no less alarming. It was initially estimated to cost $10 trillion in tax revenue, then, after revisions, maybe $3 trillion, by one adviser’s estimate. There is no credible indication of how this would be paid for — only assurances that those in the upper brackets will be favored.

If Mr. Trump were to become president, his open doubts about the value of NATO would present a major diplomatic and security challenge, as would his repeated denunciations of trade deals and relations with China. Mr. Trump promises to renegotiate the Iran nuclear control agreement, as if it were an air-rights deal on Broadway. Numerous experts on national defense and international affairs have recoiled at the thought of his commanding the nuclear arsenal. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell privately called Mr. Trump “an international pariah.” Mr. Trump has repeatedly denounced global warming as a “hoax,” although a golf course he owns in Ireland is citing global warming in seeking to build a protective wall against a rising sea.

In expressing admiration for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, Mr. Trump implies acceptance of Mr. Putin’s dictatorial abuse of critics and dissenters, some of whom have turned up murdered, and Mr. Putin’s vicious crackdown on the press. Even worse was Mr. Trump’s urging Russia to meddle in the presidential campaign by hacking the email of former Secretary of State Clinton. Voters should consider what sort of deals Mr. Putin might obtain if Mr. Trump, his admirer, wins the White House.

A change agent for the nation and the world?

There can be little doubt of that. But voters should be asking themselves if Mr. Trump will deliver the kind of change they want. Starting a series of trade wars is a recipe for recession, not for new American jobs. Blowing a hole in the deficit by cutting taxes for the wealthy will not secure Americans’ financial future, and alienating our allies won’t protect our security. Mr. Trump has also said he will get rid of the new national health insurance system that millions now depend on, without saying how he would replace it.

The list goes on: He would scuttle the financial reforms and consumer protections born of the Great Recession. He would upend the Obama administration’s progress on the environment, vowing to “cancel the Paris climate agreement” on global warming. He would return to the use of waterboarding, a torture method, in violation of international treaty law. He has blithely called for reconsideration of Japan’s commitment not to develop nuclear weapons. He favors a national campaign of “stop and frisk” policing, which has been ruled unconstitutional. He has blessed the National Rifle Association’s ambition to arm citizens to engage in what he imagines would be defensive “shootouts” with gunmen. He has so coarsened our politics that he remains a contender for the presidency despite musing about his opponent as a gunshot target.

Voters should also consider Mr. Trump’s silence about areas of national life that are crying out for constructive change: How would he change our schools for the better? How would he lift more Americans out of poverty? How would his condescending appeal to black voters — a cynical signal to white moderates concerned about his racist supporters — translate into credible White House initiatives to promote racial progress? How would his call to monitor and even close some mosques affect the nation’s life and global reputation? Would his Supreme Court nominees be zealous, self-certain extensions of himself? In all these areas, Mrs. Clinton has offered constructive proposals. He has offered bluster, or nothing. The most specific domestic policy he has put forward, on tax breaks for child care, would tilt toward the wealthy.

Voters attracted by the force of the Trump personality should pause and take note of the precise qualities he exudes as an audaciously different politician: bluster, savage mockery of those who challenge him, degrading comments about women, mendacity, crude generalizations about nations and religions. Our presidents are role models for generations of our children. Is this the example we want for them?

Brazil’s Political Crisis Deepens. Editorial/The New York Times

 Protests in Sao Paoulo against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her new chief of staff, and former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Protests in Sao Paoulo against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her new chief of staff, and former president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

NEW YORK TOMES NYTThe Editorial Board, 18 marzo 2016 / THE NEW YORK TIMES

President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil is fighting for political survival as calls for her impeachment grow louder amid a widening corruption investigation and a tanking economy.

Astonishingly, however, she appears to have felt she had political capital to spare last week when she appointed her predecessor and political mentor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, to be chief of staff, a move that largely shields him, for now, from prosecution in the corruption scandal involving his ties to giant construction companies.

Ms. Rousseff’s explanation was tone deaf and ridiculous. She characterized the appointment as an opportunity to bring back to the government a maverick politician and talented negotiator to help Brazil contend with an assortment of crises, including the spread of the Zika virus.

“If Lula’s arrival strengthens my government, and there are people who don’t want it strengthened, then what can I do?” Ms. Rousseff said.

Ms. Rousseff has now created yet another crisis, one of confidence in her own judgment. Mr. da Silva, who led Brazil from 2003 to 2010, has been dealing with charges of illicit self-enrichment since he left office. Close associates, including his former chief of staff, José Dirceu de Oliveira e Silva, and the former treasurer of the ruling Workers’ Party, João Vaccari Neto, are in prison for corruption.

Early this month, investigators raided Mr. da Silva’s home and took him into custody for questioning. Prosecutors then sought to arrest him, accusing him of having accepted $200,000 worth of renovations for a beachfront property investigators believed he planned to occupy. Federal prosecutors are also investigating whether the millions of dollars Mr. da Silva and his foundation have received from companies linked to the scandal surrounding Petrobras, the national oil company, were actually bribes.

Mr. da Silva, a leftist leader, says he is not guilty and is entitled to his day in court. But he and Ms. Rousseff want to delay that day for as long as possible by giving him the protections from prosecution that cabinet members enjoy.

Roughly 50 officials — including politicians from other political parties — have been implicated in the Petrobras scandal, and Brazilians are rightly disgusted with their leaders. This latest move by the governing party sent protesters to the streets to demand Ms. Rousseff’s resignation and to express their outrage at what amounts to blatant cronyism. If her latest blunder pushes the impeachment effort across the finish line, Ms. Rousseff will have only herself to blame.