I didn’t think I could be surprised by much these days. But that, it turns out, was a mistake. On a day filled with congressional dick measuring contests, bloated vanity lawsuits, and pathetically weak calls for civility from a cadre of southern gentlemen, it’s this New York Times opinion piece that actually made my jaw drop.
Titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” the anonymous essay penned by a “a senior official in the Trump administration” (one whose job, the Times explained, “would be jeopardized” should the identity of the official be made public) is essentially a laundry list of why the President of the United States is a catastrophe whose successes—if you really want to call them that—are the result of a diligent staff of clandestine saboteurs who “are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The author writes:
The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.
Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.
In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.
Which isn’t to say the anonymous author is, y’know, a hero. Far from it, actually. As they made special point to note:
There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.
Sure, he’s an amoral monster, but at least we cut taxes for rich people and spend more on bombs now.
The essay—which prompted no less than a snort, a gasp, and at least two audible exclamations of “holy shit”—goes on to describe a “two-track presidency” in which Trump blunders around the West Wing, causing chaos and pandemonium in his wake, while staffers work behind the scenes to make sure things don’t go completely off the rails. Or, at least, more completely off the rails.
Of course, anonymous or not, the essay is essentially a self-serving attempt by White House officials to save face in light of what seems to be a rapidly imploding administration. As such, it should be taken with so many grains of salt that your blood pressure will literally shoot through the roof and into the stratosphere, where it’ll eventually collide with one of the president’s promised “Space Force” warships, assuming that ever happens.
To be clear, what this figure is attempting to pass off as nobility still means working for—and in most cases advancing—a political agenda that prioritizes bigotry, corruption, and above all else: Ego. And, in a particularly Trumpian stroke, the essay ends with one of of the president’s favorite moves: Naming a problem and then immediately passing the buck.
The bigger concern is not what 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.
It’s not Trump who’s making all of this go to shit, it’s our fault. Got it. I think not, pal.
So, don’t welcome this unnamed stool-pigeon to the resistance just yet. As they themselves note: “To be clear, ours is not the popular ‘resistance’ of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.”
In other words: a worm inside a rotting apple is still a worm.
If you know the identity of the anonymous Trump official who wrote the op-ed, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update, 5:40 p.m.: President Trump has responded: