Anonymous op-ed exposes life inside Trump administration

The “senior White House official” responsible for an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times is clearly not somebody willing to “sacrifice everything.”

The anonymous op-ed, paints a truly horrifying picture of a dysfunctional, barely existent executive branch.

“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,” he/she/it writes.”I would know. I am one of them.”

The writer clarifies that s(he) isn’t part of the leftist resistance because s(he) wants the administration to succeed.

“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,” the op-ed says.

“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.”

Except, of course, sacrifice a paycheck to save the country, apparently.

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 writer depicts the president as unstable.

“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,” the op-ed says.

The Times says it allowed the anonymity — an ongoing complaint against the paper — because it believes “publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.”

Reaction: This is a constitutional crisis (The Atlantic)

  • Paul Weimer

    Oy vey

  • Erik Petersen

    I’d say this is a pretty pregnant moment in domestic affairs…

  • Jim in RF

    Must have been some weird looks between staffers today.

    • Devon Rémy

      Hopefully a lot of knowing glances and secret handshakes.

  • crystals
  • AL287

    I think the millions of Americans who did not vote for Trump knew this already.

    Why the 39% continue to defend his erratic and irrational behavior and decisions is beyond me or anyone else to answer. The same goes for the sheeple Republicans.

    He has no clue how to govern because he has only had to answer to one man his entire adulthood—himself and there was a hefty price to be paid by anyone who dared to contradict him.

    Thankfully there are “traitors” in the administration who love America and understand that America is is stronger when we are united than divided.

    We can only hope the Democrats are successful in gaining a majority in the House and/or the Senate so the lunacy and dramatics come to an end.

    • Regarding the 39%, there will always be people for whom “winning” is more important than anything. Anything! Whether they come to this belief by thoughtful assessment of their life experience or perhaps just by watching sycophantic media really doesn’t matter that much. They are wrong – and that is a problem for the rest of us who get dragged along for the ride. Sadly, by the time even Trump’s most stolid supporters see the light, it will be too late for the United States to ever hope to recover. That is why people of good will must show up to vote. Every. Single. Time.

      • AL287

        This midterm election is going to be more important than any election for the last several generations.

        I want to get off this ride!

  • RBHolb

    Pardon me for not joining the chorus, Mx. Anonymous, but unless you are willing to step up and say who you are, your pronouncements are going to ring pretty hollow.

    You know, I’m sure, that your boss* and his acolytes are going to dismiss whatever you said as “fake news” delivered by no one knows whom. The rest of us are going to have to take what you say with a grain of salt. Sure, it’s bias confirmation, but that is pretty small beer. It’s not enough to validate our thinking because validation changes nothing.

    Those of us who long for at least sanity in government are waiting for someone to step up publicly and say what is really going on. An identifiable name and a real person who is willing to accept the consequences could be the first crack in the wall that lets sanity return.

    *Is he really your boss? Do you really work in the White House, or is this some elaborate prank to own the liberal media? Without a name, we may never know until you try to rehabilitate your post-Trump reputation by saying your were “Anonymous,” and onto him all along.

    • John

      The thing I have to wonder – If the author were to go on record with their identity, would that change any of the above? The president and his acolytes will still call it and believe it is fake news – it doesn’t agree with them, and that’s their standard response when they don’t like something.

      The author will certainly be fired.

      If s/he is really doing some good in his/her role, then that will be lost.

      If s/he signed one of the NDA’s discussed by the internet outrage machine a couple weeks back, s/he will be sued into oblivion.

      So, other than removing some of the skepticism among those of us who are skeptical no matter what, what would be gained by knowing who the author is? I’m not sure that there’s a lot of value in identifying themself.

      • If it’s a senior administration official — that historically has referred to a VP, Secretary of State, Defense Secretary, WH Counsel, Chief of Staff, or spokesperson so *if* the NY Times used the term consistent with past use and IF that person unmasked and said the president is unstable and democracy is imperiled, that would most certainly trigger a constitutional crisis that even this group of Republicans in congress simply couldn’t ignore.

        the reason this message can be ignored is for one reason alone: it’s anonymous.

        • John

          Gotcha. I didn’t really understand what “senior administration official” meant. I had assumed it was someone appointed by the pres, or was high ranking white house staff, who could be fired/replaced at the whim of the pres, and thus any stabilizing effect they were/are having would be negated.

