The New York Times did something that almost never happens: it published an anonymous op-ed.
I Am Part of the Resistance Inside 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 op-ed goes on to do make two primary points, the first being that Trump is singularly unqualified to be president, by knowledge, experience, temperament and, perhaps, capacity. The second is that there are people within the White House who are interfering with the president’s performance of his office because they have decided they know better.
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.
This isn’t new, at least not here. The difference for the sake of the Times is that it comes from someone inside the White House. There is no doubt that they made absolutely certain that the anon author was who he claimed to be before publishing this op-ed. And the substance of the op-ed, while not exactly the party line, is certainly something that grabbed James Dao, the op-ed editor, by the heart, if not other parts of his anatomy.
But to what end? If his cabinet believes Trump to be incapable of carrying out the office of president, then they have a duty to invoke the 25th Amendment. According to the author of this op-ed, who apparently sees himself as the hero of this story, it was considered.
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’s over.
The process isn’t all that complex, but more importantly, what difference does it make how complex it is if the person occupying the Oval Office is incapable of doing the job?
But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.
This isn’t “leadership style.” This is incompetence.
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 problem has nothing to do with whether you’re conservative, libertarian, liberal or progressive. No sentient person was unaware that he was a vulgar ignormus when it came to law, Constitution or governance. If you shared his ignorance, then this might have eluded you, as he said and did things that you, in your simplistic, clueless way, would say as well. But then, you aren’t qualified to be president either, despite your certainty that every complex problem has a simple solution.
But even a guy whose sole potential competency is building garish structures, a skillset that doesn’t translate to governing a nation, can manage to do a half-decent job with the right people around him and a grudging acknowledgment that even though he managed to get elected, he realizes he’s way out of his league. The big league.
No, there is nothing to suggest that Trump has any recognition of his limitations. Everything suggests the contrary. Which brings us to his impetuousness, his “half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions.” This isn’t a matter of politics. It’s irrelevant that Trump feigns being conservative because that’s where his bread is buttered.
An incompetent is one who tries his best to be well-informed, and even with the information in hand, can’t make a sound decision for lack of intellectual capacity. This is different than one who either doesn’t care about being informed, or is incapable of controlling his impetuousness.
Didn’t we know this before the election, and still Trump was elected over Clinton? So what’s the point? Whether you view it as the spectacular failure of the Democrats to field a candidate, to have a platform, that didn’t prevail 80-20 over the most unqualified candidate in modern history, or whether you view Trump as the punishment we earned by governmental paralysis and absurd divisiveness, we elected Darth Cheeto to be the president.
You know what we didn’t do? We didn’t elect this person who hides behind anonymity but wants us to trust his bona fides that he knows better. He may well know better. He may not. But if he’s as smart as he thinks he is, he might have anticipated that his anon op-ed wasn’t going to soothe a nation, fearful of this amoral ignoramus. And it surely wasn’t going to persuade Trump to seek out people more knowledgeable than him so that he ceased his impetuous, half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decision-making.
The Trump haters rejoice. The Trump lovers scream. The nation is worse off for this op-ed because Trump remains president today, and to the extent he might look to anyone competent for advice, he’ll be even less inclined than before, if that’s possible. As for the op-ed author, his decision to write, to have the New York Times publish, his op-ed shows that his judgment isn’t nearly as good as he wants America to believe. But then, we didn’t elect him, so it’s not as if he has any legitimacy to claim otherwise.