A constitutional crisis

A constitutional crisis September 5, 2018
Vice President Micheal Pence poses for his official portrait at The White House, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, October 24, 2017. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)

I’d like to say a few words about Wednesday’s anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, written by a Trump administration staffer. Go read it, then come back here.

Ready? Ok, here we go.

First, this: “Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.”

Vice President Pence, or whomever wrote this, read carefully: invoking the 25th Amendment is not a constitutional crisis. The 25th Amendment is literally part of the constitution. Invoking it is a constitutional remedy. Do you know what a constitutional crisis is? Quoting from your own op-ed:

  • “…a quiet resistance within the administration” is a constitutional crisis.
  • “…many of the senior officials in [Trump’s] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations” is a constitutional crisis.
  • “…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” is a constitutional crisis. And,
  • “We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t. The result is a two-track presidency” is a constitutional crisis. In fact, I would add that a “two-track presidency” is not only a constitutional crisis, it is possible treason.

And in case you haven’t figured it out yet, a “senior administration official”—who may or may not be the vice president of the United States—publishing this op-ed in the New York Times is a constitutional crisis. But don’t take my word for it. As David Frum wrote in TheAtlantic, “Overt defiance of presidential authority by the president’s own appointees—now that’s a constitutional crisis.”

We are in a constitutional crisis now. We could (hopefully) end that crisis by, yes, invoking the 25th Amendment.

Second, lest anyone get the wrong impression, this was not written to comfort liberals. Despite his words to the contrary early in the piece, the writer wants us to think he’s the “resistance,” a plucky hero bravely defying the commander in chief:

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.

Pardon me while I dab my eye with a tissue. No, wait, there are no tears. This is dripping with too much hypocrisy, cowardice, and naked opportunism for that (I am looking at you, Mr. Pence).

This deluded writer says, “We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.” More prosperous? No, not really, except for one-percenters who already were prosperous. But if we accept for the sake of argument that we are better off, at what cost has that come? Children stolen from their parents and housed in cages and one betrayal of our long-time allies after another, to name just two issues, are nothing to be proud of.

No, this was written to comfort and reassure the Koch brothers and other billionaire GOP string-pullers. The writer is saying, “This is bad but don’t panic. We’re containing his worst impulses and making sure he doesn’t pee on the floor or bang the help on the desk in the Oval Office. Let’s focus on the midterms. Send money.”

Finally, do not be fooled. This op-ed is a distraction. A man behind the curtain telling you to ignore the man behind the curtain. In what is perhaps the piece’s most self-serving line, the writer says, “It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room.”

Oh really? Are these the adults, Evangelicals and right-wing Catholics, who sold their souls and their patrimony to put into office this corrupt, narcissistic vulgarian? Are these the same adults who, according to what was leaked on Tuesday, privately refer to Trump as an “idiot,” “unhinged,” a “f—king liar,” and who cower under their desks rather than, out of loyalty to the country, come forth with what they know? How can the writer of the Times op-ed refer to himself (still looking at you, Mr. Pence) as an adult? An adult would have stuck his name at the top of the piece, damn the consequences.

There is only one way to stop this madness and protect our country. We have to flip at least one chamber of Congress, and preferably both. Deprive the feckless nihilist Mitch McConnell in the Senate and the nihilists in the House GOP of their ability to do what they’ve been doing since January 20, 2017: cover for Trump, implement his destructive agenda, and block any attempt to hold him accountable for creating the greatest constitutional crisis in our country’s history—and remove his ass from office.

I don’t care how much you hate the Democratic Party. If you can’t hold your nose and vote Democrat this one time, for the good of the county, then you’re exactly what the writer of the Times op-ed is: an enabler and a traitor.

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  • Reader Yesterday

    Exactly this. Thank you.

  • lol. Risible.

  • TinnyWhistler

    Well, there’s no point in my ever writing about my reaction to that piece because you’ve said everything I would have.

    If Trump’s administration believes he is unfit for office, it’s their patriotic duty to come forward and advocate for impeachment. If he’s not unfit for office, they need to do their jobs. This is not protecting the country.

  • Walter Boyle

    I will hold my nose and again vote pro-life!

  • Mary

    “Risisble” doesn’t mean “laughable,” it means “capable of laughter.”

  • RoverSerton

    The Republicans have the House, Senate, Presidency and SCOTUS. They have used you and haven’t mentioned Abortion. Think about last time they mentioned being Pro life that wasn’t JUST for your single issue voter vote.