The Slatest

Senior Administration Official Says in Anonymous Op-Ed That He and Others Are Thwarting Trump “From Within”

Donald Trump looks up during a meeting with the Emir of Kuwait.
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office.
NICHOLAS KAMM/Getty Images

A “senior official in the Trump administration” writing anonymously in a New York Times op-ed, declared that “many of the senior officials in [Trump’s] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

The administration official explained why and how “many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”

The op-ed confirms what many suspected about how the administration functions: Its leaders are happy when Trump signs on to generic Republican policy priorities like deregulation, tax cuts, and increased military spending, but they are generally horrified at how he thinks and operates day-to-day.

“The root of the problem,” the official writes, “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 (described as a “he” in a news alert for the NYT’s mobile app) breaks one bit of potentially huge news, that “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president,” but instead of “precipitat[ing] a constitutional crisis,” those worried officials decided instead “to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”

Trump’s aides “have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful,” the official writes.

What they’re so horrified by is what we’ve been reading about since January 2017: “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.”

This official’s solution, however, seems at best vague and idealistic and at worst a cynical way to offload responsibility for Trump’s actions from officials to the public at large: “There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.”

And if the American people don’t rise up as one, at least this “senior official in the Trump administration” can say they anonymously took credit for things not being worse.