Storm gathering around White House intensifying daily
Amanjeev, via Flickr

Just days after the bombshell Woodward book described an administrative coup that has grabbed power in the White House a top but anonymous administration official wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, confirming just about everyone’s worst fears concerning the Trump administration.

“I work for the president, but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the article by the official begins.

“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,” the official says.

“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.”

The author doesn’t say so but presumably, he means things like the Trump order to prepare a pre-emptive attack on North Korea or Trump’s order to the Secretary of Defense that he assassinate the president of Syria and his family and close supporters with him.

The whole thing makes for some scary but very strange reading. The official combines a horrifying picture of an incompetent and dangerous president with a defense of that president’s right-wing policies.

The official claims to be part of the “resistance” who, along with others on the inside, is working hard to frustrate parts of the president’s agenda. He appears, however, to support the core of that agenda, not the resistance, when he says:

“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 another point, this new self-enrolled hero of the “resistance” says: “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.”

This sounds less like heroic resistance from inside the administration than it does like laying the groundwork for defense of Republicans, in and out of the White House, who thought they could use Trump, no matter how crazy he is, to create distractions and noise while they slip through their agenda of tax breaks for the rich, deregulation, weakening of minority voting rights and so on and so forth.

“It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era,” the official tells us, “but Americans should know 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.”

What exactly is the official saying? Are we supposed to hold back from seeking constitutional remedies or putting pressure on Congress or building the massive popular resistance to Trumpism because there are “adults in the room?”

Apparently, this is what this “adult” in there wants us to do because he writes:

“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 comes to an end.”

What do we call it when a group of unelected “officials,” because of a dangerous and incompetent president, take over the reins of government and make the decisions? What do we call it when they won’t come forward and either invoke the 25th Amendment or go to the Congress with their concerns but instead make the life and death decisions on their own?

What do we call it when instead of taking one of those paths they secretly blast Trump’s persona but back his agenda? (Laying the groundwork for Pence, perhaps?)

I’m not a lawyer but what it really looks like is the definition of a constitutional crisis already upon us.

When the choice is between an administrative coup and invoking constitutional remedies the preferred choice in my book is the latter.

The “adults” inside the White House aren’t coming forward. The Congress is not exercising its constitutional duty to step in and deal with the crisis. So what’s left?

As always it’s the people. The people must turn out in massive numbers this November to turn out of office every single congressional and senatorial apologist for Trumpism who is up for re-election. Even the Constitution itself, often touted as a gift from the “founding fathers,” was the result of popular resistance and struggle. The most meaningful part of the constitution, the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments and all the amendments that came after that, were the product of popular struggle and mass action, including the election of progressives up and down the line who wrote and pushed for passage of those amendments.

The same is required of us all now. Only concerted mass action in the form of a huge voter turnout on November 6, not the “adults” in the White House, will save us from Trump.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.