President Trump has blown his top — again. His supporters and detractors are at each other’s throats — again. And the country slides a little deeper on the swamp that the president promised to drain.
Other than that, it’s hard to tell what really was accomplished by the torch job of an oped written by an anonymous “senior White House official” and published this week by the New York Times.
The op-ed paints a portrait of a commander-in-chief who is erratic, petty and amoral; someone to whom a decision made is often temporary, too often a whim. “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.”
But the for the revelation that there are members of the “resistance” inside the White House, the op-ed likely changed no American’s mind about this president. Trump’s true believers say it’s more of the same from the “enemy of the people,” the media. Those who loathe him, too, had their worst suspicions confirmed once again.
The authorship denials came fast and furiously. Vice President Pence? No. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo? Uh-uh. Defense Secretary Mattis? Nope. Even Trump’s favorite scapegoat, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, says he’s not the one who wrote the op-ed.
And while all this has spawned a national guessing game — Who wrote that scathing essay? — it has also put Cabinet members, advisers and staffers under the suspicion of their boss, demonstrably an unstable, unfit potentate who despises disloyalty. And it puts the rest of us in real danger from his recklessness.
The op-ed conveyed that there are resisters in the White House who are constantly pushing back against the president’s worst instincts and are saving the republic from true catastrophe. “The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House,” the official wrote. “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 …”
Well, if this is true, who is going to do the rescuing now that the secret is out? Who among White House insiders will defy the president, will go behind his back, casting the light of possible guilt upon themselves?
The president called the piece “gutless.” We think that a truly heroic official would shed anonymity, resign and lobby loudly for a compliant Congress, silent in the face of one egregious presidential act after another, to grow a spine and to finally put the health of this democracy first.
The op-ed may have been “gutless” in the president’s eyes. But this spineless Congress has been far worse.