President Trumps Speech In Riyadh

05/22/2017 05:05 pm ET | Updated 2 hours ago

THE HILL

Speaking to leaders from across the Muslim world, it was important that President Tump addressed the growing threats from terrorism and extremism which have threatened America, Europe and the Middle East. For there to be stability across the Arab world it is vital that there is religious tolerance, by encouraging countries to take control of the fight against extremism themselves, President Trump is increasing the chances of a lasting peace. The US cannot fight this battle alone and it is important for individual States to realise the role they must play. President Trump was correct to address the “common values and shared interests” that the United States shares with its Saudi allies and others in the region. As I have witnessed first-hand, the countries of the Gulf, the United States and Israel have many mutual interests and concerns and remember there is an opportunity to build a positive relationship that benefits all parties.

The Jewish community has been the target of religious terrorism both in Israel and across the world. It is incredibly poignant that President Trump specified his desire to stand with the Jewish community in the fight against terrorism and his statement will help build bridges between the Jewish and Muslim community. As President Trump now makes his way to Israel, the American Jewish Congress hopes that he will be able to continue to create a positive atmosphere of dialogue which can lead to progress in the fight against Islamic State as well as the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Jack Rosen, President, American Jewish Congress

Dr. Munr Kazmir, Vice President, American Jewish Congress

Dr. Ben Chouake, Secretary, American Jewish Congress

The President’s Trip Could Serve A Positive Purpose

05/22/2017 05:22 pm ET

Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157

President Trump’s current trip, one in which he will meet with leaders of all three major religions is both a necessary positive step in his presidency.

Regardless of how you feel about all the hoopla going on surrounding the Trump administration right now, the fact remains that the man IS president, and as such, he needs to continue to execute the duties of the office.

The world is a volatile place right now and doing everything possible to keep escalating tensions to a minimum is a positive for everybody.

Admittedly, the president got off to a rough start in Saudi Arabia, where I would have liked to have seen him buck the trend of kissing the Saudi ring, so to speak. We all know what the Saudi Arabian government has done in the past and continues to do now, and despite this, we hear next to nothing from our country’s most powerful lawmakers, let alone past presidents.

It was my hope that President Trump – who ran as a complete wild card that was not beholden to anybody – would lean on the Saudis a little bit about their human rights violations and maybe even try to convince them that they should use the vast land and resources they have to take in some refugees from the region. While he did not do this, it was merely his first visit with the Saudis, so perhaps he will be a little bolder as he goes along.

That said, it was important the president show that despite all the rhetoric and heated debate, he does not hate all Muslims and think they are evil. As President Trump himself said, getting the help of the Muslim world to help destroy the extremists is crucial in the battle against ISIS and Al Qaeda, and hopefully saying he is anti-extremist and not anti-Muslim is a good start.

The Pope and the president had their fair share of disagreements throughout the 2016 campaign, but again, it is important that the president show he can put that behind him and be a unifier. Many Catholics voted for the president and see the Pope as their spiritual leader, so president Trump being able to have a dialogue with the Pope would show a level of maturity that he sometimes seems to lack when it comes to those who criticize him.

Most importantly, though, it is crucial that the president make the most of this trip as a way to reaffirm our alliance to our #1 ally Israel, and reassure Prime Minister Netanyahu and the citizens of his nation that America has Israel’s back. Whatever your thoughts are on President Obama’s policy towards Israel, it is unquestionable that Prime Minister Netanyahu believed he was getting the cold shoulder from the United States over the past eight years, something that must end under President Trump.

Again, this trip isn’t going to heal the world and it isn’t going to make the issues surrounding the president go away. But it could serve a positive purpose and start a few worthwhile dialogues. If nothing else, given all of the other madness going on right now, we should all be happy for that.

The Immigration Issue Isn’t Going Away, No Matter How Much We Wish It Would

05/19/2017 04:41 pm ET

Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157

If you are not familiar with Sandra Duran, you can read about her here. She wasn’t a famous actress or singer, nor was she some rich socialite or anybody in the public eye at all.

She was just a mother in her car driving in Los Angeles when a drunken man named Estuardo Alvarado smashed into her car and killed her.

