Trump punches back | Feb. 17
If this isn't an act, it's frightening
As I watched President Donald Trump's news conference, two thoughts came to my mind. If this is an act, game or show, it isn't entertaining and beneath the office. If it is real, and he truly believes what he is saying, it's frightening.
The barrage of attacks on everyone from the media to past presidents overshadowed any real news or information. The ceaseless rehashing of his Electoral College victory, including ridiculous and verifiably false claims of the margin of victory, is getting exasperating.
The CIA and FBI are not your enemy. The Russians, and Vladimir Putin, are not your friends. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and the media are not creating "false news" to explain the Democrats' election loss. The "dishonest media" were not out to get Michael Flynn. Neither were the FBI or CIA.
Your administration is not "running like a fine-tuned machine" when you have a spokesman say one thing at the 5 o'clock hour and another spokesman saying quite the opposite three hours later. Who is running things in your White House, anyway?
You have a problem with leakers, the media and what department stores sell, but seem unfazed about what was actually leaked, Russia violating a treaty and North Korea testing ballistic missiles. There is a scary disconnect here. It's time to take off those virtual (re: alternate) reality goggles and not only face facts, but state facts.
If this is a show, it's time to drop the curtain. If it is real, it's time for Congress to drop the hammer.
Allan A. Love, New Port Richey
Trump punches back | Feb. 17
Pumping up the president
Post-election, I hoped that you would do a better job of informing the public about President Donald Trump's myriad weaknesses, particularly his lack of understanding about how our government works, a propensity toward undignified behavior, his inability or unwillingness to read or inform himself about crucial issues, and his continuing practice of lying. Instead, this front page greeted me with another huge picture of Trump's blustering face and the headline "Trump punches back," creating the impression that he had done an effective job of countering his critics at his news conference.
In your fact-checking story, which was buried on page 8A, you left unchallenged his repeated claim that he "inherited a mess" from a president who spent eight years pulling us out of a real mess left by his Republican predecessor.
It is difficult enough to accurately inform voters in the face of an administration that lies continually, denigrates the media and demonizes anyone who disagrees with it without your newspaper giving it a front-page platform for its propaganda.
Allen Wiener, Clearwater
Report: Aides, Russians in touch often Feb. 15
What the law forbids
Impeachment? Consider this: "Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States." (18 U.S. Code § 2381).
If President Donald Trump and/or his associates are found to have colluded, or much less collaborated, with Russian intelligence agents to undermine our sacred right to free, democratic elections, does this rise to the level of treason?
Perhaps ultimately our new Supreme Court will have an opportunity to settle this question.
Stephen Ritch, St. Petersburg
Crist trips in clumsy start | Feb. 11
Voters deserve better
U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-St. Petersburg, has big shoes to fill and it appears he's not getting off to a very good start. If he treats his key staffers in such a shabby fashion, according to your recent article, what can his constituents expect? What were the voters thinking when they put this lightweight into office? It looks like it's going to be a bumpy ride until his term expires and David Jolly runs again. At least he worked for his constituents, and I never heard of him sitting around at a bar drinking.
Lois Barros, St. Petersburg
Court rejects Florida's 'Docs vs. Glocks' law Feb. 17
Stepping over the line
Doctors have no business asking patients if they own a gun. The article states that the law will help "patients and families who are trying to protect themselves from guns in the home." If they're going to ask about guns in the home, then why not ask about knives, power drills, hammers, screwdrivers, etc.? If a doctor feels a patient is mentally unstable, he or she should refer that patient to a medical professional who is qualified to make that determination.
Doctors should do what they are trained to do, which is treat patients and their ailments, and leave questions about gun ownership to the proper authorities.
Mark Khan, Tampa
Constitution Revision Commission
Take an active role
It is an honor to be appointed to the Constitution Revision Commission, allowing me to represent not just my fellow Tampa Bay area citizens but every Floridian in our unique process for reviewing and amending the state Constitution every 20 years. I am grateful to Senate President Joe Negron for giving me this opportunity. I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners to address critical issues impacting Florida's future.
Our state Constitution provides the framework for the rights of citizens and the organization of government. Proposed revisions from the CRC go directly on the November 2018 general election ballot, where they need 60 percent voter approval to pass.
I urge everyone in the Tampa Bay area to engage in the CRC process by following the assembly, organization and work of the commission.
William J. Schifino Jr., Tampa