In what is almost certainly an unprecedented situation, a “senior official” in the Trump administration has written an op-ed piece for the New York Times, anonymously, saying that he and other top officials (also unnamed) recognize how dangerous Trump is and are working to prevent him from following his worst impulses. This on the heels of Bob Woodward’s book that chronicles the many ways in which his own aides treat him like a child (because he acts like one, of course).
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 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…
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…
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.
This has all been quite obvious to anyone paying attention for a long time, of course, but it’s good to see someone in the administration actually put it out there publicly. I do wonder, though, if this is the right approach. Imagine a different scenario, where this official and other top aides and officials all got together and quit, holding a press conference to put their names to this and tell every story they have to back it up. Imagine if it even included a cabinet secretary or two, like the head of DHS, who clearly has some major problems with Trump. That would be a very powerful message, and absolutely unprecedented in American history.
One anonymous person in the administration can be dismissed. Half a dozen or more resigning en masse and blowing the whistle on Trump’s appalling behavior would be far more difficult. And I suspect it might set off a chain reaction of other Republicans deciding to jump ship, including many in Congress. This is an open secret in DC. Everyone knows that every word of this is true and there are a lot of Republicans who despise Trump and see him clearly for what he is but are afraid of bucking him out of party loyalty. I suspect that this kind of thing might well topple a lot of other dominoes and set off a reaction where a significant chunk of Republican politicians, advisers and thinkers decide that this is the time to take down the elephant.
And frankly, they would be heroes, and history would treat them as such. I think this is a better approach than the one this official is taking, but I could be wrong. In the meantime, this is a powerful statement in and of itself.