NYT anonymous op-ed just could be heartening information

I hadn’t bothered to read the original anonymous op-ed in The Gray Lady attributed to “a senior official in the Trump administration.”

But there has been so much ink spilled over this ink spill that I decided I should peruse and evaluate. Frankly, I’m not convinced it is not an elaborate hoax on The New York Times. There is nothing in it that reveals insider knowledge. The closest the piece comes is when it says Trump was upset that his aides had convinced him to expel too many Russian diplomats over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain.

But The Washington Post reported in April that Trump was upset that the U.S. was expelling 60 Russians while the French and Germans were expelling only four each. “There were curse words,” one official told WaPo. “A lot of curse words.”

And the anonymous op-ed’s claim that there were “early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” seems highly implausible given the political devastation and utter futility of such a move. The 25th was designed to give the vice president the ability to function should the president become comatose, not merely “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective,” as anon attests.

The paper insists it adequately vetted the piece and its not from some low level mope.

Now, some of anon’s observations are smack on, such as:

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.

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. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

But you don’t have to be a White House insider to see that. I’ve noted that Trump has changed political parties more often than some people change their socks. He has no philosophical moorings.

Trump has characterized the anonymous writer as a traitor in one of his ubiquitous tweets. Some have criticized the writer for hiding behind the shrubbery of anonymity and not having the courage to resign and put his or her name to the criticism of Trump’s whims and foibles.

As for me, if this is really an administration insider with the ability to thwart some of Trump’s baser instincts, good. Glad to see there are people who put the country first. Trump is not the pope. He is not infallible. He’s not the king. He is just the guy who lucked out and got handed the job.

Anon characterizes himself or herself and others inside the administration as “unsung heroes,” who “have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.” And, yes, I do take comfort in the possibility of there being “adults in the room. … trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”

Though he or she says, “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,” anon gives the administration, if not the president, credit for “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.”

If all is above board and as the writer makes them out be, well, I’m glad there are some adults aboard this ship of state willing to try to wrest the rudder from the drunken captain before he runs aground. And I’m glad we have been offered this peek inside … if that’s what it truly is.

I remain skeptical but hopeful.





30 comments on “NYT anonymous op-ed just could be heartening information

  1. Steve says:

    “skeptical but hopeful” pretty much describes the last few years.

  2. Bill says:

    Always, skeptical, but pretty happy so far with the way things like full employment, setting records for black, Hispanic and women’s employment, record stock markets, increased business investment in the U.S., , a more coherent foreign policy than we have had in years, the push back on unfair trade and tariffs, increased U.S. manufacturing, lower taxes, solid Court appointments and possible denuclearization of North Korea are all things that I approve of and If this trend continues, I will be ecstatic.

    While I see the point of “adults in the room”, I cannot square that with my distrust and inherent dislike for anonymous sources especially if the source attacks the leadership of the institution of which they are a member. In this case it is the Presidency of the United States.

    A cabal of conspirators no matter how high and lofty aims are still a group that is admittedly plotting and subverting. Such persons are without courage and no honor, and in my view, have an obligation to resign. What organization can survive when there is an active fifth column within?

    At what point does an “official” who claims to be part of a cabal within the President’s group that has an avowed purpose of subverting and thwarting the President of the United States cross the line into sedition?

    I for one am not comfortable.

  3. Miles Archer says:

    Mr. Mitchell, please say what you would’ve done given the same circumstances and opportunity to publish such a piece in the papers you ran.

  4. I would have made sure the vetting process was thorough and, unlike the NYTimes editor Dean Baquet, I would have insisted on knowing who it was. I would have asked that the writer add something only insiders would know, just to show authenticity. Then I would have printed it.

  5. Steve says:

    Wasn’t that what they did with Deepthroat in the Watergate years?

  6. Steve says:

    We knew it all along. (Where’s that damned snark font when I need it?)

  7. Miles Archer says:

    Thank you.

  8. Bill says:

    Steve, perhaps as the satire suggests the anonymous Op-Ed writer is Putin. Putin, is an arrogant and untrustworthy enemy of the U.S. and despite continual assurances of other intents, continues to plot, scheme and manipulate the world. Or, perhaps he/she is merely a fictional character of the N.Y. Times. Or, it could be a real character who fashions himself/herself after General James Matoon Scott.

    That it is anyone who is near the seat of power on this Country is alarming. Whoever it is, he/he is an arrogant elitist who just notified the world that he/she knows better than the elected President. This may not meet the legal definition of sedition under the U. S. Code but who knows if it has crossed over that line or will in the future.

    I detest anonymous sources, especially when the source steps forward merely to offer opinion.

