Today, the New York Times ran on op-ed by an anonymous person it described as a senior official in the Trump administration. The title of the piece was “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.” The subtitle was “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
I want to offer the following observations about this piece.
First, the sentiments expressed in it aren’t as unusual as they might seem from the melodramatic title and subtitle. It’s not that unusual for White House officials to believe, and tell others including some in the media, that they are all that stands between the nation and chaos, or worse, the president would unleash if left to his own devices. It’s not unusual for White House officials to create a “trail” (though not in published articles) distancing themselves from an administration that may fail. The Times op-ed is an example of one or both of these scenarios, albeit an extreme one.
Second, it’s entirely unprecedented, I believe, for a White House official to express such sentiments in an op-ed.
Third, therefore President Trump’s team needs to find out who wrote this piece, even if it requires using a polygraph. Once Trump identifies the guy, he should fire him (I assume it’s a male).
Fourth, the op-ed is short on examples in which Trump was about to do something awful, only to be “thwarted” by the senior official or “like-minded colleagues.” By contrast, it’s not short on Trump successes — “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more”.
Examples of where Trump ranted (or tweeted) about doing something awful are probably not hard to come by. But I’m talking about cases where Trump actually make a potentially disastrous decision, only to reverse that decision, or have it thwarted by his staff. There may well be some, but the author doesn’t provide any.
Fifth, the only case in which he attempts to do so is Russia policy. He writes:
On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.
But the actions could only be taken by Trump (or with his sign-off). What the author has served up is neither a scoop nor an extraordinary occurrence.
Everyone knows Trump is reluctant to slide into further confrontation with Russia. Thus, it is natural, though misguided in my view, that he push back against any measure that will lead to, or deepen, such confrontation.
Fortunately, as I see it, his national security team persuaded Trump to take the actions he was reluctant to take. That’s a success story and one that reflects well on the administration.
The author never stops to ask (1) who appointed the national security team and (2) who made the final decision on expelling Russian diplomats. The answer to both questions is Donald Trump.
Sixth, the author concludes:
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.
This statement is so disconnected from political reality, and to some extent from the real John McCain, that Trump shouldn’t need a polygraph to determine the author. How many people can Trump have in senior positions who would write such pabulum?
There is no “reaching across the aisle” to unite with the vicious, increasingly socialist Democrats. They are out to destroy Trump, or any president Republicans prefer, at all costs. They are out radically to transform America.
The author, if he actually believes what he wrote in his conclusion, should be fired for that reason alone.