In an unsigned op-ed published in the New York Times Wednesday, a senior Trump administration official describes working with other members of the “steady state” to rein in the president’s “worst inclinations.”
“The dilemma — which [Trump] does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the anonymous official writes. “I would know. I am one of them.”
The author stipulates that he does not belong to the popular “resistance of the left” and praises some of the administration’s accomplishments, including deregulation and tax reform, but argues that those policy achievements materialized “despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style.”
At issue, the official writes, is Trump’s lack of core belief system or ethical bearing.
“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 laments. He goes on to rule out the possibility of openly advocating impeachment, citing a desire to avoid a “constitutional crisis,” but mentions that unnamed cabinet secretaries considered the option early on in the administration.
“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,” he 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.”
The White House called for the Times to apologize and demanded that the “gutless” anonymous author resign in a statement issued soon after the op-ed was published.
“Nearly 62 million people voted for President Donald J. trump in 2016, earning him 306 Electoral College votes — versus 232 for his opponent. None of them voted for a gutless, anonymous source to the failing New York Times,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in statement. “We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to to publish this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed.”
“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States,” she added.“He is not putting country first, but pitting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
The blistering attack comes just one day after the Washington Post published excerpts of Bob Woodward’s harshly critical book Fear, which depicts Trump as incompetent and unstable.
Like the op-ed, the book, which Trump has described as “fictional,” paints a number of senior administration officials as being primarily concerned with managing Trump’s destructive instincts and ensuring that some of his more radical policy goals are never achieved.
In one particularly telling example, Woodward reports that Trump’s former top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, thwarted the president’s desire to withdraw the U.S. from a free-trade agreement with South Korea by removing a letter announcing the withdrawal from his desk before he could sign it.
IN THE NEWS: ‘[WATCH] Getting to Know Brett Kavanaugh’