  9. Steve says:

    Snark aside, Deep Throat came forward just months before passing away.
    It really is incumbent on the publishers and editors to do the vetting. NYT claims they did. Back in the 70’s we found out The Washington Post certainly did.

    Based on the Watergate timeline, things are progressing about the same. Even the economy is cooperating. History repeating? Gotta wait and see if he does something impeachable while actually in office to see. Nevertheless, NYT reputation (such as it is) happens to be on the line this time. And they know it.

    So, (on a personal note) invest now and plan to (mostly) jump out of the market in about 6 years?
    As the next peanut farmer comes along…don’t ya know.

    See where I went snark again?

  10. Deleted says:

    Never ceases to amaze me that the self professed “constitutionalists” here that spent 8 years wearing over “our” “beloved republic” ignore the daily lies and constitutional usurpations of the elector vote “winner” and yet call for investigations of the Free Press.

    What happened to the oath keepers, the tea parties, the constitutionalists I wonder all of whom wailed and gnashed their teeth for eight years now that the holder of the executive branch in this country is daily violating all our constitutional freedoms and attacking the institution of the press in this country?

  11. Steve says:

    Didn’t even try to comprehend it. Amiright?

  12. Bill says:

    Steve, you are right. McBeth, Act 5, Scene 5. Don’t waste your time with some one who is not interested in dialogue, only diatribe.

  13. Steve says:

    In highschool, I liked A Midsummer Night’s Dream until I found out all the original actors were male….

    I chased away shammy the sham fool, more than year ago. Shammy, since, has never returned for more drubbings.

  14. Deleted says:


    In my experience that normally begins with a question. It I suppose that’s my midwestern upbringing.

    Most of the folks here other than perhaps Rincon simply spout approval for the behavior in this administration that they readily condemned from the previous one.

    So called “lovers of our constitution” braying repeatedly about how our “beloved founding fathers” (odd that we hear nothing about them lately or how offended they would be by this administrations efforts to turn the fourth estate into the enemy of the people)

    No oath keepers loudly promising that they’ll refuse to honor any unconstitutional orders from Agent Orange, no tea party patriots gnashing their teeth (or should I say “tooth”) over the “unconstitutional” executive orders issued by the current traitor in the White House. No. instead actual unwavering support for this threat to the country’s governance and support for taking actions against someone EXPRESSING themselves as if this is what the country was founded on.

    Dialog my butt sychophants want their echo chamber nice and quiet while they’re cheering witness plaid shirt guy being rousted for not cheering our “dear leader” the nerve.

  15. Rincon says:

    “Whoever it is, he/he is an arrogant elitist who just notified the world that he/she knows better than the elected President.” Might want to be a bit careful with that. By this definition, the Founding Fathers were elitists who thought they knew better than their leaders, while Hitler’s subordinates were good ol’ patriotic Germans, doing whatever their leader told them to do without question.

  16. Bill says:

    Rincon, you know the history of our Nation well enough to know that the Founding Fathers openly rebelled against an oppressive monarch and were not merely undermining their duly elected King. To escape that Monarch they formed their own government that provides for the choosing of a President. That President is tasked with certain jobs and responsibilities. So far, I have seen little to criticize on that aspect although there is much that I could quibble over as to form. Neuther, do I think that your analogy to Hitler’s subordinates is appropriate. Do you contend that the President Trump is analogous to Hitler? If so, please let me know your rationale or please withdraw the analogy.

    Please tell us what is good, honorable or beneficial in having an anonymous critic who claims to be high in the Government and claims to be one of a coterie surrounding the President dedicated to thwarting or muting his decisions?
    Does that not remind you of certain FBI officials who now face criminal prosecution and/or have been demoted for having thought that they should protect us against a President Trump? Did they not abuse the power of the government to subvert candidate Trump and President Trump because they felt, that they wanted to defeat the Candidate and bring down the President because they, arrogantly decided to protect the electorate if they made a wrong decision about who the President should be.?

    To oppose a leader is one thing. It is another thing to be part of an announced clique dedicated to substituting their outlook, decisions and judgment for the person duly elected or selected and could amount to serious acts. Disloyalty need not amount to criminal treason or sedition to be a serious matter.

    As I have said, I can find much to criticize this President on
    as to style but little to criticize In substance. In the organizations that I have been in or had leadership positions in, including a long stretch in the military, I would never tolerate, condone nor be a part any effort to undermine the duly constituted leadership. It is my strong opinion that someone who would be disloyal, hide that disloyalty behind a cloak of anonymity and remain in that position is not heroic or admirable particularly if all the while they are proclaiming that they are somehow saving me or the nation.

