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Gregory’s Web – January 21, 2024

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Inexplicable.

Some things and people in life are just that: impossible to explain.

Most of us have quoted, “God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.” From personal experience, I’ve found that to be true.

There is surely some reasonable explanation for what I’m about to discuss here. Or 

perhaps it’s just God’s mysterious ways.

Let me insert here what any reader who’s been looking at this column already knows: I’m a Trump man.

As far as I’m concerned, if they find video proof that former President Donald Trump disguised himself, went in and destroyed Nancy Pelosi’s office on January 6, 2021, I will still vote for Trump. 

If he chooses Mitt Romney for Vice President, I’ll smile and support the Trump/Romney ticket.

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Likewise, I’ll endorse either Dick or Liz Cheney for Veep if Trump wants one of the worthless pieces of manure on the ballot. 

Now that nobody should be able to question my Trump loyalty (look at my 2016 Facebook posts as well), let’s move on. Honestly, I have pondered many times why Trump says some totally outrageous things. I have sympathized with the political consultant or presidential spokesperson who has to try to explain what he really meant by some random Trumpism.

Often, I’ve found myself with no easy answers. He’s a brilliant man. Does he have zero control of that mouth?

Is God working in mysterious ways with Trump? Is that why he can stand in a fundamentalist pulpit, repeat some vulgar language, and still have rock-solid Christians ready to go to battle for him?

Or should I simply ask, “Why the hell does he speak the things he says?”

Uh, oh. That’s not proper language for a conservative, Republican columnist to use.

I’ve concluded that there is no logical explanation for Trump or those who worship him. Don’t waste time even looking for it.

There’s not even a split second of doubt or hesitation about my Trump loyalty but I still don’t get it. He is not right about everything.

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It’s not like Trump just became bombastic; he always has been. While what he said last week is outrageous, so was his withering attacks on former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.

Plus, I’ll never understand why it was necessary to launch verbal missiles at the late Arizona Senator John McCain during his previous presidential runs.

While I’ll agree that McCain was no real conservative, the man was gone. His family and fervent supporters were not. Most were voters who had helped the Senator once win the GOP Presidential nomination.

You think criticizing McCain constantly helped Trump get Republican votes? Undoubtedly not.

Might it have helped win Arizona for Trump in 2020 if he had left his opinion about McCain out of his rhetoric? Of course it would have.

think my Trump support is based on Trump’s presidential record. An unbelievable economy, record low unemployment, record high employment, low inflation and a nation not finding a new war to get started each day are only parts of Trump’s legacy. 

He accomplished more in four years than President Joe Biden could in 20.

I, who have the same problem as Trump with opening my mouth before my brain is fully engaged, suppose I might be impressed that this man really does say what he thinks without a political filter. That’s an unusual commodity in modern  politics. So, he’s unique and that makes him an instant leader.

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Still, some of his comments are just too horrendous to be ignored.

I actually heard him say something I would never expect anyone to utter last week.

What’s worse is I don’t think it occurred to him how shocking his comment was. Unless he’s read one of the few commentaries that condemned the statement, he may still not know how vicious it sounded.

It appeared, for a brief moment, that the ex-President was going to say something nice about former First Lady Rosalyn Carter, who recently passed away.

In fact, he did say that her funeral services were “beautiful.”

Then, Trump rapidly switched gears as he so often does.

“I thought to myself, Jimmy Carter is happy now, because he will go down as a brilliant president by comparison to Joe Biden.”

That’s what Trump said!

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WHAT?

There’s 99-year-old President Carter, himself under Hospice care, paying homage to his beloved wife of 77 years at her funeral. What thoughts are going through Carter’s mind?

A sane person might think he’d grow a tiny smile thinking of their love and romantic early years. 

The former President might think of their happy pre-presidential years as a young couple in Plains, Georgia. Perhaps their years as the Peach State’s Governor and First Lady amid the sweet magnolias would cross his mind.

The few successes and the Iranian hostage agony of those four lonely years in the White House would certainly stir bittersweet remembrances.

