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Trump’s Brutus

Who betrayed the president on the New York Times op-ed page? And what does it mean?

You’ve seen this anonymous op-ed in The New York Times, I trust. We’re told it’s by “a senior Trump administration official,” and that the Times is keeping his or her name out of it to protect the author. It is an explosive piece, to put it mildly, blaming Trump’s problems on his being “amoral.” Excerpts:

The dilemma — which [Trump] 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.

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.


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.

Read the whole thing.

Bob Woodward’s book reports the same thing: that this administration is filled with people who work to undermine our crackpot president. From the Washington Post:

A central theme of the book is the stealthy machinations used by those in Trump’s inner sanctum to try to control his impulses and prevent disasters, both for the president personally and for the nation he was elected to lead.

Woodward describes “an administrative coup d’etat” and a “nervous breakdown” of the executive branch, with senior aides conspiring to pluck official papers from the president’s desk so he couldn’t see or sign them.

Again and again, Woodward recounts at length how Trump’s national security team was shaken by his lack of curiosity and knowledge about world affairs and his contempt for the mainstream perspectives of military and intelligence leaders.

I believe it’s true, all of it, because it seems entirely in character. It’s all so humiliating. Totally humiliating to this country. What a laughingstock we are before the world. It’s humiliating that we have such a president, and humiliating that he is served by a staff so self-serving and disloyal.

Trump’s Brutuses are undermining him in part to make sure he doesn’t get off the GOP reservation, but framing it as “the good of the Republic”?Anonymous writes, “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.” Really? This is depressing and actually infuriating. Trump actually defeated the system to get elected, but his total incompetence and disinterest in governing has assured that the system wins.

Even though I suspect that the information it conveys is true, I find the op-ed to be far from admirable. What kind of person continues to take their employer’s money, while making him look like a fool in the world’s most important newspaper? If this person felt so strongly about making a statement about Donald Trump and his presidency, he or she should have resigned, and written this editorial on the way out the door. If you must denounce your boss as corrupt for the greater good of the country, then do like Archbishop Vigano: go public, and take the heat.

I understand why the idea of ruining Donald Trump’s day strikes some people as manifestly self-justifying, but honestly, if you have an unstable man prone to paranoia and fits of rage sitting in the Oval Office, is it really a good idea to poke that particular bear? The Woodward book depicts a White House at times paralyzed by Trump’s obsession with the Russia investigation. Is it really in the best interest of the United States to push Trump into 24/7 paranoia about his staff? Hasn’t this op-ed made the jobs of people who are doing their best to keep POTUS from going off the track much more difficult?

Just to be clear, I’m not particularly sympathetic to Trump. He’s brought this onto himself. It’s just that I find that op-ed to be a cheap exercise in virtue-signaling. When this administration ends, everyone in it will claim to have been allied with Anonymous as a way of maintaining their employment viability. Meanwhile, they cash their Trump White House checks. This is virtue-signaling, absent the virtue of loyalty.

Also, this, from a British writer:




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