The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed from a “senior official in the Trump administration” on Wednesday. In it, an alleged staffer writes about the “heroes” who, rather than invoke the 25th Amendment to remove a president who’s unfit for office, have quietly worked around him to do … well, whatever they want.
As the author puts it, they’ve stuck it out due to the “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.”
In return, he or she claims “unsung heroes in and around the White House” have resisted … something. By doing or not doing something. Because the president is amoral and didn’t do enough to sanction Russia or keep trade open.
I wrote a year ago about what collaborators sound like. When rational minds call out bad behavior from one side of a divide, collaborators deflect by claiming both sides are bad. They, including the President, did so after Charlottesville, giving literal Nazis cover for invading a town and running over protesters.
And now that the President’s approval rating is unrecoverable and a new book from Bob Woodward looms on the horizon, we see the other side of collaborators: how they try to distance themselves from a loser.
Accounts from the aftermath of World War II allege that, in 1945, in a country filled with Germans, it was very hard to find a Nazi. Even next door neighbors to concentration camps claimed either not to know what was happening or trumped up minuscule acts of self-interested insubordination as resistance bonafides.
The anonymous writer snidely reclaims the title of “resistance” from the Left. “We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.”
They want credit for acknowledging what everyone already figured out without their help: that the President is amoral, lacks the discipline to do his job, and can’t even manage his staff.
And, worse, they want us to thank them for running a secondary, unaccountable government behind-the-scenes. They won’t use the existing powers in the Constitution to openly expose an unfit, yet duly elected leader’s shortcomings to the nation that depends on him. Instead, they’re shaping and enacting policy without anyone’s knowledge.
The “resistors” inside the Republican Party are trying to have it both ways. They get the policies they want out of the President, and they also get the things that he’s incapable of understanding or caring about by working around him and the confines of the U.S. Constitution.
In short, the author takes credit for all of us living in a banana republic now. What a hero.
But, we should always expect collaborators with amorality and evil to hedge their bets. This particular collaborator, like all collaborators, wants to believe they can live on both sides of history and still be right.
Instead, they make a very strong case for why democracy and responsible republican representation can only survive when each and every participating member of the administration is indicted.