Then the grand years back in Plains, out of political skirmishes and respected overwhelmingly by the American people, could bring another faint grin.

But, according to Trump, this sensitive, deeply reverent man was at the death door of his beloved Rosalynn thinking, “I’m so happy. My wife has passed and Joe Biden makes me look like a brilliant president.”

How could a thinking person make such a comment? It’s little wonder most people think Trump lacks any grain of compassion.

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Some reporters said Trump “mocked” Carter. I doubt that they’re using the correct term. I honestly don’t think Trump gave it a thought before, during or after he said it. 

He wasn’t mocking. He was Trump being Trump.

Having experienced the deaths of his own loved ones, surely Trump had some vague idea of how Carter really felt that day.

I’ve seen videos of Trump visiting injured troops, saluting veterans, and consoling grieving relatives. He often shuns being photographed in those settings. I suppose he thinks such pictures would destroy his image as a tough guy.

It is in those rare photos that one catches a glimmer of human kindness in Donald Trump.

I don’t think he intended his words to mock or increase Carter’s grief in any way. I suspect he likes this predecessor and the late First Lady.

By listening to his words, though, you’d never know it.

Inexplicable? No doubt. Indefensible? Absolutely.

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* * * * * *

The Joint Legislative Committee on Flooding has voted to refer West Virginia Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, Inc. to the State Auditor, Legislative Auditor and Committee on Special Investigations for alleged misuse of public funds.

VOAD is the group that Mingo Countian Benjamin Cisco has confessed to defrauding.

The group is best known in the Southern coalfields for replacing and refurbishing bridges damaged by floods.

* * * * * *

Our favorite former Hooters Girl Legislator, Kathie Hess Crouse of Putnam County may be bringing her self-proclaimed fundraising skills to a political arena near you as she seeks re-election to the House.

Crouse has sent out invitations to a January 23 event with an impressive list of “hosts.”

In what some would consider a problem, some listed legislators and several lobbyists told us last week that they were never asked if they would be “hosts.”

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Following the publicity I helped Crouse with regarding in her “Hooters Girl” theme, she delightfully told a radio audience how effective she was at getting tips at Hooters.

Maybe naming “hosts” without asking them will prove just as effective.

* * * * * *

The old adages about “politics make strange bedfellows” and “follow the money” may well fit 2024-style politics to a tee.

If one links the two together into “money and politics make strange bedfellows,” we may be working the way to an even better summation.

There’s no seasoned West Virginia political watcher who doesn’t realize how immensely popular the aforementioned Trump is in this state.

Whether or not a 2024 candidate in the Mountain State ever even voted for Trump, they’ll now swear they were holding signs, hauling voters and organizing rallies for him in January 2016.

Many politicians have such a low opinion of  West Virginia voters’ intelligence, they figure they can tell the public anything and they’ll believe it.

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It seems the biggest shams are going on right before our eyes.

Let me suggest something: if a candidate for Governor advertises him or herself as a lifetime Trump supporter but has the backing in his or her own race of an anti-Trump Political Action Committee, I’ve got serious doubts that the Governor candidate was ever for Trump.

The way financial support for various candidates is being tossed about in this election, it may be hard to “follow the money” but I believe it can be done.

We are very seriously looking into all of this and will soon report what we find. Voters need to know which bedfellow is in with who in this election.

Let me go further and say election reporting transparency has not been the overwhelming goal of the super majority Republican legislature.

So, it may take a little time but our readers will know who’s playing footloose and fancy free with finances and the voters.

* * * * * *

Some State Executive Committee Republican leaders were going to try to implement a better chance of them seizing total control of the party at their winter meeting scheduled for Charleston this weekend.

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Fortunately, the winter snowstorm delayed them committing political suicide until this coming Saturday.

Among other things, the GOP brass was pushing primaries closed to anyone but registered Republicans. There’s an idea whose time has come – and gone.

If an independent asks to vote in the Democrat primary, he or she is more likely to vote the Democrat line in the general. He or she is also more inclined to re-registered with their Primary balloting. Ditto for Republicans.

