Lanterns: Trump Admin Is Keeping and Bringing in Obama Retreads

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Trump Admin Is Keeping and Bringing in Obama Retreads

Those who voted for Donald Trump did so because they believed he would change the course Obama had set America on, and undo the damage Obama’s done. But that may be impossible for him to achieve.

There’s truth in the saying, Personnel is policy. Whatever the president may believe or intend, the people under him carry out policy. If those people are often Obama graduates, the results will inevitably be, well, Obama-ish. Unfortunately, this is precisely what’s been happening. In addition, Trump’s main advisors lean left—including his two top appointees. This can’t help but influence the president, who must rely on advisors for information.

Hiring the staff from Hell

 

Trump’s new National Security Advisor, HR McMaster, attempted to bring in an objectionable Obama alumnus, and his Defense Secretary, “Mad Dog” Mattis attempted to recruit the worst possible Obamanite for the State Department. Don’t ask me why these top officials would be bringing in new hires; that’s clearly not their job.

Also, certain Obama holdovers with appalling records under Obama have been kept on and put in positions where they’re certain to push policies that are the polar opposite of those Mr. Trump has espoused.

TabletMag.com’s Lee Smith reported on March 15th (prepare to weep):

To fill the growing vacuum at the center of American power, the Trump White House is now handing over key foreign-policy positions to Obama administration re-treads who handled the very same portfolios under the previous president. Trump’s tough-as-nails “America first” foreign policy is starting to look like Obama Lite—the exact same policies, implemented by the exact same people.

Expecting that Trump’s promised immigration and foreign policy changes will be carried out by Obama’s people, is like expecting to make spaghetti Pomodoro out of used shoelaces.

Think Obama did a good job destroying ISIS? Lee Smith writes: “The Trump team has kept Brett McGurk—the same Brett McGurk who served as the Obama administration’s special envoy to lead the campaign against ISIS.”

He explains the problem with Obama’s ISIS effort was, the Sunni actors didn’t want to expend blood and treasure fighting ISIS, only to see the spoils go to Iran. And McGurk made it clear that’s exactly what would happen, by dispensing obvious favors to Iran. For example, he’s the guy who “famously arranging for Iran to get $400 million in cash delivered on wooden pallets to the IRGC in exchange for American hostages.”

Smith also says McGurk signed some of those secret [Iran] documents, “relieving sanctions on a key financial hub of Iran’s ballistic-missile program, and dropping charges against 21 Iranian operatives linked to terrorism.”

Waiting for Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear deal? That may take longer than you think: besides McGurk, Smith reports that “Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, Obama’s NSC director for Iran, is now on the policy-planning staff in Trump’s State Department.” Daniel Horowitz, senior editor of Conservative Review said Nowrouzzadeh “was an essential figure in pushing through the Iran deal and has ties to Tehran.”

“She’s now in charge of Iran and the Persian Gulf region … at the State Department,” reports FrontPageMag.

Another Iran-phile is Chris Backemeyer, the State Department’s deputy coordinator for sanctions policy.” Lee Smith writes: “His job under Obama was to persuade companies around the world to invest in Iran.” Also kept on was “Tom Shannon, whom Kerry dispatched to do damage control once it got out that the Obama administration was trying to give Iran access to the dollar,” said Smith.

He points out that we can hardly expect the same people who forged the Iran deal to help dismantle it, under the Trump Admin.

Israel-hater on team negotiating with Israel

 

Yael Lempert, a National Security Council staffer from the Obama administration, is another holdover. She joined Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s special representative for international negotiations for talks in Israel last month. Though she is highly experienced in Israel-PA relations, Lempert is the most appalling choice to schmooze with the Israelis, except perhaps for Iran’s Ahmadinejad. Lee Smith said:

Lempert, one former Clinton official told me, ‘is considered one of the harshest critics of Israel on the foreign policy far left. From her position on the Obama NSC, she helped manufacture crisis after crisis in a relentless effort to portray Israel negatively and diminish … our alliance.’”

Israel National News said: “Although Trump's approach is generally favorable towards Israel, the fact that his administration continues to rely on Obama officials is not to Israel's benefit—and the most blatant example of this is Yael Lempert.” Daniel Horowitz wrote that Lempert “was literally Obama’s point person in the White House orchestrating his war against Israel.”

According to the Jewish Press, “Ha’aretz on Friday [March 24th] quoted a senior security cabinet minister who suggested the Netanyahu people do not view Lempert as a friend, far from it. ‘The feeling I got was that the Prime Minister’s Office would rather distance her,’ the source said.”

She “has been singled out by rightwing reports blaming her for President Trump’s change of heart regarding settlements construction in Judea and Samaria.”

Daniel Horowitz added that “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed a Kerry acolyte as the Israel-Palestinian policy official in the State Department:"

Michael Ratney was Obama’s consul to Jerusalem who “oversaw grants to OneVoice, a leftist non-profit that President Obama allegedly used to try to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s 2015 election,” wrote Horowitz. OneVoice partnered with the leftist V15 to defeat Netanyahu, according to investigative journalist Aaron Klein.

