At 0700 I was eating breakfast while I was reading today’s security briefs. Today there was a brief from the UN Ambassador about yesterday’s freighter and weapons capture.
The brief contained a full listing of all the weapons captured and technical information about the crew and ship’s captain. There was also a complete description of the action including statements by the men of my coastal patrol ships and the four aircraft pilots.
Admiral West had requested all video from the go-pro cams the crews of the JBG ships were wearing. Andy had yet to make a decision – I was sure he was waiting on a legal advisement from the office.
I sent a text to Andy that I saw no reason to release the videos to the Navy unless he was getting video back in exchange; it was to be a two way exchange, not one way. There was no value for JBG in a one way unless there were compelling circumstances.
At 0800 the three from the Agriculture Department were scheduled to be here. Troy and Connie had put the information from their last meetings with President Thomas on my desk. I had already read it and highlighted items I wanted answered from that meeting
They were sent a list of documents they were ordered to bring five days ago.
It was 0830 when they showed – Strike Qne. I was President; be on time for my meetings.
I asked for the documents they were instructed to bring that gave the numbers on the food programs they supplied direct payments to.
”There was not enough time to gather them,” Dirk Blake replied.
”They were the same documents that you were to bring to the meeting with President Thomas last month. I see no reason the reports should not be ready by now.” Strike Two.
I started asking questions that were unanswered from the previous meeting.
Out of the first ten questions they answered none with a direct answer. Strike Three!
”Today’s meeting with you was to write and put finishing touches on new rules for the aid programs you administer. I am changing guidelines and time lines for those programs. I want the changes posted in the federal register today to take effect in thirty days,” I said.
”You seem to be stuck in a position that you will not cooperate with this administration as with the previous administration. You may have gotten away with that posture with President Thomas but you will not with me,” I said.
”Connie, will you get me three each of both forms I asked you to type up on Friday?” I said.
The forms were simple – one was a resignation form, fill in the blanks and check boxes. ‘I resign because I want to spend more time with my family or personal reasons.’ Another was ‘I have secured employment elsewhere to improve my resume.’ With another ‘I wish to rejoin the private work force.’
The other was similar but termination and it had three copies with check-off boxes for reasons. The White House attorneys wrote the reasons so they would be legal.
”I don’t think you are going to be a fit in my administration. I expect people to on time to my meetings. I expect them to bring all requested reports and be able to reasonably answer my questions. You have done none of those things,” I said.
”Therefore I am left with two options, ones is to allow you to resign and the other is to fire you. One or the other is happening today as in now. The first one is preferable to most individuals,” I said as I passed the forms to each of them.
I wrote a note to Troy: ”Have security pack up all their personal things in their offices. Have their computer access and all logins canceled immediately and deactivate their ID cards, collect them and all government issued computers and phones.”
“Notify the Ag committees in both houses they have been terminated and a name will be submitted to take over the agency in the next few days,” I added.
”Have you decided?” I asked.
They filled out the resignation form and left.
Working with the rest of my staff, we wrote the new regulations for the Agriculture Department. It started by restricting the length of time for many federal aid programs to two years at full finance, one year at fifty percent and then ending. It was sent by courier to all the appropriate places to get in this week’s Federal Register.
All federal rules had to be published before taking effect. Depending on the rule, most were sixty days and some ninety days. The time could be shortened to thirty days by urgent circumstances. We had gone with thirty days on this rule.
I called the number two deputy directors to come to the White House immediately. Let’s see if they knew what immediately meant.
That was all the scheduled business meetings I had for today. My family was coming over in a couple hours. In the meantime I had one more run-through with Adam and the teleprompter. There were some words that were changed that I paid little attention to.
In fact there were two more – the last being with Troy and some of my staff as the audience.
At 1600 the family arrived, the chef was working on a fancy dinner for all of us. While that was going on I took the family back to President’s living quarters that Mrs. Thomas had just vacated.
It was the part of the White House that was never shown to the public. I explained how I had the rooms set up so they could come spend as much time as they wanted. The cribs and children’s bed that had been in the Lincoln bedroom and the Queens bedroom were moved to the private residence.
I could now use those rooms as perks for my high dollar campaign contributors. Only problem with that was I had none.
Dinner was great; it was at least a five-star meal. When we finished there was time to relax for a little while.
I changed into the best pantsuit I had. It was new and hand-fitted by one of the world’s well known clothiers. Many of the well known clothiers had requested that I wear designer clothes made by them at little or no cost.
The White House wanted to pay for it through one of the miscellaneous budgets but I wouldn’t allow it. I didn’t need the flack when the media found out.
After dressing I went to the makeup group. This was only the second time I used them, then on to the hairdresser. My hair was teased, curled, fluffed, sprayed and a dozen more things.
While this was going on my family was carried to the Congressional building and shown to their seats. My mates were going to walk in with me and VP Harrison before going to their seats. Takeo and Sara were going to stay in the White House with a nurse and Abra. My two little men wanted to go and were dressed in their suits.
Adam was going to be on hand to make sure the three teleprompters worked correctly. There was one for any direction, plus one in the podium if I glanced down.
At 2000 exactly we walked down the hall and into the joint session of Congress. My mates went first and to their seats as the VP and I – shaking hands and speaking to the invited dignitaries – made our way in. The members were standing and clapping when I finally stepped behind the podium.
”Thank you, please be seated.”
”I want to thank the distinguished members of the House and Senate for allowing me to use this hallowed hall. I want to thank the Justices of the Supreme Court for coming. I want to thank retiring Justice Copeland for the years of dedicated service to the judiciary. We will miss her eloquent opinions and statements. I want to thank my family, friends and invited guests.”
”I must say that I am nervous tonight – more nervous than I was at the first date I went on.”
The place erupted in laughter. That was the intent Adam and I had put it in as an ice breaker.
”Tonight’s State of the Union – because of unfortunate circumstances – is going to be a little different. Tonight I am going to talk about where we have been, where we are and where we are going as a nation for the next eight years as your President,” I said.
There was an oops – a big one. I was supposed to stop at the end of nation, wait then start a new paragraph. The word eight was not in the last draft I had read for practice or the ‘S’ on years. It should have read for the next year. It was the first of several missteps that changed the meaning of several points altogether.
I quickly corrected the error and I hoped that no one would catch it. The speech was different at a couple other places than the last reading and I wondered if it was something Adam had done.
I spoke for an hour and fifteen minutes, interrupted multiple times by applause at the appropriate places. At the end I walked first to my family and we then walked towards the exit shaking hands on both sides of the isle in the process. I stopped at the box where the Justices were sitting and spoke to each of them. I told Justice Copeland the flight to Hawaii was arranged and was just waiting on her to pick a day.
Back at the White House there was a party. My staff was happy; other than the couple of mistakes it had been a good speech, well received by Congress. The public and media reaction would have to wait until the late news and the morning addition papers.
It was nice to have all my family spending the night with me – even the prosecution masters of fifty questions each; JJ and RJ.
The kitchen sent up breakfast menus, JJ and RJ could not believe they could pick tonight what they wanted for breakfast tomorrow. I sat and helped them pick out what they wanted. I helped them sound out each word item and explained it. There were lots of items we never had for breakfast at home.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.