On Wednesday, the New York Times published an anonymous op-ed by a "senior official in the Trump administration" who claimed to be a patriot protecting America from Trump:
But 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.
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.
This is a fairy tale. A complete fabrication. Whoever this person is, they are lying to us about putting country over party.
Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that there is not a cabal of people in the White House trying to contain and control Trump. It was always obvious that Republicans assumed they would have a figurehead president that would rubberstamp their agenda. Trump had previously offered potential VPs the chance to run the country while he just went to rallies and played golf. It was also obvious they were horrified to realize that Trump wasn't going to do that after being elected.
Instead of a year of repealing Obamacare and passing all kinds of delightful Republican laws, the GOP spent most of 2017 trying to keep the government from shutting down, dealing with Trump's scandals, and cleaning up the messes Trump's erratic policies both domestic and foreign created.
So I absolutely believe the author of the op-ed when they say that there are a group of people in the White House running a soft coup around Trump; keeping him from starting World War III or setting the economy on fire.
I absolutely believe the author when they say, "The root of the problem is the president’s amorality." I don't doubt for a second that Trump is the petty monster described in the op-ed or that he's surrounded by people who have to treat him like a toddler with a gun lest he pulls the trigger and accidentally kills someone. But here's the lie, right there in plain sight.
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.
In addition to his mass-marketing of the notion that the press is the “enemy of the people,” President Trump’s impulses are generally anti-trade and anti-democratic.
And now we get to the purpose of the op-ed. This is not about reassuring the American people that someone is working hard to keep America safe from the Mad King; this is about building a lifeboat.
The Trump regime is already doomed. Everyone knows it, including Trump. His incompetence, criminality, limited intelligence, corruption, arrogance, and mental instability have created an intolerable situation that cannot persist. But when he goes down, he's going to take down as many people with him as possible because that's the kind of scumbag he is. And that means Republicans.
Even if Trump was the honorable type that wouldn't throw them under the bus to save his own skin (but seriously, we all know he isn't), he's the leader of the Republican Party. That means his coattails will become a noose for the GOP. The Never Trumpers have been frantically trying to build lifeboats for two years for that very reason, screaming at the top of their lungs that Trump is not a "real" Republican or a "real" conservative. It's "Trumpism"! It's his fault! We're innocent! That way, when the Trumptanic goes down in flames, it won't be with all hands on board; the Republican Party can escape with its reputation intact.
But none of that is true. Not a word of it.
Trump "shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives?" Like hatred of immigrants? Hatred of black skin? Hatred of Muslims? Hatred of women? Hatred of the "liberal" media? Is the author seriously suggesting these have not been the core of the conservative movement for almost half a century? Fox News exists solely to tell its viewers that all other media outlets lie to them. Breitbart and the alt-right pre-date Trump's ride down the escalator. The war on women's reproductive rights has been in full force since the Supreme Court first gave women the right to take the Pill.
And while the author is right that Republicans (if not rank and file conservatives) are pro-trade, the American right wing has been virulently anti-democratic since, let me check my history book, before the slaves were freed. Conservatives terrorized the South for years to keep black people from voting. Conservatives passed Jim Crow laws to keep black people from voting. Conservatives abandoned the Democratic Party explicitly because it passed a law ending Jim Crow and ran to the GOP because it promised to fight back against racial equality. Conservatives passed Voter ID laws, engaged in gerrymandering so extreme the courts finally had to step in, and suppressed the vote in so many different ways we are no longer a full democracy in some parts of the country.
So, please, tell me again about how Trump is anti-democratic and you're protecting us, anonymous "hero." And do let me know when you'll be taking on the rest of your misbegotten party of anti-democratic racists.
The worst part about this op-ed is that it reveals not a heroic effort to save America, but a craven effort to save the Republican Party. Here we have a president fully understood by everyone around him to be an existential danger to the nation. He is manifestly incapable of doing the job and the longer he's there, the more damage he will do. This cabal of "heroes" are well positioned to remove him by any number of means. They could leak so much damaging information that the Republicans in Congress would be forced to act. They could quietly threaten Trump with the same information and force a resignation or threaten to remove him via the 25th Amendment. They could actually trigger the 25th. Yes, it would hurt the nation in the short run but cauterizing the wound is better than slowly bleeding to death or risking Trump purging the White House of all dissent.
But all of those options will hurt the Republican Party because as much as the anonymous author would like to pretend otherwise, Trump is the heart and soul of the modern right wing. Trumpism is Conservatism. To remove Trump would be to see the GOP's base evaporate into thin air. They wouldn't vote for Democrats; they simply wouldn't vote.
So, to save the party from the monster it created, these "heroes" continue to put us all in imminent danger instead of truly putting country first. God damn all of them.