Wednesday, 05 September 2018, the New York Times made the remarkable choice to publish an op-ed from an anonymous source. That choice is remarkable because the New York Times holds itself to a level of standards that represents a dedication to truth and facts. (1)
The Times explained their decision as follows:
The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.
The op-ed makes the startling claim that individuals within the White House have taken the unusual step of actively seeking to protect the United States from a President who is overly emotional, forgetful and lacking in reasoning.
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.
In a separate article, where the NY Times reports on a soon-to-be released book written by Bob Woodward, Fear, they include this information:
Mr. Cohn, Mr. Woodward said, told a colleague he had removed the letter about the Korea free trade agreement to protect national security. Later, when the president ordered a similar letter authorizing the departure of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mr. Cohn and other aides plotted how to prevent him from going ahead with a move they feared would be deeply destabilizing.
“I can stop this,” Mr. Cohn said to the staff secretary, Rob Porter, according to the book. “I’ll just take the paper off his desk.”
Several points are made clear in these two articles. (Note – I have not yet read Woodward’s soon-to-be-released book, Fear, and my opinion is based solely on excerpts provided by media sources.)
- The emotional instability of President Trump.
- The necessity of the formation of a “shadow” group within the White House formed to deliberately protect the interests of the United States.
- The inability of that group to approach Congressional leaders with confidence that corrective measures would be considered and implemented.
- The lack of action by Congressional leaders to reports such as these that the President is unfit for office.
Let’s begin with number 4 in the list – Congressional lack of action.
I had hoped, (fancifully wished?) that when I awoke today, it would be a news-filled day with headlines like, “Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Placed on Hold” or “Congress Calls Emergency Session in Face of Constitutional Crisis”. Something. I expected something to tell me that elected members of Congress have responsibly set aside partisanship and are working together to address the time-bomb sitting in the Oval Office.
It hasn’t happened. Like every other instance when there have been strong signals that there is something psychologically askew in the mind of President Trump, Congress not only refuses to act, the GOP members actively strive to normalize the crazy.
There have been zero Facebook posts from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky). Leader of the House, Paul Ryan? His Facebook page displays the following:
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has a couple of social media shout-outs that he’s the Chairperson of the the Senate Judiciary Committee and that he’s heading the Supreme Court Confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh.
Comparatively, Senator Lindsey Graham, R-SC, posted the following on his Facebook page:
This is an incredibly odd post. Obamacare? The Affordable Care Act has been drastically altered and Senator Graham is well-aware that today there is no “Obamacare”. Today’s federal healthcare legislation should more aptly be called the “Trump Doesn’t Care Act” (TDCA). It is the result of congressional revisions to the ACA, and is far less beneficial (and more costly) to policy holders than the original ACA. But more importantly here is that Graham mentions “Obamacare” at all. His office was flooded with phone calls from activists opposing GOP changes to the ACA. That he uses the phrase “Obamacare” is like waving a red flag saying “LOOK AT ME!”
The second genuinely odd statement by Senator Graham is that he is publicly saying that it is increasingly MORE LIKELY that Trump will be re-elected, as will his GOP congressional guards.
Nearly every reputable polling source indicates that Trump consistently remains an unpopular President. What remains uncertain is how the effects of GOP gerrymandering and voter ID laws will repress the vote. Regardless, there should be no level of certainty by either the Right or the Left as to who will be winning elections in the November 2018 (congressional) midterm election, nor in the 2020 presidential (and congressional) election.
These remarks are so unlike the careful comments Lindsey Graham of years past would make. This post resembles the types of inflammatory, divisive posts that flooded our social media accounts by Russian military operatives preceding the 2016 election (and that continue to surface).
Something is horribly wrong.
And it is that realization that takes me to #s 2 and 3 – The inability of the White House staff to approach Congressional leaders with confidence that corrective measures would be considered and implemented. (More specifically – they decided against initiating Section IV of the 25th Amendment proceedings.)
Cutting through all the drama – the goal of the GOP is at the heart of all politics: power. 2016 brought them into power in the Executive branch, the Legislative branch – and now – they are about to cross the line into gaining a majority of conservative justices on the Supreme Court of the United States.
It is with a jaded and ironic twist that those on the far-right may actually be correct about something they call a “shadow government”. The problem is that the “shadow government” isn’t who they’ve been told it is. It is, instead, filled with “elected” officials. It is filled with conservative operatives in the White House dedicated to preserving GOP traditions in direct opposition, at times, to the President. (And while someone does need to check Trump – it should not be an non-elected, self-appointed group of well-meaning individuals lacking legitimacy.) And the corrupt, amoral movement is about to spread to the U.S. Supreme Court.
These events have happened unfairly, in ways that are the antithesis to the fundamental principles of Democracy.
The GOP rigged electoral processes to their own advantage through gerry-mandering and Voter ID laws.
The GOP has accepted campaign contributions from questionable sources.
The 2016 election was influenced by Russian military operatives – thus throwing into question not only the legitimacy of the president, but that of those GOP winners riding his coat-tails.
Not a single member of the GOP leadership has stood to stop the chaos.
While Trump is the leader of the GOP, whether in name only or not, there is clearly something significantly wrong with GOP members of Congress.
I haven’t the energy (or the resources) to fully investigate what has happened, how it happened, or who the major actors behind it all are – there is a national constitutional crisis.
Congress should be up in arms over the now public knowledge that there is a shadow government operating in the White House.