The GOP has already made major mistakes by making judicial races non-partisan and eliminating straight party voting.

They should really not self-inflict another wound.

As historians credit Pyrrhus with saying, “Another such victory and we are undone.”

Partisan judicial elections and straight party voting would now benefit the GOP much more than Democrats.

For eight decades, though, Republicans fought for non-partisan judge races and against straight ticket balloting. They finally got both.

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They apparently believed they were “mysteriously” doomed to be the minority party in West Virginia forever.

* * * * * *

One of the best pieces of news in this election year came when Pleasants County Republican Senator Donna Boley filed for re-election.

Earlier, she had expressed some doubt about seeking another term. At 88, she thought seriously about retirement. The good news is that she decided otherwise.

The State Senate honored her tenure last week as the longest continuous serving State Senator ever. She reached that milestone in 2018.

Politics in West Virginia has changed dramatically since Boley joined the Senate in 1985.

Now the Senate President Pro Tempore, Boley was once Minority Leader because she was the only Republican on the roster.

These days, Democrats are nearly extinct with just three of the 34 members.

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Boley and I became fast friends in the early days following her appointment by the late Governor Arch A. Moore, Jr. She has remained steadfast in the years since.

With a mind as crisp and steady as ever, she can easily recall the first time we met, where the meeting was and who was there.

Losing her constant companion and husband Jack was quite a blow to her in 2017. We all grieved with her.

In that regard, it was heartwarming to see her escorted to receive her honors by their son, Brian.

With never a hint of scandal or dishonesty, Boley is the undisputed Queen of the Senate. Long may she reign.

* * * * * *

My favorite candidate for Governor, Ericka Klie Kolenich, is kicking off her Libertarian campaign from 6 to 8 p.m., this Wednesday.

Check her Facebook page for details.

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While she and I agree on more issues than  any other contender and I, I’ll endorse a different candidate for election.

We all recognize, unfortunately, that Kolenich is not going to win, but I also admire her courage and dedication. She would make a great Governor.

Those wondering who I will endorse might consider that I have been and always will be a Moore Republican.

* * * * * *

The speculation is that former Democrat Secretary of State Natalie Tennant will file to win her old job back.

* * * * * *

Democrat President Biden has filed for re-election as has former Republican President Trump. Also filing with Secretary of State Mac Warner was Democrat Stephen Lyons from Maryland.

Perhaps Lyons’ candidacy will test state voters to see if they always prefer Marylanders for any office, or just Congress.

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* * * * * *

Democrat Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliot filed for the United States Senate seat being vacated by former Governor Joe Manchin.

That should liven up that race, where Republican Governor Jim Justice is favored to win in November.

Another Democrat, Zachary Shrewsbury of Princeton, has also filed.

Joining the Republican Senate field were Zane Lawhorn of Princeton and Brian McKinney of Inwood.

Republican Congresswoman Carol Miller has filed for re-election in the First District. 

Meanwhile, the campaign of her Primary opponent, former Political Prisoner Derrick Evans, appears to be picking up steam and conservative endorsements every day.

* * * * * *

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In what could become known as the “90-day Sprint to the Statehouse,” Congresswoman Miller’s son Chris appears to be kicking his GOP Governor campaign into high gear.

Miller insists he’s been running hard but quietly all along.

* * * * * *

Judging by the filing to date, it would appear that Republicans are attempting to take over state judgeships despite their “non-partisan” charade.

Clearly, Republican conservatives are challenging incumbent liberal Democrat judges all over the state.

More on that next time.

Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or ron.gregory@wvstatewide.com.

Author

  • Ron Gregory

    From Mayor of Glenville at age 26 to Assistant Mayor of Charleston, management of various public entities, and countless political races in West Virginia – Ron Gregory is the most noted political correspondent in the state.

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From Mayor of Glenville at age 26 to Assistant Mayor of Charleston, management of various public entities, and countless political races in West Virginia - Ron Gregory is the most noted political correspondent in the state.