Anonymous Op-Ed in The New York Times by senior Trump administration official

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by SueEllenRules!, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. SueEllenRules!

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    I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

    The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

    ______

    President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

    It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

    The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

    I would know. I am one of them.

    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.

    Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

    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.

    Don’t get me wrong. There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

    But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.

    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.

    “There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.

    The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

    It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. 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.

    Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

    Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.

    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.

    This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

    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. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

    The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

    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.

    The writer is a senior official in the Trump administration.

    Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook and Twitter (@NYTopinion).

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opin...p-administration/ar-BBMVtbs?OCID=ansmsnnews11
     
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    Times Publishes Anonymous Op-Ed From Member of ‘Resistance’ Within Administration. Trump Calls It ‘Gutless.’

    WASHINGTON — President Trump denounced what he called a “gutless editorial” posted by The New York Times on Wednesday, an essay written by an unnamed administration official claiming that advisers to the president were deliberately trying to thwart his “reckless decisions” from the inside.

    At an event at the White House, Mr. Trump angrily assailed The Times for publishing the Op-Ed column, the second time in two days that news reports highlighted the way that some members of his team quietly seek to undermine the president when they believe he may be acting dangerously.

    “We have somebody in what I call the failing New York Times talking about he’s part of the resistance within the Trump administration,” the president said. “This is what we have to deal with.”

    [Read the Op-Ed.]

    He went on: “So when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who’s failing, and who’s probably here for all the wrong reasons. No. And The New York Times is failing.” He added: “So if the failing New York Times has an anonymous editorial, can you believe it, anonymous, meaning gutless, a gutless editorial.”

    Not long afterward, Mr. Trump turned to Twitter to continue his complaints and posted one message that said simply, “TREASON?”

    The Op-Ed piece came just a day after reports on the coming book, “Fear,” by Bob Woodward, which depicts a White House often in disarray and filled with advisers struggling to prevent Mr. Trump from actions they consider damaging to the country. Among other things, aides sneaked documents off the president’s desk to prevent him from signing them, according to the book.

    The book and the column collectively raise questions about Mr. Trump’s ability to govern and the struggle among his staff members between loyalty to the president they serve and a sense among some that they have a higher duty to keep him from going too far at the risk of the country’s security and stability.

    The author of the piece described being part of “a quiet resistance within the administration,” but while the identity is known to the editors of the editorial pages, it was withheld because that person’s job might be in jeopardy.

    The official described the president’s leadership as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” and cited “unsung heroes” and “adults in the room” who tried to prevent disaster. At one point, the official wrote, there was talk of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment to declare Mr. Trump unable to discharge his duties, but no one wanted a constitutional crisis.

    “We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous,” the official wrote. “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,” he added.

    The official’s description of Mr. Trump’s management mirrors Mr. Woodward’s account as well as reporting by many news organizations and other authors over the last 20 months. “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,” the official wrote.

    The Op-Ed pages of The Times are managed separately from the news department. The Op-Ed editors wrote that they took the rare step of publishing a column without naming the author because of the significance of the subject. “We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers,” they wrote.

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, issued a written statement criticizing the anonymous official.

    “The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States,” she said. “He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”

    Ms. Sanders said the newspaper acted irresponsibly. “We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to publish this pathetic, reckless and selfish Op-Ed,” she said. “This is a new low for the so-called paper of record, and it should issue an apology, just as it did after the election for its disastrous coverage of the Trump campaign. This is just another example of the liberal media’s concerted effort to discredit the president.”

    The Times never issued such an apology. The publisher and executive editor sent a letter to subscribers after the November 2016 election acknowledging questions about whether Mr. Trump’s surprise victory meant that the newspaper and other news outlets had underestimated his support.

    “As we reflect on the momentous result, and the months of reporting and polling that preceded it,” the letter said, “we aim to rededicate ourselves to the fundamental mission of Times journalism.”

    Follow Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman on Twitter: @peterbakernyt @maggienyt.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/us/politics/trump-new-york-times-anonymous-editorial.html
     

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