For a presidential administration that redefines bonkers on a weekly basis, an anonymous op-ed published by the New York Times on Wednesday somehow managed to be truly out of left field.
The essay, written (according to a Times editorial note) by “a senior official in the Trump administration,” claimed that a handful of top aides in the White House are “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of (Trump’s) agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The author sought to assure us that the Republican “resistance” inside the White House is working on the nation’s behalf. Breathe easy, America, these “adults in the room” heart John McCain and “civility,” and they find “tribalism” to be a bummer.
There’s just one teensy-weensy problem. While the anonymous author waxes tritely about “everyday citizens rising above politics” and “reaching across the aisle” and “shedding labels,” he or she and the cadre of supposed resisters embedded in the White House lack the one quality, the one virtue with which they could make a difference in their country’s hour of need: courage.
If the writer truly believes that “the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic,” then action — not words — is necessary. These supposed White House resisters need to stick their necks out. Name themselves. Put their own careers and reputations on the line to solve a crisis they helped create.
But no, like the Republican majorities in Congress, they hide behind the curtains, fearful to call out the president on his many lies and struggles to manage the responsibilities of the office he holds.
Earlier this week, we learned from published excerpts from reporter Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” that the president’s retainers have taken to purloining documents from his desk so he can’t sign them — and enact fresh mayhem.
That’s where we are, America. Our choice is between the vain, reckless dummkopf chosen by the Electoral College and a bunch of unelected right-wing mandarins trying to manage him so he doesn’t blow up the world before they can enact their agenda.
And their agenda is being enacted. Regulatory agencies have been handed over to industry hacks and lobbyists to run. Massive tax cuts have transferred huge wealth upward to the rich from the poor and middle class. The Senate will still confirm Brett Kavanaugh, who will seal a conservative stranglehold on the U.S. Supreme Court for a generation.
And yet Trump has done great damage to national interests — and collaterally to the Republican Party. Trump has alienated our closest allies, the Canadians, in the process of a completely pointless revision of the North American Free Trade Agreement, upending established supply chains and undermining the American workers Republicans like to claim they care so much about. (True, the economy is growing at a steady clip, but it hasn’t translated into rising paychecks for most workers.)
Trump has insulted our NATO allies in an inexplicably single-minded assault on the longstanding treaty organization. He has gutted the State Department and undermined the nation’s intelligence agencies, especially the initiatives charged with protecting the nation against cyber attacks.
His immigration policy is distinguished by bigoted gestures and conspicuous acts of cruelty to poor and defenseless people.
And then there is the question of the president’s criminality. The investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues apace, having secured guilty pleas and convictions of key Trump insiders. The president himself is an unindicted conspirator in the charges to which his lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty. The chances of removal from office and prison are quite real for Trump.
That fact, and the blowback from Trump’s policy agenda, has Republicans justifiably nervous.
Which explains the anonymous op-ed in the Times — not principle.
The piece is not a testament from a patriot, a stealth warrior deep inside the administration. It’s the chirp of someone feeling the ship going down.
I’m not buying it.
No doubt, The New York Times vetted it thoroughly. And it is most certainly true that some good Republicans are aghast at the president’s unhinged tendencies. Common sense should have told everyone that already.
What you don’t see is any real shift in the GOP. Caught in tight races, incumbents continue to latch onto canards about immigrants running amok, the horrors of unionized teachers and “socialized” health care.
Yet we’re being told to believe that the best defense against the dictatorial whims of the current president is the doings of an anonymous whistle-puffer (true whistleblowers sound alerts and lead to action).
No. Let’s take to the voting booths in November and elect those who truly wish to serve and uphold the laws and the Constitution. Let Mueller’s investigation proceed unhindered to its conclusion.
Let’s reinvigorate a civic culture of participation in politics and watchfulness over those we elect. And let’s never buy into self-justifications of those who made Trump reign of error possible.
Readers can reach Mary Sanchez at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @msanchezcolumn.