WASHINGTON -- Even for those of us who braced for catastrophe, the first year of Donald Trump's presidency was worse than expected -- more divisive, mean-spirited, erratic, unhinged, incompetent and egomaniacal than could have been imagined. Any glimmer of hope for a better Trump after the election, any speck of it once he took his oath of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The past week of the Trump presidency felt like that point in a video game when you've reached a new level and the widgets suddenly start flying at you too fast to dodge. There was an attack on free speech. On an independent judiciary. And with the president's horrific reference to "shithole countries," on America's tradition of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The unceasing debate over Ivanka Trump is whether she is a clueless enabler or a savvy troll, jabbing her father with sly tweets. Whatever the answer to the Ivanka Trump riddle, whether she is a dupe or a nettle, it has become obvious that she serves no useful role in this administration. She has failed to temper any of her father'...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Why was President Trump so frantic to ensure that his attorney general would shield him against the inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election?
For all the unsettling questions swirling about Trump in recent days, this may turn out to be the most important and, for the president, the most ominous. The more information that...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As this appalling year limps to a close, with President Trump consistently underperforming even the lowest of expectations, a note of holiday cheer: Our country's institutions and values have, so far, proven remarkably resilient.
This outcome was not a given; complacency that it will continue would be dangerous. And yet, after ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Here, for me at least, is the comforting paradox of the age of Trump: I have never respected a president less, nor loved my country more.
This sentiment may startle. It may rankle, even. It comes in a week that witnessed the passage of the worst domestic policy legislation of my lifetime, followed by the now ritual but always ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Of the deluge of sexual harassment stories gushing forth in recent weeks, one of the most disturbing -- one of the creepiest, really -- has also been one of the least noted: the allegations involving federal appeals court judge Alex Kozinski.
There are, certainly, more egregious fact patterns: Kozinski's alleged abuse was verbal, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- There's no doubt, in the case of Al Franken, that Democrats are better off with the Minnesota senator gone. There's more doubt about whether justice was done.
The political calculus is simple: Franken had to go. With the grotesque picture of him groping, or pretending to grope, the breasts of a fellow USO performer, he would have ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- And so the special counsel's probe inches ever closer to the White House, and President Trump.
It is not possible for those on the outside to know just how close. But the move by former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to plead guilty to lying to the FBI is an ominous sign for Trump and his circle. We knew this day was ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- "I never wonder to see men wicked, but I often wonder to see them not ashamed," Jonathan Swift observed. That was three centuries ago, so our current, degraded condition has deep historical roots. Yet it feels, more and more, that we are experiencing the end of shame.
Our sad national trajectory has been on display recently with ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Last week it was seven women. This week there are 36.
No, not accusers of Sen. Al Franken but defenders. Seven women who had worked in Franken's Senate office came forward to say that the Minnesota Democrat "treated us with the utmost respect," and on Tuesday, 36 former Franken colleagues at "Saturday Night Live" described Franken...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The national debate over sexual harassment and sexual assault has reached an important and precarious moment as it shifts from what behavior is acceptable to what punishment is warranted. Having underreacted for too long, are we now at risk of overreacting?
The welcome news is that society seems to have reached closure -- if not ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The supposed price tag for the Republican tax bill is $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Republicans would have you believe that the measure would sprinkle enough magical growth dust throughout the economy to wipe out that cost. Don't believe them, but also: Don't believe for a moment that the bill would cost a mere -- mere! -- $1.5 ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Question for Republicans: If you believe the women now, why didn't you believe the women then?
Specifically, if you believe the women accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, why did you ignore the women who accused presidential candidate Donald Trump? If you're troubled by Moore's alleged behavior, why were you so nonchalant ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- A mere allegation. If true.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, she who has encountered no argument too weak to embrace, had this to say about allegations that Republican senate candidate Roy Moore molested a 14-year-old girl: "Like most Americans the president believes we cannot allow a mere allegation, in this ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump's attitude toward the criminal justice system has long blended ignorance with contempt for constitutional values. That ugly mixture was on full display after New York suffered its worst terrorist attack since 9/11 and special counsel Robert Mueller unveiled his first indictments.
The president's instinctive ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- President Trump is promising "massive tax cuts," "historic tax cuts," the "largest tax cut in our country's history." So this might be a good time to point out: The country doesn't need a tax cut.
Of course, we should have a saner tax system, one less riddled with needless complexities. Most immediately, we should have a saner ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- All the Trump administration/"Handmaid's Tale" comparisons seemed overwrought. Then came J.D.
She is a 17-year-old detained by federal authorities after illegally crossing the border in Texas without her parents, who she claims abused her. She is also pregnant -- 15 weeks and counting -- and wants an abortion. In fact, she's been ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- John Kelly had me at the ice. He lost me at the women.
Standing at the podium, in a briefing room that has rarely been so hushed, the White House chief of staff described how the bodies of fallen soldiers are packed in ice, not once but twice, to preserve them on their journey home. Soldiers, he could have said but didn't need to,...Read more
WASHINGTON -- One of the most repulsive aspects of the Harvey Weinstein scandal -- and, oh, so many to choose from -- is the attempted medicalization of evil.
In this convenient, entitled telling, Weinstein's alleged use of his industry power and physical force to coerce women into sexual activity is not to be understood as inappropriate and ...Read more