So now we know that the Trump resistance encompasses not just marchers in the street, but the president’s own senior staff.
First, excerpts from journalism heavyweight Bob Woodward’s latest book gives example after example of Trump’s own staff ignoring his orders and even stealing documents off his desk to prevent havoc.
The excerpts portray a president who is unhinged and mayor of what Chief of Staff John Kelly calls “Crazytown.”
Then, just to make it even more explicit, The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed yesterday in which a senior official describes in detail how Trump’s own staff is saving the country from the president they are supposed to be serving.
“The president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic,” the author wrote. “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.”
Grabbing papers off his desk, ignoring his orders and otherwise working around Trump may make sense from a practical point of view, but it undercuts the very idea of the president as commander in chief.
What’s interesting about the brouhaha is that the Trump resistance is only interested in stopping some of Trump’s impulsive actions, particularly as they relate to international relations and trade.
Woodward’s book, aptly titled Fear, details how Secretary of Defense James Mattis ignored Trump’s order to kill Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, and how economic advisor Gary Cohn hid papers to protect existing trade deals.
What hasn’t come out so far (the book has yet to be released) is any example of someone vehemently objecting to Trump’s anti-LGBTQ policies. There’s a good explanation for that: no one in the Trump resisistance objects to them.
But rolling back existing LGBTQ protections, promoting policies that harm gay immigrants seeking asylum, putting transgender students at risk – none of that seems to have bothered Trump’s babysitters.
The fact of the matter is that the Trump resistance is engaged in a career-saving exercise. What they object to is Trump’s impulsive, authoritarian streak, even as they protect him from the political consequences of his instincts.
They don’t object to the policies, including the anti-LGBTQ policies.
That characteristic extends to Congressional Republicans as well. For all the behind-the-scenes muttering about Trump’s infantalism, they have done nothing to stop him because they agree with his policies.
Trump is engaged in a furious quest to find out who wrote The New York Times op-ed. The speculation has ranged from Cabinet secretaries to Mike Pence, but the fact is there are hundreds of officials who could be telling the same tale.
It doesn’t really matter who wrote it. The folks who work for Trump may think they are heroes. But they are not. They are collaborators. It’s just that some of them are more honest about than others.