Top members of Donald Trump’s administration are so alarmed by the president’s “erratic” and “amoral” behavior that they are actively working to undermine him, an anonymous “senior official” wrote in The New York Times on Wednesday.
“President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader,” the official wrote in an op-ed article entitled I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.
“The dilemma—which he 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 official wrote. “I would know. I am one of them.”
The official described a “two-track” presidency in which Trump says one thing and his staff consciously does another, for example with regard to what he called Trump’s “preference for autocrats and dictators.” And officials actively work to insulate themselves from Trump’s “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” leadership style, the writer says.
The unsigned piece appeared to reinforce the claims made in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward, excerpts of which were made public on Tuesday, that describes a virtual cabal of high-minded White House and cabinet officials scheming to prevent Trump from taking decisions damaging to the U.S. economy and national security.
The White House has condemned Woodward’s book as “nothing more than fabricated stories,” and Trump called it “a work of fiction.” But the Times op-ed suggests that dissent and resistance inside Trump’s White House are even deeper than Woodward described.
The writer stressed that he or she remains committed to the Republican agenda and does not side with opposition Democrats. But, the official wrote, “we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”
“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality,” the official said. “That is why 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 official said that early on in the administration, some officials quietly discussed invoking the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which allows the removal of a president judged unable to perform his duties. “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 New York Times Opinion desk acknowledged the extraordinary step of publishing such an anonymous op-ed, saying it did so at the request of the author whose identity is known to the paper. “We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers,” it wrote.