Book 2 Chapter 120
As with all thing Washington, nothing is simple. The staff had recorded the statement starting thirty minutes before. It had the talking heads making noise with their useless opinions.
The only thing that caught my eye in the pre-statement lead-in was the ad the Marine Corps ran. The General said the poster was going to be reused and they did.
”The few – The Proud – The Marines; a stepping stone to become President.”
The professionals would go over the speech and I would get lessons on how to improve.
Wednesday started early; a nice breakfast with my abbreviated family and VCATS to my home to see how the rest of the family was this morning. That was one thing we had decided on before my mates left. We would do a VCATS twice a day – morning and evening.
Then I made the short walk to the office. The office had already been at work. Today’s intelligence reports were neatly stacked on my desk. The agency specialists had highlighted items by what they thought I should give special attention to. I made my own highlights for the cross examination I would give them in the meetings.
Another paper had the funeral arrangements for President Thomas. His body was to lie in state in the Rotunda for two days; that would be Thursday and Friday. A service was to be held at the National Cathedral on Saturday. The body would be carried by train to Wichita Kansas for internment on Sunday.
Another sealed letter was from the FBI; it contained a copy of the autopsy report on the President.
President Thomas had died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage. The artery was paper thin from a genetic defect, they theorized. He had been a walking time bomb his whole life. The official cause of death was Natural Causes.
I was sure that would not hush the conspiracy pundits who started talking about how he died last night.
The official phone calls started this morning – the first was the prime minister of England. First there was sympathy and then congratulations. Then the discussion covered all the normal topics at an international level.
Others followed by the dozen; Spain, France, Canada, Mexico, Russia and so on. As President all my calls were recorded and then transcribed into the record.
Each time I spoke with a foreign dignitary, the experts listened in ready to inform their masters of everything I said and if I crossed any of the forbidden invisible lines.
The listeners were beside themselves when I spoke in each language I knew. Normally the leader spoke in his language and it was translated at this end. It took them out of the loop – no translators needed.
It was a system I was going to change when the smoke settled. I considered my calls to be private. I wasn’t a six year old whose conversations needed to be monitored. They had changed the rules when I was VP and they were going to change these back now.
At 0900 the House started deliberations on Senator Harrison’s appointment. Senator Harrison and his staff were walking the halls, renewing old friendships and trying to forge new ones. It was after 1200 when they were finished. The vote in the house was scheduled for 1400.
My staff was doing the normal political thing – canvassing votes and taking straw polls. I was learning more and more about the behind the scenes political maneuvers.
The Senate started not long after that at 1000. Senator Harrison made his appearance on the Senate floor to give a speech at 1130. Then it was lunch and back to the House to answer more questions before the vote.
At 1100 I attended the NSA meeting – this time at the head of the table. It was a different feeling – instead of giving a report, the reports were being directed to me and I asked the questions.
Lunch today was unrushed; my next meeting was not until 1400. Lorrie, Sara, Jenny and the boys joined me for lunch. They had been sightseeing this morning with several JBG security.
JJ and RJ had all kinds of tales to tell me about where they had been and looking at monuments and the WW2 museum. They had been recognized by a group of veterans in the museum.
The veterans were volunteer guides and had been explaining about General Eisenhower and how he became President when JJ remarked,” President like Mom is now? Did he live in the White House like Mom?”
”Yes, he lived in the White House like BJ but that was a long time ago,” Jenny said.
”I thought you looked like someone I knew. Your part of President Jones’ family,” he said.
That was all it took for a flurry of pictures and questions. My family was now considered celebrity status on social media.
They would not be as happy this afternoon. It would be school work as usual. Lisa had sent each day’s work by fax. That was the agreement for them to stay with me – they had to stay and maintain a B average in her eyes. Jenny and Lorrie were the enforcers for these next few days.
