The New York Times published an extraordinary op-ed yesterday, written by “a senior official in the Trump administration.” An anonymous opinion piece is extraordinarily rare, especially in big newspapers, but in a short note to readers, NYT notes that the editors know the author’s identity, and they chose to publish the piece anonymously to give “an important perspective.”
The unnamed author explains with the piece that they are one of “many” in the incompetent Trump administration who are currently “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The author isn’t a progressive opponent of the president’s conservative agenda. Rather, they’re a Republican who truly believes that Trump is a dangerous, amoral, unprincipled buffoon acting “in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”
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. […]
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 piece’s author describes the “two-track presidency” in which an unhinged president heads in one direction, while the responsible adults around him subtly and quietly steer the administration in the other.
It’s a challenge to figure out the motivation behind the article. The author seems determined to reassure the American public that there is a structure in place that can contain Trump’s madness and consistently prevent him from creating any catastrophes.
But that’s not very reassuring. The nation is led by an insane man.
He/she acknowledges that there was behind-the-scenes chatter regarding a 25th Amendment solution, which got dismissed to avoid what they call a “constitutional crisis.” But if the head of a superpowered nation’s executive branch is totally unstable, and major White House decisions are made by unelected and unaccountable aides who are working around and undermining a mad president, we already have a constitutional crisis.
The search for the author of the op-ed is going to be intense. But the genuinely scary message is important than who the messenger is.