There’s more to this than poor recruiting; all these losers are remaking the Trump Doctrine. For example, the Administration has utterly pivoted on its Israel policy. When Yael Lempert and Jason Greenblatt were in Israel, Greenblatt—also Trump’s longtime lawyer—was “obsessing over every last neighborhood with the maniacal precision of John Kerry to prevent Israel from building even within existing ‘settlements,’” wrote Daniel Horowitz.

“The pressure is reportedly so strong that Netanyahu has now held off on his plans to fully annex Ma’ale Adumim, the largest suburb of Jerusalem, which has always been a “consensus” area (even to those who buy into the premise of a Palestinian state). Greenblatt later met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (whose term of office expired eight years ago!) and treated him like a peace partner.”

The most ruinous recruits imaginable

 

HR McMaster tried to move the NSC's senior director of intelligence programs, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a general Flynn appointee to another position. He apparently meant to fill the resultant vacancy with longtime CIA official Linda Weissgold. FrontPageMag.com reported:

She was overheard saying as she left the White House she would next have to “talk to Pompeo”—as in Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA. But Weissgold was never offered the job; days later, Trump himself overruled the effort to move Cohen-Watnick out of his senior director role.

During the Obama administration Weissgold served as director of the CIA's Office of Terrorism Analysis. She was … involved directly in drafting the now infamous Benghazi talking points, which government officials revised heavily to include factually incorrect assessments that stated the attackers were prompted by protests.

The two most despised Americans in Egypt are Obama and his ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, who “had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and embodied John Kerry’s foreign policy,” Horowitz writes.

Raymond Ibrahim wrote, in 2013, on the eve of the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s president and former Muslim Brotherhood official, that Mustafa Bakari, a member of Egypt’s parliament concluded that: “Due to Patterson’s ongoing and very open relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘in my opinion, she is a member of the sleeper cells of the Brotherhood.’” She also tried to convince the Coptic Pope to tell his flock not to join in the demonstrations against Morsi scheduled for June 30, 2013.

At the link, you can view a photo showing Patterson’s ecstatic first meeting with the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badie, who is noted for calling Jews apes and pigs.

In another piece, Conservative Review said

In 2012, Patterson lobbied for closer ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2014, as an assistant secretary of state, she gave false testimony to Congress about the Palestinian Authority’s salaries for terrorists. Despite plenty of evidence and reports proving terrorists’ salaries, Patterson disputed the charge, refusing to use the word “terrorist” to describe the jihadists.

Patterson fought against efforts to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist group.

Raymond Ibrahim wrote, “Patterson — the “Brotherhood’s Stooge” as she was called by all, from news analysts to the Egyptian street — was arguably one of the most hated individuals by the millions of Egyptians who took to the streets against Morsi and the Brotherhood.”

He demonstrated that hatred in a slew of photos taken at protests, where “not only did her face regularly appear next to Obama’s in placards; it sometimes appeared alone, indicating just how closely she was seen as supporting the Brotherhood.”

Inexplicably, Defense Secretary Mattis attempted to put Anne Patterson in the number 3 position in the Pentagon but was overruled by the president after cries of outrage from Trump surrogates.

Defense Secretary Mattis made statements that indicate he also may have influenced Trump to switch from a near-bromance with Netanyahu to pressuring him to halt settlement activity:

The Times of Israel reported in November that Mattis had said, “settlements were creating ‘apartheid,’ and also insisted the US pays a price in the Middle East for its support of Israel.”

The American Spectator reported that in 2013, Mattis “I paid a military security price every day as the commander of CENTCOM because the Americans were seen as biased in support of Israel.” Calling Israeli control of Judea and Samaria “unsustainable,” Mattis warned that Jewish “settlements” could turn Israel into an “apartheid state.”

Trying to run America with people who oppose your views

 

Legendary conservative icon, Richard A. Viguerie, writing in Conservative HQ, said: “What’s so alarming and frustrating to conservatives is that it has begun to appear that, while the President has many good instincts on our issues, he somehow expects to run the Trump administration without any actual Trump supporters being brought in to run the government on his behalf.”

He tells us that “John Boehner confidant, John DeStefano” is now Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel. “His job,” Viguerie writes “isn’t to hire Trump’s loyal outsiders … it is to funnel Capitol Hill staffers loyal to the congressional Republican establishment into key jobs in the executive branch.”

Viguerie reveals more about Mattis:

As part of this guerrilla war with the White House Mattis is blocking some rock-star conservative talent that the White House slated for appointments at the Pentagon. As a result, of the 53 Senate confirmed appointments at the Pentagon Mattis is the only Trump nominee in place.

While a few nominations have been forwarded to the Senate – none of them are the conservative rock stars who were the Red Team opposition during the Obama years. So, right now, every top position at the Pentagon, other than Mattis, is held by an acting career appointee or an Obama holdover.

Citing the State Department staffers above: Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, Yael Lempert and Brett McGurk, Viguerie makes the point that sums up all of this: “How President Trump expects to reassert American leadership with diplomats who spent their peak career years dismantling it and apologizing for it defies the imagination.”

It is our duty to let the White House know how we feel. Go here to do that.

Written by Bob Bennett

Bob Bennett, a NY-based writer, has written op-eds for the WSJ and a cancer medical journal; op-eds and travel pieces for the NY Post and a cover article for the Jewish Press. He has also appeared with his wife on Fox News, discussing Obamacare.

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