We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!
On Wednesday, a senior Trump administration official wrote an anonymous op-ed for the New York Times, titled ‘I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.’ New York Times
President Trump tweeted in response, “Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!” Twitter
Across the political spectrum, there are deep concerns about the ramifications of unelected officials thwarting the wishes of a duly elected president.
“The Constitution vests executive power in the president, not ‘senior officials.’ Any authority these appointees have comes from the president, at whose pleasure they serve. For an unelected appointee to hide documents or refuse to carry out the lawful orders of the elected president is not noble. It is not patriotic. It is an assault on democracy... if you feel you can’t serve the president honorably, then there is only one honorable thing to do: Don’t serve at all.” Washington Post
“Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are a constitutional mechanism. Overt defiance of presidential authority by the president’s own appointees—now that’s a constitutional crisis.” The Atlantic
Some on both the left and the right are also criticizing the New York Times.
“The op-ed in this case doesn’t meet [the] standards [for anonymity], not least because it isn’t news. The fact that senior Administration officials have been trying to block Mr. Trump’s uninformed policy impulses, and mute his self-destructive anger and narcissism, has been reported hundreds of times... [this] makes us wonder if the writer’s real purpose is to assist the looming campaign for impeachment. This is certainly the New York Times agenda.” Wall Street Journal
“This writer was allowed by the Times to anonymously promote the strictly partisan idea that it’s best to allow Trump to continue to advance the GOP agenda while trusting unnamed individuals to control Trump’s ‘amorality.’ That is not a patriotic act but one of gross self-interest for the individual and his or her party. No one should condone allowing a reckless, unstable man to continue to be president just to save a party and its policies... Trump is right to call the official ‘gutless’ and to lambaste the Times for allowing the person to remain anonymous.” Huffington Post
Other viewpoints below.
The left takes Mueller’s letter and Barr’s testimony as confirmation that Barr is behaving more like Trump’s defense attorney than the U.S. Attorney General.
“That the decision was made to publish it should tell you that this isn't some disgruntled mid-to-upper manager buried in the bureaucracy... The Times simply wouldn't do what it did for anything short of a major figure in Trump world."
“The suggestion that at least some members of the Cabinet have talked about invoking [the 25th Amendment] is new and shocking. But what does it mean to say that the whisperers didn’t want to precipitate a crisis? After all, the rest of the article makes clear that the crisis already exists and is deadly serious."
The New Yorker
“If we have a president so incompetent that his most trusted advisors have to play peekaboo to preserve national security, then those people should be working to get him out of office, not just spare us from his cruelest impulses."
Los Angeles Times
“The Trump administration planned and executed a policy of seizing infants from their parents at the U.S. border. It did so with such grotesque callousness that it is thus far unable to reunite hundreds of literally kidnapped children with their parents… Anyone who thinks they escape the moral and political taint of this administration by murmuring anonymous misgivings about Trump is a fool as well as a coward."
Counterpoint: “Given the stakes here — up to and including literal nuclear war — there need to be some people working quietly to prevent the worst from happening. Perhaps, at one point in the future, they will be in a position to do more: when Republicans are willing to actually do something about Trump. But right now, a weak resistance is better than no resistance at all."
“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine
“If you’re part of a secret cabal to contain the president’s erratic behavior, it seems counterproductive to notify the erratic president about it. What better way to fuel his paranoia and his persecution complex?"
“‘Senior administration official’ could apply to hundreds and even more than 1,000 people... Narrowing down the writer's role in the administration to at least a place or department is a fair ask of the Times, which clearly reaps benefits from the ambiguity of ‘senior administration official.’"
“Common sense suggests that no Cabinet member or other Trump hire would write this unforgivably damning piece. What would be the point? No one working in the White House will benefit from undermining the president, or from suggesting that he should be replaced."
“If you didn’t believe in the Deep State before, you might believe in it now. If you wondered if there really was a swamp that needed to be drained, you might not wonder anymore. If you weren’t that sure fake news existed, you’d be a lot surer now. And if you wanted to give liberal news sources like the New York Times a fair shake, you’d be a lot less inclined to do so today."
“If Anonymous really believes the president is a threat to the republic, he should quit. No one is forcing him to work for the government. But if he wants to make policy, or thinks Trump should be impeached over his temperament, Anonymous should reveal himself and run for office."
Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…
“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall
Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative
“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic