Guest Post, Washington Post Op-ed: We’re in a constitutional crisis. Only voters can save us now.

September 6, 2018 at 7:44 PM

Journalist Bob Woodward’s new book and an op-ed by an anonymous administration official portray President Trump as dangerously capricious and amoral, exhibiting textbook symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and behaving in ways that suggest, to some, early signs of age-related dementia.

But you knew that.

We’ve all known about Trump from the beginning. We’ve known that he was entirely unfit to hold any public office, much less wield the awesome powers of the presidency, regardless of what political views he might have. Trump demonstrates this fact every single day.

On Wednesday afternoon, the New York Times published an extraordinary essay headlined, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.” In it, an unnamed “senior official” claimed to be “working diligently from within,” in concert with “many” colleagues, “to frustrate parts of [Trump’s] agenda and his worst inclinations.” The author went on to describe chaos, dysfunction and a president who changes his mind “from one minute to the next.”

Even more alarming, however, was the response from retiring Sen. Bob Corker(R-Tenn.), one of the few GOP officials who ever dared to criticize Trump, even mildly: “This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one.”

Trump’s enablers in Congress have all been lying to us. They pretend there is a normal president in the White House instead of, let’s be honest, a maniac. They know the risk the nation is running. They have the power to alleviate that risk, but they do nothing, instead counting on “mature adults” in the administration to keep Trump from plunging the nation off some cliff.

According to Woodward’s book “Fear,” Trump was going to pull the United States out of a trade agreement with South Korea, but former top economic adviser Gary Cohn, who saw the move as unthinkable, simply swiped the order from Trump’s desk before he could sign it. At another point, the book reports, Trump phoned Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and commanded him to assassinate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to Woodward, Mattis played along, hung up the phone and told an aide, “We’re not going to do any of that.”

It feels as though we have entered a new phase of the Trump saga. As with all the prior phases, it’s impossible to predict with confidence what will happen. But the combination of the Woodward book and the insider’s op-ed feels like an inflection point.

We learned about the insanity inside the West Wing months ago from Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury,” but he got enough little things wrong to cast doubt on the big things he reported. We read it all again in Omarosa Manigault Newman’s “Unhinged,” but she was a professional minor celebrity who had only glowing things to say about Trump until she got fired. Woodward, to say the least, is different.

Beginning with Watergate and Deep Throat, Woodward has set the gold standard for Washington-based investigative reporting. He doesn’t just get the goods; he keeps meticulous records, including recordings of many of his interviews. You will note that the denials coming from the Trump administration are actually carefully worded non-denials that skirt, rather than confront, the specifics of what Woodward wrote.

His account supports what we’ve been told all along by award-winning White House correspondents from The Post, the Times and other media organizations.

As for the anonymous “senior official” who penned the op-ed in the Times, I’m not inclined to join the chorus of commentators who say he or she is being cowardly and instead should have gone public, resigned in front of television cameras, marched up to Congress and demanded to testify and . . . and then what? Exactly what would such a performance achieve?

Does anyone believe the Republican leadership in the House and Senate would do anything? As Corker said, Trump’s unfitness has been obvious from the beginning. Republican officials have made the conscious decision to see, hear and speak no evil. We’re probably better off with the “senior official” still in place, saving us from Trump’s destructive whims.

The whistleblower wrote that “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” by which Trump could be removed, but “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.”

After this week, however, it’s clear that we’re already in a constitutional crisis of frightening proportions. The Cabinet will not act. Congress, under GOP control, will not act. The internal “resistance” can only do so much.

Voters are the last line of defense. You must save the day.

Views: 79

Comment by Ron Powell on September 7, 2018 at 6:11am
Eugene Harold Robinson (born March 12, 1954) is an American newspaper columnistand an associate editor of The Washington Post. His columns are syndicated to 262 newspapers by The Washington Post Writers Group. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 2009 and currently[when?] serves as chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board.[1]

Robinson also serves as NBC News and MSNBC's chief political analyst during political coverage.

Robinson is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and a board member of the IWMF (International Women's Media Foundation).[2]


Comment by koshersalaami on September 7, 2018 at 6:37am

I agree with Robinson 100%. You might notice that I have been advocating the whistleblower’s continued silence. My attitude has been exactly this, that we are already in a Constitutional crisis, that the whistleblower (whom I now call DT II for Deep Throat II or maybe I should switch to DT 2.0 for the benefit of younger readers) did not trigger a Constitutional crisis but reacted patriotically to one. 

Thank you for posting this, particularly given that you have already posted a contrary stand on the same issue. I respect such flexibility. 

Comment by Maui Surfer on September 7, 2018 at 11:31am

The Ghost of William Buckley still roams the West Wing, prompting sub-conscious decisions out of those with opportunities, such as grabbing unsigned letters off of the desk of an Orange fool.

Comment by Maui Surfer on September 7, 2018 at 11:31am

And we though Buckley was an asshole!   Trump makes him look like Yogananda.


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