At 1400 my meeting was with the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of the Navy. Today was a general overview of the Navy and Naval operations. I expected it to take a couple hours. Tomorrow would be when the real ass kicking was going to start. I was sure the overview was going to generate some hard questions.
Each service was going to get two days in the barrel, then I would decide where the ax was going to fall.
At 1430 I was handed a note – the House had approved Senator Harrison by an overwhelming majority. The Senate had scheduled a vote at 1600. Supreme Court Judge Faraday was to do the swearing in at 1630. Faraday and Harrison had gone to Georgetown law school together; old friends.
It was 1600 when the Navy left. I still had a stack of reports and notes to look over for tomorrow’s meeting.
At 1615 I went to the Senate chambers and watched as Judge Faraday gave the oath to Vice President Harrison. That filled the hole in my staff – unless I started firing people.
Tomorrow was going to be complicated. Most of the morning was going to be tied up at the Rotunda. The Presidents body was to be placed on the stand at 0900.
I needed to be there for the short service that was to take place. Then there were the daily meetings that I needed to attend, simply because I had so much to learn.
I spent a quiet evening with Jenny, Lorrie, Sara and the boys. We went swimming in the heated pool. The same pool JFK and Clinton used to have clandestine meetings with their women while their wives were upstairs and the Secret Service acted as lookouts. Well, I didn’t have that to worry about.
After the pool we went to the fitness center – a technical name for the gym – for an hour before we went to our private supper. My JBG security worked out with me. I could no longer just workout on the gym equipment by myself for fear of an accident.
I enjoyed a salad and other low fat food. With all this desk time and no physical activity, I was soon going to have a secretarial ass to deal with.
In the residence part of the White House there were no cameras or recorders. After the boys were in bed Jenny, Lorrie and I had a long talk about things JBG. I would do the same thing when Vicky, Marcy, and Ching Lee came. I could keep up with things that were JBG. It would be another way around all the ethics restrictions that were thrown at me.
When the boys and Sara were asleep Jenny and Lorrie joined me in the king size bed, it was the first intimate contact I had in three days. Bare skin felt just plain wonderful.
We were up early and had a long breakfast. The boys ate a large meal, each had an egg, two slices of bacon, a slice of scrapple, a slice of toast and several glasses of orange juice. Me – I had a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on toast with orange juice.
I dressed in black – there had been no changes to the schedule – the body was to be placed in the rotunda at 0930 sharp. The family was to have the first thirty minutes privately. Then the White House staff and I would go through and finally the House and Senate members could file through. After that it was open to the public that had started lining up hours ago. Until then, I had plenty of reading to do.
It was noon before I was back in the Oval Office to start on the work I should have been doing.
One of those things was to approve the four constitutional legal scholars I had asked Troy to find for me. There were lots of things I needed to know. I was to have a four hour session with each, then one session with all of them together.
I wanted to know exactly what my limits were and how much power I really had. I wanted to be right when I did something and not have things tied up in court for months. I wanted to know what had to be done to make changes in agencies that reported to the President and the fastest way to do that.
There was always more than one way to skin a cat and that applied to the law. I had a growing list of cats I wanted to skin in a lot of federal agencies. The more I read the daily reports, the more I wanted to try to change.
I spent two hours in Section Twelve with Ben. I had a decision to make for the task force in the next few days. I could no longer be chairperson of the task force over-sight committee; I was simply too busy.
I was going to promote Andrew Pollard to chairperson and Anne Hopkins as chief legal consul. I was going to have to fill the other position. Ben did not want the position, because of possible conflict with his NSA position that we both felt was too important for him to give up.
I sent a notice to both the House and Senate of Andrew’s promotion and the change of status for Anne.
I would do the presidential thing and have a staff meeting to pick the person for the third position.
We had already filled out the supper menu that we wanted and the time we wanted it.
In the Lincoln bedroom while we waited, we did another VCATS to the office to keep up with things that were going on.
Andy, Vicky, Ching Lee and Marcy were in the meeting room.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.