        • MikeB

          I think it has more resonance right now because it is anonymous. Saw from Twitter last night – so I can’t claim as my own – that if a named source then the focus would be on that person, their history, their personal career motivations etc rather than the message. We will soon learn who it is, but this is intended as a shock to the system, to lay a path to the next step. We just don’t know what that step is yet.

    • Joseph

      Let’s not forget the importance of a fellow known as “Deep Throat” during the Nixon Administration…. just because they choose to remain anonymous (to collect more damming evidence for eventual impeachment/prosecution and/or continue to run internal interference) doesn’t mean they are lying either.

      • True, but that wasn’t a public declaration that was anonymous. That was just a source steering reporters.

        • MikeB

          A source that was motivated by revenge rather than what was best for ther country. Thank goodness for spite.

        • Joseph

          Still was a single anonymous source who was quoted in the widely shared reporting as the sole source for much of the information.

    • MikeB

      If nothing happens from here, no public revelation or resignation, then this is a cowardly act. But considering that the Congressional GOP and the cabinet has abdicated its constitutional responsibilities it is understandable. We ‘ve heard many of the same claims elsewhere as this WH leaks like a sieve, including the current POTUS.
      The current occupants clearly prioritize party over country, and we are seeing the results in real time. Allies cannot trust the US, our enemies are strengthened. After the rubble all will say they had nothing to do with this, they wanted to do the right thing, etc. and discount the disaster they were a part of.

      • RBHolb

        It’s worse than cowardly. It’s reputation insurance. When the Trump administration is history, and the longest-serving members of his staff are pounding the pavement looking for work, one of them will be able to say “I wasn’t one of the bad ones! I was Anonymous!”

  • Blasko

    I would not want a president I favor, or one that I appreciate, to be subjected to a public opinion trial based on this kind of evidence. The same has to go for a president I clearly do not favor in any way. Trump’s actions speak for themselves, but opinion articles like this from the NY Times only serve to bolster his “victim” image with his base, and do little to actually inform the public.

    • kevins

      If it is true that this was penned by a “senior” administration official, then it impresses me as MUCH more than opinion.

      • Blasko

        Sure, but the “if” remains, and it’s still an opinion column. Had this kind of piece come out against President Obama, I would have urged caution. I have to hold myself to that standard.

        • kevins

          I admire your patience and restraint, but to put trump and Obama on the same plane on anything requires some intellectual gymnastics.

  • emersonpie

    Other presidents were assisted by un-elected wives and staff: Wilson after his stroke and Reagan in the last two years (are there more?) And I don’t want WWIII or another of the catastrophes that Anonymous says were prevented by his/her actions.

    By what yardstick will voters – or historians – judge this presidency?

    • RBHolb

      Letting Anonymous and their fellow resisters off the hook means bad things are going to be overlooked because of hypothetical worse things.

      Case in point: Secretary Mattis is regarded as one of the tempering influences in the Trump cabal. Because of that, it becomes a matter of importance to overlook his involvement with Theranos. We’ll let slide the fact that he served as a frontman for a massive fraud, because Lord only knows what would happen without him!

      • MikeB

        It’s more of a balance. If Mattis is preventing troops in Korea or the Middle East that is more important than corporate board ineptitude. His replacement would be a toady. Think John Bolton.

        • RBHolb

          Yes. We’re hostages to insanity.

  • lindblomeagles

    While it is true the anonymous source would have more credibility by coming forward, what is the message the source is ultimately trying to convey? Whether facts are obvious or not, Trump in one form or another, has conceded the following: 1) He interfered with the Russian investigation, and will keep interfering until the Justice Department/Congress stops it; 2) He admires some of our enemies (Russia, North Korea) more than he admires most of our allies (Europe, Mexico, Canada); 3) He doesn’t like Hispanics at all, and isn’t interested in the needs and concerns of African Americans either despite telling them in 2016 African Americans should give him a chance; 4) He’s not about to call an end to racial animus in society nor is he going to do anything about gun control, UNLESS, an Hispanic immigrant or a Muslim crusader is carrying one; 5) He wants the press to write glowing reports about his administration and his decisions all the time; and 6) He doesn’t care if his business interests are a conflict of interest or not – tax returns will not be forthcoming – business investments will not be divested; 7) He wants to go down in history as the greatest President ever, but his administration continues to lose traction based on the policies he wants to implement, a Congress that won’t actually do its job, and an election he cheated to win at. 8) But he also cares a great deal about future laws too, so he’s protecting business interests and making sure minority groups struggle with pertinent civil rights issues. Thus, the anonymous letter can only mean one thing: Trump’s contempt for those who question his concessions has almost erupted into retaliation, the kind of retaliation that would turn the United States into a dictatorship within 24 hours. This is not fictional, mind you. If the anonymous letter is accurate, it is a serious, immediate cry for help, and we should respond as such. Another investigation into the goings on in the White House is a great place to start.

