A person described only as “a senior official in the Trump administration” published an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times on Wednesday, claiming to be part of “a quiet resistance within the administration” that is “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The author also claimed “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” to remove President Donald Trump, but they decided to endure until he left office.
The author proclaims himself or herself a patriot, claiming to be among those “choosing to put country first.” But this is the opposite of patriotism.
The purpose of the op-ed is to indicate to the American public — and to our enemies abroad — that the Trump administration is not just chaotic, but filled with saboteurs.
The effect inside the White House will be to encourage a climate of mutual suspicion that makes it harder for officials to function — the opposite of the author’s purported intent.
“Country first” was the slogan of the late Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. That, and the two paragraphs spent lauding McCain, may provide some clues as to the identity of the author.
The “senior official” also seems to feel he or she has been unduly criticized: “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.” One day, he or she will emerge to demand the bounty.
Regardless, what is striking about the op-ed is how faithfully it repeats the empty canards of Trump’s critics.
The author claims, for example: “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.”
Perhaps the “senior official” was denied a place at the state dinner with France.
Nevertheless, it is hardly an original attack: the “senior official” seems to spend a lot of time reading newspapers. “President Donald Trump reliably tells the truth on one thing: He likes the way dictators do business,” wrote Edward-Isaac Dovere in Politico. “[W]hile Trump is no dictator himself, it’s worth considering his willingness to coddle real strongmen,” wrote Ishaan Tharoor in the Washington Post.
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad might beg to differ, as would the Iranian regime, among others.
In another passage, the author again echoes the mainstream media when he or she accuses the president of “mass-marketing … the notion that the press is the ‘enemy of the people’.” Trump has never referred to the press as a whole that way.
The author also claims Trump “shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people.” This claim comes after Trump has protested against Internet censorship, touted a free trade deal with Mexico, and encouraged pro-democracy protests in Iran — all on Twitter, where he is at his most unfiltered.
The author also undermines his or her conservative credentials by choosing to publish in the New York Times, which loathes conservatism.
Laughably, the author denies that there is a “deep state,” only a “steady state” that enacts policies on autopilot. He or she cites the administration’s sanctions against Russia. But the so-called “steady state” pursued the opposite policy for most of Obama’s two terms.
What the author calls “instability” is, to most conservatives, a welcome disruption in the status quo that once had America on a steady course to decline.
If the “senior official” were a true patriot, or even just an “adult in the room,” he or she would resign in protest. Instead, the author chooses to keep a prestigious job and generous paycheck, while helping the New York Times take down the president.
America is about to have an election. The voters can, if they wish, elect the opposition. The author would usurp that constitutional process.
That is hardly conservative, or patriotic.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.