Duran leaves behind children that will now grow up without a mother, which I find especially awful since I have several children myself and cannot even bear the thought of being taken from them now, let alone before they were grown.

This is all bad enough, but made far worse by the fact that Alvarado had already fled the scene of another accident he had just caused. Worse than that, though, was the fact that he was here illegally, had a rap sheet a mile long, was previously deported multiple times, yet still somehow remained in the country.

Let’s start with the obvious: not all immigrants here illegally are violent criminals, and some have even presented evidence – though it has been hotly disputed – that they commit fewer crimes on net than American citizens.

Except the problem is, whether those claims are true or not, there is no getting around the fact that each crime committed by somebody here illegally is a crime that simply would not have happened if that person had not been here.

Does this mean I am suggesting all those here illegally should be rounded up and deported? Of course not. But it does mean that if we cannot even respect immigration laws enough to keep somebody like Alvarado – a man with over 20 felonies and misdemeanors on his record – out of the country, then those laws are a failure and need to be fixed immediately.

It also means that we may want to take a deeper look at some of the other costs of illegal immigration.

Being that I am somebody who came to this country many years ago as an immigrant from Pakistan, I know better than anybody the incredible opportunities America can offer. I came here with nothing and I was able to become a very successful doctor and live an amazing life. But I came here legally and did everything the right way.

And while I sympathize with those who are undocumented – whether they snuck in unlawfully or just overstayed their visas – there is a reason why countries need to have at least some control of their borders. As much as I want to see as many people as possible come here from other countries and do well, when somebody comes here as an undocumented worker, there are people who suffer as a result.

For starters, there are those who wait in line for legal citizenship only to be bypassed and essentially punished for following the law.

But there are also negative consequences for some American workers, especially those who are most in need. As both Senator Bernie Sanders and President Trump pointed out during the 2016 campaign, there are millions of Americans who are suffering. Unskilled laborers haven’t had a significant raise in wages in many years and quite a few of them struggle to find or keep steady employment.

When an undocumented immigrant enters the labor force, this drives down wages for those aforementioned unskilled laborers, because employers would prefer to pay those immigrants the artificially low wages that are far below what an American citizen may accept under the minimum wage laws.

Furthermore, the market becomes flooded with a much greater supply of this cheap, unskilled labor, and fewer jobs exist for working class Americans. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT blaming these immigrants. It is still better for them to make the low wages in this country than it would be to have stayed in their home countries and worked. They are doing what they feel is best for them.

But that doesn’t mean we cannot admit that such lax policies towards illegal immigration come at a cost to many working American citizens.

And in more extreme cases, that cost can be the life of somebody like Sandra Duran.

Many have opposed the border wall, which I completely understand since the logistics of getting it done are both difficult and costly. Plus I’m not so sure it would work, anyway. Nor do I think amnesty in any form is the answer, as that doesn’t fix anything and ultimately just rewards those who broke the law.

But what I do know is that the current lawlessness as it pertains to this issue is flat out unacceptable. I’m not sure what the answer is, but I know damn well that it isn’t to just turn a blind eye as this problem continues to get worse with seemingly no end in sight.

It’s time for some real leadership on this issue, whether it is from the White House, the congress, or some completely outside entity that steps up with good, practical ideas. As a nation, we have twiddled our thumbs about this for far too long and something needs to be done about it before it becomes a problem so big that it becomes impossible to ever solve.

An Independent Investigation Is Underway, But Will You Accept The Results?

05/18/2017 05:04 pm ET

Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157

Congratulations to those who were loudly screaming for an independent investigation of Russia and the Trump campaign. In case you missed it, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named former FBI Director Robert Mueller as independent counsel to run the investigation.

I wrote previously that I believe an independent investigation was not the best idea given the poor results those investigations have produced over the years, and the fact that the FBI is stocked full of trained investigators who are better suited than anybody to undertake an investigation of this magnitude.

I still feel that way.

However, if there is going to be an independent counsel, I am glad it is Robert Mueller.

