Though President Trump wants you to believe otherwise, the White House is very much in chaos. A day after excerpts from Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book about the Trump administration revealed that several key officials don’t trust the president, the New York Times has published a similarly critical op-ed from an anonymous “senior official.”
The piece describes the efforts of a like-minded group of White House employees working to “frustrate parts of [Trump’s] agenda and his worst inclinations” in order to “preserve our democratic institutions.” According to the author, there’s a single underlying reason necessitating all of the subterfuge. “The root of the problem is the president’s amorality,” the official writes. “Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”
The piece paints a picture of an administration constantly scooping buckets of water from the bottom of the boat that would capsize immediately should Trump be allowed to act freely on his inclinations. The author writes that many want the administration to succeed, but complain of a president who is anti-trade and anti-democracy, despite what he may tell the press or profess during his campaign-style rallies. “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,” the official writes. “At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.
It has long been reported that working in the White House amounted to putting out fires started by the president, most recently in the Washington Post piece previewing Woodward’s book, which details former economic adviser Gary Cohn’s practice of stealing documents off Trump’s desk to prevent him from signing them. The person writing for the Times describes a concern so grave that they and other members of Trump’s own administration have considered taking steps to remove the president from office.
“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,” 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.”
Many media observers are chastising the writer for remaining anonymous.
Shortly after the piece was published, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement. “The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States,” she wrote. “This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
.@PressSec: "The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States…This coward should do the right thing and resign.” pic.twitter.com/tmdlOk0Vz0
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) September 5, 2018
Trump responded, as well. “When you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who’s failing, and probably here for all the wrong reasons? No. The New York Times is failing. If I weren’t here, I believe the New York Times probably wouldn’t even exist,” Trump told reporters.
BREAKING: Trump responds after anonymous NYT Op-Ed.
"The New York Times is failing… The New York Times and CNN and all these phony media outlets will be out of business." pic.twitter.com/cXSXDzXl7e
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) September 5, 2018
Barely an hour later, he tweeted a one-word question: “TREASON?”
This post has been updated.