  • Devon Rémy

    “Except, of course, sacrifice a paycheck to save the country, apparently.”

    What a crass, judgmental and uninformed assumption. Not everyone is motivated by money. Furthermore, leaving the WH – empty-handed or otherwise – would be counterproductive to the greater, and dare I say noble, mission to save our country from the deeply insecure, petty, vindictive and destructive madman whose aim is to undermine our most sacred institutions.

    • They could pick up the phone and call a constitutional officer and report the president is violating his oath of office, which is what this op-ed is saying.

      And you think they’re not doing that because why, exactly?

      Maybe give this a read

      https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/

      • Brian Simon

        “They could pick up the phone and call a constitutional officer and report the president is violating his oath of office, which is what this op-ed is saying.”

        Call a what? Do you mean Paul Ryan? Mike Pence? If what this author writes is true, do you really think they don’t know already? The people who have the power to address the problem are clearly unwilling to take the necessary steps.

  • Gary F

    Funny how the timing of this article comes out just as the Dem Senators have made a fool of themselves in the Kavenaugh hearing. The news narrative needed to be changed, a new shiny object to distract attention was needed.

    • So you’re saying there’s collusion between Republicans in the White House and Democrats in the Senate? Hmmm, sounds almost like a functioning government. So, no. Probably not.

    • RBHolb

      Unless by “making a fool of themselves” you mean “attempted to make some meaningful use of the authority to advise and consent on judicial nominees,” I have no idea what you mean.

      Are you sure you were watching the same hearings everyone else was?

  • The Resistance

    “I’m going to surround myself with the best people…with great people.”
    President Donald John Trump.

  • My guess is it’s COS, assuming the NYT is consistent in the reference.

    • MikeB

      Except he has been sidelined, not even in charge of staff anymore and not in any meetings of importance. My guess it is someone out of the limelight, not a common name but in the mix of the day to day happenings. In Pence’s orbit.

  • wjc

    #lodestar – Did Pence write the op-ed and signal that by his use of the word “lodestar”, or did someone use the word to throw suspicion on Pence?

    https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/lodestar-mike-pence-anonymous-new-york-times_us_5b905dd5e4b0511db3dec1e1

    Pass the popcorn, please.

    • Kassie

      Also the Merriam-Webster word of the day on August 28. https://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/lodestar-2018-08-28

    • The Resistance

      If so, I think that means Vice President Ivanka will be sworn in next Tuesday and Stanley Motts starts the war with Albania on Thursday.

    • The Resistance

      Some journalists are combing through old Michelle Obama speeches to see if she used ‘lodestar’ with any regularity.

      If so, the anonymous letter writer is likely a Slovenian mole being her best.

  • MikeB

    The Times knows exactly who it is. It wasn’t a blank envelope dropped off overnight.

  • Jack Ungerleider

    I know I quoted something from Maddow yesterday in the discussion of John Kerry, but her open last night was a classic.

    She started with a reference to the original “Manchurian Candidate” movie (1962), directed by John Frankenheimer. Frankenheimer goes on to make the film “Seven Days in May” (1964) based on a novel of the same name co-authored by Fletcher Knebel. It deals with the possibility of a military coup in the U.S. Knebel writes another book in 1965 named “Night of Camp David”. The cover of a paper back edition asks the provocative question “What would happen if the President of the U.S.A. went stark-raving mad?” above the title. Rachel then goes on to say (paraphrasing) “When things are unprecedented we cannot look to history for guidance. After all if they are unprecedented then they have happened before. Sometimes we have to look to fiction for an idea of what to do next.” She also mentions later in the show that the suggestion to read “Night of Camp David” came from NBC Presidential historian Michael Beschloss.

    I’m headed east on the train this weekend, now I need to find those books before I leave.

    • wjc

      I remember reading those books when I was a kid. Now I need to find them again, too.