White House

Late in the day, Sept. 5, the New York Times published a truly astonishing Opinion piece.

Op-Ed editor, James Dao, even added his own note.

“The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay,” it read. “We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure.”

The piece—“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” and subtitled, “I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”—quickly set the political world ablaze.

Speculation over the author has run rampant. Words and phrases used pointed to different officials. (Vice President Mike Pence is fond of the word “lodestar.”)

Over two dozen senior White House officials have denied authorship. The White House has a list of 12 suspects. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, proposed submitting them to a lie detector test.

It doesn't really matter, though. We'll all know who it was soon enough. I instead want to focus on the substance.

“To be clear, ours is not the popular 'resistance' of the left,” they wrote. “We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.”

They label Trump as amoral, impetuous, adversarial, petty, ineffective, repetitive, ill-informed, reckless, half-baked, erratic, unstable, anti-trade, anti-democratic, misguided, autocratic, and dictatorial. And, yet, when actual resistance is proposed, it's quickly scuttled.

“There were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president,” they wrote. “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 author goes on to call themselves and other “unsung heroes.” (Are you still “unsung” if you call yourself a “hero”? But, I digress.)

“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,” they wrote. “The result is a two-track presidency.”

Wait a tick. “Two-track presidency?” Let's break it down.

They see the writing on the wall. They're looking for an exit strategy. Seeking to have it both ways by playing enabler and saboteur, they want us to see this soft coup as helping to avoid a constitutional crisis, and not one in and of itself. (And, why tell everyone about this undermining, anyway?)

The Constitution literally gives them the power to fire their own boss, and they want a gold star for shuffling some papers around on his desk. If they and the other now-sung “heroes” really feel this way, they should pull the plug.

Either that, or publicly resign.

Rob Burgess, News Editor at NUVO Newsweekly, can by email at rburgess@nuvo.net, by phone at 317-808-4614 or on Twitter @robaburg.

Writer - Local Government and Justice

My background is that I'm the fourth generation in my family to work as a journalist. I also have a degree from Indiana University in Elementary Education. My wife, Ash, and I have two children, Harper, 4, and Emerald, 1.

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