In a move that risks exposing them to even more vicious rants of “fake news” in unhinged presidential tweets, The New York Times today published an anonymous Op-Ed essay from a senior official in the Trump administration who openly admits that he and other ‘like-minded colleagues….have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The newspaper prefaced the essay with a statement explaining the departure from their usual policy of requiring that the identities all Op-Ed authors to be verified and disclosed.
“The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers,” the paper’s editorial board explained.
The content of the Op-Ed quickly demonstrates why the author requested anonymity and why the White House today must be a hive of whispers and intrigue as the staff tries to determine who is behind the damning content. The author begins his essay with a confirmation of one of the worst take-aways from the portrait of the Trump White House as portrayed in noted journalist Bob Woodward’s new book.
“President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.”
“It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.”
“The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
“I would know. I am one of them.”
An admission like that means that the author is risking not only their job, but potentially their liberty as the notoriously litigious Trump is sure to scream treason in a belligerent tweet as soon as he reads it.
The anonymous source takes pains to differentiate their stance from the typical public notion of the “resistance.”
“To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.”
“But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”
“That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
The author then explains the source of the problem these rebellious White House insiders see with the president.
“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”
“Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.”
“In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.”
To make it clear that they are not left wing idealogues opposed to the Republican agenda, the author cites their support for deregulation, the repugnant tax breaks for billionaires, and out of control military spending. However, they cite these “successes” as having been accomplished despite the president’s “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” leadership style.
“From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.”
“Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.”
“’There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,’ a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.”
They then go on to try to reassure the American public that they and their like-minded colleagues are the last bulwark of hope preventing the administration and the country as a whole from descending into chaos, in a somewhat self-serving assessment.
“The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.”
“It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”
They then continue to describe a “two-track presidency” where Trump is advocating practices and policies that would feel right at home in an autocratically-controlled society, while what the right-wing refers to as the “deep state” — rebranded the “steady state” by the author — ignores his rants and maintains a modicum of normalcy.
The most shocking revelation contained in the Op-Ed is the admission that even at the beginning of the administration “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” to remove the president due to his inability to discharge the powers and duties of the office. Unfortunately, they decided to avoid precipitating a constitutional crisis and simply vowed to do what they could to contain the president’s worst impulses.
The Op-Ed concludes with a lament on the current state of the body politic and a call to the American people to transcend politics to come together.
“The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.”
“Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.”
“We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.”
“There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.”
After a day of labeling all the tales of internal strife in the Oval Office contained in Bob Woodward’s book as lies promulgated by Democratic shills, the White House is sure to label this latest desperate plea from rogue administration officials as “fake news,” and his gullible supporters will continue to place their faith in the false and dangerous quasi-deity that they have transformed him into in their minds.
Let’s hope that, whatever their motives, some adults remain in control in the administration, even after the inevitable purge occurs in the coming days.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.