By Prarthana Mitra
The New York Times Opinion section on Wednesday took the rare call to publish an anonymous piece by someone who claimed to be “a senior official in the Trump administration” and part of a “quiet resistance” in the White House.
The author, whose identity is known only to the NYT Op-Ed team, mentions “unsung heroes” on the President’s attaché, “working diligently from within” to thwart his misguided principles, referring to his anti-democratic and anti-trade policies, and “frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
Working against the president’s impulses
This comes a day after reports on Bob Woodward’s new book Fear revealed furtive efforts by the White House aides to prevent the president when they believe he may be acting dangerously. This is also not the first time that the brewing tensions between Trump and his staffers have manifested in a public spat.
“I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Republican senator and Trump critic Bob Corker said in an interview with The Times. In January this year, Michael Wolff had exposed the chaos behind the scenes and confirmed the growing doubt about Trump’s mental fitness to govern, in his book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.
The book’s publisher had written in a press release, “We see ‘Fire and Fury’ as an extraordinary contribution to our national discourse”, which echoes The Times‘ reasoning behind publishing “the strongest case anyone has seen” involving people in the top levels of the White House. It is a necessary reality check for all Trump supporters as more and more people who believe in Trump’s agenda to make America great again, don’t trust Trump to carry that agenda out.
“We are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t”
In the opinion piece, the writer claims,
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.
Calling the president’s leadership style “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective,” the official wrote, adding that senior officials are “working to insulate their operations from his whims.” Although not always successful, White House aides have reportedly gone to great lengths to contain bad decisions to the West Wing.
The implications of this two-track presidency, however, run deeper and portend a more sinister gubernatorial reality in the US. The possibility of a “deep state” running the country cannot be ruled out, especially when the president is keen on showing a preference for autocrats like Putin and Kim, while “the rest of the administration is operating on another track,” and actively calling Russia out for meddling.
Amidst speculation of invoking the 25th Amendment to relieve the president from duties, Trump has hit back at the gutless and treasonous. The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called the Op-Ed piece “pathetic, reckless and selfish.” “This coward should do the right thing and resign,” she said in her press statement.
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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