The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported this morning that Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, a long-time Army reservist, had talked with the Trump administration about being Trump’s Army secretary. No decision has been made but Sen. Tom Cotton says he’s pushing it.
Trump’s top pick for the job, Vincent Viola, dropped out because of business entanglements. Griffin, who does unspecified political consulting work of some sort in addition to presiding over the state Senate, doesn’t have much in the way of business holdings to worry about.
The Democrat-Gazette failed to mention a fact of some relevance in Griffin’s resume:
It is a past — not a pleasant one — with Bud Cummins of Little Rock, who was Trump’s campaign chairman in Arkansas.
Griffin was a political hit man for the Bush White House. He used his connections with Karl Rove to get Bud Cummins dumped as U.S. attorney in Little Rock so that Griffin could be installed in the job as a political career builder. Another Republican U.S. attorney of the Bush era talked at length about Griffin’s perfidy.
There was a time that Cummins, his friends and family talked bitterly about Griffin’s submarining, which included negative whispers about Cummins’ leadership. Said former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton of Arizona in the article linked above:
“Character matters,” Charlton said. “And I don’t think people change over a short period of time. Most people can change their ways over a long period of time and a good bit of reflection, but I think Mr. Griffin is the same person today as he was when he sought the position of U.S. attorney. The true Griffin is the individual we saw reflected in e-mails he was sending to Karl Rove, for example, saying he would name his first child after Rove if it was a boy, or slandering Bud or crying at the Clinton Library in a talk about public service. Those are examples of the individual that now wants to represent Arkansas in congress.”
…. I think one of the things that he did was spread the rumors around the White House that Bud Cummins was not a good U.S. attorney. When the inspector general’s report came out and they asked people about the source of that rumor, it all pointed back to Mr. Griffin. He was the sole source of that information. He, for example, lied about the number of trials he had when he was in JAG [the reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps]. I’m a career prosecutor. I think how many prosecutions and felony jury trials you’ve had means something, especially for anyone who wants to take the job of U.S. attorney. If you misrepresent that, then you need to be held to account for that. I think the fact that he was at a mind at one point in time to emotionally claim that he would never be in public service again because it wasn’t worth it, and to now be vigorously running for office, I think that’s worth examination. I don’t know if he was telling the truth then or telling the truth now. That’s an inconsistency that I think ought to be explored.
Charlton spoke in Little Rock while Griffin was in a race for Congress against Democrat Joyce Elliott. Cummins at the time declined to say who he’d be voting for in that race.
After initially supporting Marco Rubio in 2016, Griffin got on board the Trump team in Arkansas. Bud Cummins was strong for Trump from early on and has been a stout defender of him on social media. I’ve sought a comment, but he’s been careful on Griffin in the past publicly, if not so much privately. Meanwhile, he’s still solidly on board with Donald Trump, as his review of the president’s speech to Congress indicates.
Put me down as somebody who thinks President Trump is exceeding expectations. I expected him to be good. This is much better than good. https://t.co/YgWW30foSQ
— Bud Cummins (@BudCummins) March 1, 2017
Perhaps Cummins has let bygones be bygones relative to Griffin and wouldn’t intervene with Trump if he still did, understandably, harbor some ill feelings.
Speaking of Cummins: He could always come back as U.S. attorney when Trump’s Justice Department begins making its moves. (Attorney General Jeff Sessions has some problems now that he has been caught lying to Congress. He met with a Russian diplomat/spy recruiter during the campaign but told Congress he knew of no contacts between the campaign and Russia. There were many, by him and others.)
There’s also a lot of chatter that Cummins more likely is in line for a federal judgeship if and when another opening develops on the federal bench in Arkansas.