Republican reaction to New York Times op-ed: Some concern, some shrugs

Lawrence Kim
September 7, 2018

A single word has ignited an online wildfire regarding the identity of the individual who wrote, "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration", an anonymous op-ed published by the New York Times on Wednesday.

In the interview, the president didn't give any indication he had identified the senior administration official, but suggested it was likely a "low-level" or "deep state" staffer. "It's important for us to have that stability that comes from a day-to-day White House that operates well".

Let's just hope this saga doesn't end like this.

This image released by Simon & Schuster shows "Fear: Trump in the White House", by Bob Woodward, available on September 11.

The book offers a detailed look into the early days of President Donald Trump's administration. They're saying 'senior administration official, ' that could be many people.

The critical spotlight on Trump's leadership comes two months before elections in which his fellow Republicans will try to hold their majorities in both chambers of Congress.

Social media has been flooded with theories and counter-theories as to the author's identity, with speculation ranging from Vice-President Mike Pence, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway, to Trump's own daughter, Ivanka, or his wife, Melania. Any authority these appointees have comes from the president, at whose pleasure they serve. Congress must then consider the matter.

The unsigned opinion piece, derided by Trump as "gutless", drew disavowals from at least 11 top advisers to the president, all of whom denied any responsibility for its authorship. They are perfectly capable of doing so, should they choose to.

The writer of the piece says he or she wants Americans to know that "there are adults in the room". "These types of political attacks are beneath the Secretary and the Department's mission", said Tyler Houlton, press secretary for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Schoolmarmishly sighing about the president on Twitter is meaningless. That does not remove the bad leader, but at least it can slow him down a bit.

Trump lashed out in characteristic fashion, and the Times even ran a story about the op-ed and the ensuing fallout on its front page on Thursday.

The book, Fear: Trump in the White House, describes staff deliberately undermining the president, with some hiding sensitive documents from him to prevent him signing them, and other aides calling him an "idiot" and a "liar".

But Mr. Woodward said Mr. Cohn "stole [the] letter off Trump's desk".

After a chemical weapons attack blamed on the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad in April 2017, Trump allegedly urged Defence Secretary Jim Mattis to kill the Russian-backed president and his entourage. Mattis ignored him and conducted a couple limited airstrikes instead.

"You know the good thing about that?"

In our system of checks and balances, there are a number of options at the disposal of officials concerned about the president's fitness for office.

But the United States does have constitutional mechanisms, as outlined above. In reality, impeachment and the 25th Amendment are the constitutional mechanisms expressly created to deal with someone like Trump.

The Post is far from the only newspaper with such a policy; unnamed op-ed columns are extremely rare. And someday, when I'm not president.

A spokesperson for Pence dismissed any notion that the vice-president had written the article, writing that "the vice-president puts his name on his op-eds" and that "our office is above such amateur acts".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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