In case you are unaware of Mueller’s background, he was picked by former President George W Bush to take over the FBI, taking the reins just one week before the 9/11 attacks occurred. He earned the respect of everybody across the political aisle when he – along with James Comey (yes, THAT James Comey) who was Deputy Attorney General at the time – threatened to resign their posts if the Bush administration did not make major changes to its domestic wiretapping program.

In fact, Mueller was so highly regarded that Barack Obama asked him to stay on an additional two years when his original ten year term was up.

At the time, Obama called Mueller the “gold standard” of FBI directors, adding “given the ongoing threats facing the United States, as well as the leadership transitions at other agencies like the Defense Department and Central Intelligence Agency, I believe continuity and stability at the FBI is critical at this time. I am grateful for his leadership, and ask Democrats and Republicans in Congress to join together in extending that leadership for the sake of our nation’s safety and security.”

If you noticed James Comey’s name in connection with Mueller earlier, it is because they are close personal friends and Comey took over for Mueller as FBI director in 2013. Mueller is going to have to put business over friendship if he is going to truly conduct a fair, independent investigation, and most people seem to think he will.

While I support the president, I believe we should see how the investigation plays out, and if it turns out that everybody’s worst fears about president Trump and the Russians are true, we need to be willing to take action against him.

But this whole situation begs an honest question to those who have been crowing about Russia and President Trump for months, seemingly non-stop: Does this satisfy you?

More importantly, if I may paraphrase a question asked of President Trump in the lead up to the 2016 election, will you accept the results of the investigation as legitimate?

Let’s say Robert Mueller holds a press conference months from now and announces that the investigation has uncovered nothing that would be considered significant wrongdoing, will that be enough for you to move on from this whole subject?

If the answer is “yes,” then I give you credit for being open-minded and reasonable in your desire to simply see if anything objectionable actually occurred.

If the answer is “no,” then you should probably just go ahead and admit that your mind is already made up and you don’t care as much about the possibility of Russian collusion as you do undermining a democratically elected president at every turn, regardless of the facts.

I suspect that even if President Trump is exonerated by the Mueller investigation, the accusations of treason and calls for impeachment from those who despise the president and are consumed every waking hour with thoughts of taking him down somehow, will not cease.

I hope I’m wrong. But I’m pretty sure I’m not.

Wait To Get All The Facts Before Losing Your Mind

05/17/2017 04:59 pm ET

Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157

The entire world is going crazy over the New York Times’ report about former FBI Director James Comey’s rumored memo detailing meetings with President Trump in which he asked Comey if he could let the investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn go.

The report was anonymously sourced and we have yet to see any physical evidence of this memo or hear anything about it from Comey. So we should all approach the story with healthy skepticism until such time that we see proof.

So far during the Trump Presidency, we have seen an unprecedented number of leaks coming from all over the place. Current staffers. Former staffers. Some of the leaks have proven to be accurate. Others have been incorrect and seem to have been driven by those with an agenda.

While President Trump isn’t blameless here – he has tweeted recklessly and insulted certain people and organizations giving them a motive to want to hurt him – the lengths to which some with agendas seem willing to go to try to “bring down” the president is a major area of concern.

It isn’t concerning because of President Trump himself. Plenty dislike him intensely and wish to see him harmed politically and that is fine. What is not fine is using the fact that you so despise the president that you use the media to leak things that are either not true or flat out have no business being aired in public.

Just to be clear, I’m not blaming the reporters who are writing the stories based on these leaks. They have a job to do and these leaks ARE news.

But to those doing the leaking, I suggest you think about what you are doing. You may think you are just undermining the current president, but you are really undermining the entire process. After all, if you can set this precedent now, what is to stop others from doing the exact same thing to the next president, or the one after that?

As for the current issue involving James Comey, he has been subpoenaed by congress and so has the rumored memo regarding his conversation with the president. We will hear from him soon enough and see what he has to say. At that point, we can all logically sit down and try to figure out what to make of it.

But for now, the rumor and innuendo make for great chatter, and raises plenty of questions, but until we get actual answers, everybody would be wise to take the leaks with a grain of salt and wait to get the full story. Until we hear more from the key parties involved and get all the facts laid out in front of us, it would be wise to remember a very old saying: believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.