The New York Times’s Opinion desk took the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay from a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration whose identity is known only to the New York Times.
FOLLOWING IS THE LETTER PUBLISHED IN FULL
“President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.
It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.
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.
I would know. I am one of them.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Don’t get me wrong. 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.
But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.
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.
“There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next,” a top official complained to me recently, exasperated by an Oval Office meeting at which the president flip-flopped on a major policy decision he’d made only a week earlier.
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 result is a two-track presidency.
Take foreign policy: 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.
Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.
On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.
This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.
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 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.
Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.
We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.
There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.”
COMMENTARY AND ANALYSIS
The rationale for the New York Times keeping the author of the letter anonymous was that the person’s job would be jeopardized by disclosing who wrote it.
The New York Times would be the very first to cry foul if any other media entity or person had published the letter and refused to disclose the identity arguing it is the people’s right to know who the writer is seeing as they are being paid with taxpayer money.
The use of the term “Senior Official” no doubt was carefully chosen by the New York Times.
Note the paper did not use the term “Senior White House Official.”
The term Senior Official could mean a Cabinet Secretary, a Deputy Secretary, a member of the National Security Council or for that matter a high ranking speech writer or press relations person.
Some news media outlets have gone so far as to suggest that Vice President Michael Pence, Pence’s Chief of Staff Nicke Ayers, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wrote the letter, and all have denied it.
It is obvious who ever in fact wrote the piece is articulate, knows how to write an op ed piece, has dealt with the New York Times in the past and had the ability to get it to the paper on their own without having to use an assistant or secretary and was able to secure a commitment from the paper not to release the name.
Vice President Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayer’s has been suggested a the biggest suspect.
It is stunning that a senior official for the President of the United States would say:
“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. … 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. … the president’s leadership style … is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective. … 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. There is literally no telling whether he might change his mind from one minute to the next.”
Washington Post’s sources called Trump’s reaction to the letter as “volcanic,” and a Politico source said the White House was in “total meltdown.”
Trump is already going on the rampage to find out who the writer is and using the word “treason”.
Treason is not an act against a President, but against the Country.
Trump’s use of the word “treason” shows just how ignorant he is of our United States Constitution which defines “treason” as acts of a citizen leveling war against the United States or adhering to enemies of the United States and giving aid or comfort the enemies of the United States. (See Constitution of the United States, Article 3, Section 3).
You can only help but hope and perhaps wonder how more senior White House Officials will come forward and make the same disclosures.
An even bigger issue is if Special Counsel Robert Mueller will issue a subpoena to the New York Times and force them to produce the name to the grand jury given the accusation made regarding Russia.
It is clear that the American public elected someone who is emotionally unstable and not mentally fit to be President of the United States.
The letter talks about the bright spots and accomplishments of Trump as “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more” not recognizing all that would go away within seconds with the press of a nuclear button by an unstable President.
It is at the point that Trump has now done more damage to this country as well as his own party than anyone could have ever dreamed or imagined.
It may take years as was the case with “Deep Throat” who brought Richard Nixon down, but I have no doubt the American Public will learn one day who the anonymous writer is.
In the meantime, it is my hope that the Secret Service has a few straight jackets, a few face masks and dollys strategically place in the White House they can use like in the movie “Silence of the Lambs” because I fear they are going to need them very soon.