Beltway Insider: Trump Fails Florida; Hurricane Michael Devastation; Turkey Releases Pastor; Saudi/Khashoggi; Nikki Haley

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President Donald Trump failed devastated Floridians stricken by the full force of Hurricane Michael as shell shocked residents still wait for the officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, food, water and make-shift shelters to arrive.

According to Gallup, President Trump job approval, over the past week, increased by one percentage point to 43% of those polled who approve of his effectiveness as President and those who disapprove of his effectiveness as President remained constant at 53%.

Trump Fails Florida

President Trump, who had FEMA officials in place three days before the full force of Hurricane Florence, a Category 1 storm came ashore in New Bern, NC drenching the Carolina over the next four days with up to 40 inches of rain, planned to be in front of Hurricane Michael to show the world how it is done.

Unfortunately, four days after Hurricane Michael slammed ashore in Mexico Beach, Florida, packing maximum sustained winds of 155mph, FEMA and its forward facing crew were nowhere in sight.


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During an October 10, 2018 press conference FEMA Administrator Brock Long said "And right now, there's no identified shortfalls when it comes to pre-positioning. So we have teams, equipment, personnel not only with and embedded with state-of-Florida staff and some of the local county emergency managers. But we have equipment teams staged in Maxwell, to Atlanta, to Orlando ready to move in once we can — once the elements subside and push through, and then we can move in and attack."

Hurricane Florence, barely battered the shoreline with Category 1 winds, up to 76 mph, and while Hurricanes are notorious for seemingly sparing some and hurtling a deadly blow to others, Floridan's struck not a month later were wiped out as Michael, barely 100 miles off shore intensified into a Category 4, with winds 1 mph under the most deadly slamming into the Florida's Panhandle which had never experienced landfall on their shore.

The devastation is apocalyptic. It is as if a bomb was dropped and from the shoreline eight to ten properties deep all that is left is the foundation.

And FEMA is still nowhere to be found.

Hurricane Michael Devastation

Hurricane Michael, which shocked the metrological world with a rapid intensification just 100miles off shore, strengthening from a survivable Category 3 to a Category 4 and unimaginable devastation usually reversed for others along the Western Gulf or Atlantic just not here.

Florida's Panhandle, extending from Tallahassee which rests on the northwest side of the state with cities followed by smaller beach cities and towns Apalachicola, Port St. Joe, Panama City, Pensacola, and even smaller Mexico Beach and Emerald Isle. Residents of the Panhandle has never experienced landfall until now. The last hurricane to reach the area was in 1851.

Michael slammed into Mexico Beach with the force of an hydrogen bomb. As far as the eye can see in this beachfront community, there is catastrophic damage. Homes, imploded, wiped off their foundation. And if to add insult to injury, in some places even the cement is cracked, pulled up and broken.

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind scale explains "well-built framed houses can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and some exterior walls with areas so devastated they will not be inhabitable for months.

Homes, at ground zero, built before 2001 are obliterated. If a piece of the treasure they once housed are found it is a miracle. Visual footage shows a handful of homes intact, literally less than ten homes in a city of more than 3500 residents. Power companies even with the forward lean described by FEMA are left wondering where the electricity poles are or where as Michael uprooted trees and poles, snapping the trees like matchsticks in half. Electrical wires lead to the stub of what was once a utility pole.

Mexico Beach will rebuild. It has no choice. Homes are gone with piles of lumber, representing the years of work, growing into mountains. The boat storage building, packed full, suffered extensive damage as Michael ripped off the roof and twisting the steel troughs and pulling it to the ground.

Hurricane Michael was a fast moving storm, not like an earthquake or tornado, as residents in those regions expect seconds or minutes with similar damage, but a three hour fast mover barreling on shore and whipping, thrashing, and battering, the coastline over the next three hours.

The storm surge which was a record 14feet with waves. So as the ocean rushed in hamstringing homes built on pylons the wind whipped around and with the waves pounding the houses fell.

As the storm passed and those who decided to ride it out emerged, the landscaped looked unrecognizable. The death toll stands at 18 with thousands still missing. Until the debris can be cleared electricity, without a generator of other power source will be hard pressed to find. Possibly the president and his FEMA team will have a charging station in place soon.

Residents shifting through piles of rubble that were once their homes looking for bottles of water, anything useable, anything not destroyed, items of sentimental value are hoping today will be the day FEMA shows up.

Florida is home to many on the competitive bar-b-que circuit with smokers and grillers readily available to roll up and serve up 1000 meals as soon as the meat is finished. And they did just that, answering the call, as it was the neighborly thing to do, serving residents of Mexico Beach with a hot home cooked meal.

FEMA Describes its Plan of Action

In a rare Oval Office Q & A, President Trump along with Department of Homeland Security Kristen Nielsen and FEMA Administrator Brock Long on the Hurricane Michael Preparations.

Even as FEMA indicated there were no identifiable areas of weakness. It seems that no one expected the scope of the storm. Seeing the expectation on paper and experiencing the damage first hand is daunting.

Tyndell Air Force

Tyndell Air Force base which would have been a command post has suffered extensive damage and is being called a "complete loss." Flyovers show stealth jets exposed through ripped off roofs and twisted, knotted hangers.

Questions as to why the Stealth Jet Bombers, with a price tag of $929million per aircraft, were not evacuated to a safer destination should be answered. Additional reports indicate 17 F-22's were damaged beyond repair. An entire fleet of Aircraft, F-22's, the Stealth Bombers, and others were housed at the now destroyed Tyndell Air Force base. 


Questions as to why the Stealth Jet Bombers, with a price tag of $929million per aircraft, were not evacuated to a safer destination should be answered by this administration.


The president did explain "Electric companies from all over the country are lined up. As soon as it goes by, they're going to be working. And we've got food supplies, food chains. We're working with all of the states. This started out very innocently a week ago that grew into a monster."

Administrator Long: Right. So the first initial indications from the National Hurricane Center started coming in around Saturday. And they picked it up and started raising the flag that, "Hey, this system is going to go from a wave to a depression, and it could potentially rapidly intensify." And unfortunately, that's typical of the Gulf Coast.

Even with the expected military presence which can be seen in most fly overs, the boots on the ground, the civil guard and heavy equipment facilitators have yet to arrive.

The first wave heavy removal responders haven't arrived. Citizens, the Cajun Navy and now those who own heavy equipment are working to make roads passable so FEMA and other federal teams can arrive with food and water.

Turkey Releases Pastor Andrew Brunson

Turkish officials have released Pastor Andrew Brunson who was held in connection to the 2016 coup d'etat attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which more than 300 people were killed and 2,100 injured.

The United States welcomes the release of Pastor Andrew Brunson. We look forward to his return home where he will be reunited with his family.

We commend the strength shown by Pastor Brunson and his family over a difficult two years, and are thankful for the support of Members of Congress, including Senators Graham, Lankford, Shaheen, and Tillis, and Congressmen McHenry, Walker, and Price. We are also grateful for the work of all of our great diplomats and consular staff who have been instrumental in bringing this day to fruition.

We remain deeply concerned about the continued detention of other United States citizens in Turkey and around the world, and urge the resolution of all these cases in a transparent and fair manner.

The United States and Turkey have a number of mutual concerns regarding regional security and stability, and we look forward to working together on these issues.

Brunson, was arrested in 2016 and over the course of two years experienced firsthand the judicial environment in countries that have had decent relationships with the United States. Initially held in a cell built for eight, with 21 others, according to Wikipedia. Pressure from the United States and other international human rights organizations resulted in Brunson released to House Arrest.

The recent murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, seems to have applied some additional pressure to the Turkish government. Brunson was held for more than two years and never formally charged. Although it was expected that he would be charged with terrorism, whether knowingly or unknowingly. He or his church aided or supported members of two parties outlawed by the Turkish government.

More than 20 United States citizens were arrested allegedly having participated in the coup attempt. None have been formally charged. Brunson was found guilty on October 12, 2018 and his sentenced was reduced to time served. He was released and free to leave the country.

"The pro-Erdogan administration newspaper Takvim alleges that Brunson was a "high-level member of the Gülen movement" and an American spy, positioned to become CIA chief in Turkey had the 2016 coup attempt succeeded. Takvim's editor-in-chief, Ergun Diler, alleged that Brunson fended off an assassination attempt thanks to his intelligence agency training, further claiming that Brunson was influential all over the region. Diler speculated that the CIA would assassinate Brunson in prison if it thought he would not be deported back to the U.S., " Wikipedia states.

He arrived at the White House on Saturday, October 13, 2018 to meet with the President.

Saudi Involvement in Khashoggi Murder

President Trump has addressed the ongoing concern over the apparent Saudi hit on Jamel Khashoggi, the Washington Post journalists who entered the Saudi embassy in Turkey to secure official documents attesting to his divorce when he was allegedly detained, tortured and murdered.

The fiancée/wife of Khashoggi, known as Hatice, has written a letter to the President and First Lady and delivered the letter to the First Lady. The White house expects her to arrive soon.

"His wife/fiancée wrote us a letter, and addressed it to my wife and myself. And we're in contact with her now, and we want to bring her to the White House. It's a very sad situation. It's a very bad situation. And we want to get to the bottom of it. Well, I have to find out who did it. But people saw him go in but they didn't see him come out, as they understand it. And we're going to take a very serious look at it. It's a terrible thing," the President said.

The President also indicated he spoke with the Saudi and intends to press the matter.

*Media as reported Hatice as the fiancée of Mr. Khashoggi. They may have married.

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Nikki Haley Resigns

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley has tendered her resignation, effective December 31, 2018, to the President who is now in the position of finding a successor.

"There's some tremendously talented people. Nikki is going to be here until the end of the year. Nikki is our friend. She's been great. I want whoever it is to spend some time with Nikki before Nikki goes out and gets herself a job, and hopefully does — she's going to make a lot of money. And I think Nikki will come back in some form, too. But she's an extraordinary person, good person. But we're looking at many people. Many people want that job," the president said.

Dina Powell, a Goldman Sachs Executive, who was once considered a front runner and in talks with the President to fill the vacancy left by the exiting Haley has withdrawn her name from consideration.

The President added, in a rare oval office Q&A, the vetting process for the Ambassador position will be "very strong. But some of the people we've already vetted. Some of the people are with us. We're looking at people that were already with us. And we have some incredible talent in this administration. We have some great, great talent. And they've already been vetted. They were already approved."

For more information on President Donald Trump: www.whitehouse.gov

Sources: Whitehouse.gov, Wikipedia.com

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