    So, if I sound like I have strong feelings on this matter, it is because I think that this constant barrage of snipes, snarls and innuendos does our country no good and has to end. This latest spectacle of the “anonymous” insider Op-Ed does seemingly prove something that I have been loathe to believe until now. That is, that more and more, there seems to be a concerted and coordinated effort to not permit the Trump Presidency to proceed. Is a coup a coup if i is bloodless?

  17. Anonymous says:

    The sniping (about a republican doing the nefarious things that republicans but especially this one) has to end because well, it’s a republican doing the things that a republican wants a republican to do.

    That’s rich boy.

    These same folks were in full throated approval however during the last two democratic administrations while their compatriots were rolling out such “constitutional crisis” as “hair cut gate” and other inanities that prevented this country from focusing on the issues of the day.

    This administration one daily lying unconstitutional act after another though, needs to be given leeway to do all those heinous things a republican has longed to do, like cutting environmental regulations designed to keep people from dying when they breathe or eat or drink, and then encouraging the guys responsible for making the breathing eating and drinking without fear of dying to spend money on “tactical” polo shirts, or cones of silence, or used beds or Chic Fil a franchises for his wife, while he takes trips to Morrocco on the taxpayer dime surrounded by more security personnel than “our heros” in Iraq had around them while they were fighting the war against reason for another republican.

    You guys man.

  18. Bill says:

    It is difficult to respond to rambling incoherent anger filled rants. Once again, Macbeth, Act 5, Scene 5.

  19. Deleted says:

    There are none so blind as those that refuse to see.

  20. Steve says:

    when they go “Hitler” they got nothin

  21. Rincon says:

    Sorry Steve. I forgot that you believe that we have nothing to learn from the history of Nazi Germany. I was just trying to keep it simple. OK, how about say, Pol Pot or Joseph Stalin. Would their subordinates have been wrong to resist the orders given by these leaders? I know, I know. Trump hasn’t actually murdered anyone yet, except for perhaps some of the 2,900 dead from Hurricane Maria or the 1,400 dead bodies each year expected from the recent rolling back of Obama Administration actions on the coal industry. They don’t really count anyway, do they? The question remains though, do you feel that a leader’s minions should obey to the letter no matter what orders are given? If not, where would you draw the line?

    As for the people in the White House, relax. Trump can fire them any time he likes. Unfortunately, there aren’t very many competent people who would work for him.

    Don’t worry about the comments, Deleted. Trump was right about one thing. He could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and his followers would find no problem with it.

  22. Rincon says:

    “As I have said, I can find much to criticize this President on
    as to style but little to criticize In substance.” I suppose you also felt that the Obama deficits were fine and you defended him for that – or did you criticize? Everybody else here, except Deleted, criticized Obama roundly for his deficits, but are remarkably quiet about the Trump deficits, which are much the same as those of Obama, despite good economic times, even to the point of praising the bill that authorized them.

    The pathetic response to Hurricane Maria was fine too? Four professionals, who were fully aware of their risky undertakings died in Benghazi, and Conservatives wanted to hang Hillary on a cross. 2.900 civilians died in Maria. Many of those would have lived if the response had been even as good as that of Katrina, but you can’t criticize Trump’s Administration.

    Trump has called the free press, “the enemy of the people”, the Supreme Court a “laughingstock, our electoral system as riddled with widespread voter fraud, our NATO allies as our “foes”, and has repeatedly denigrated our intelligence services and the FBI. He also claimed that Manafort was just doing what all of the other lobbyists do (If that’s true, why did he investigate the nonexistent voter fraud and not even bother with an apparently rotten lobbying network?). These are exactly the things Putin would have him say if he could. Seems to me the style is dramatically affecting the substance.

    He placed punitive tariffs on Canada, when we don’t even have a trade deficit with them and then even admitted that he hadn’t known.

    He’s essentially torn up our existing trade and defense alliances, leaving a vacuum for Russia and China to fill.

    Reversed the Obama ban on chlorpyrofos, which has been convincingly shown to cause brain damage in infants at common levels of exposure.

    Accuses the mainstream press of creating fake news, without convincing evidence of any kind, yet has been caught in bald faced lies hundreds of times himself.

    Trump has violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution many times at least in the ethical sense, if not in the legal sense.

    STILL won’t release tax returns despite abundant evidence that he may be beholden to Russia. We’ll have to wait for the Mueller investigation to wind up before we can be sure, but Trump could defuse it overnight. Why won’t he?

    Call it style or substance, but when style is so devastatingly poor, substance has to be adversely affected.

    I could go on for pages and pages, but I’m sure you’ve had enough, even if you’ve read this far. Of course, cheating on his wife multiple times is mostly style, so I didn’t include it, but the Conservatives in Clinton’s day crippled his administration over what for Trump, was a minor transgression. A double standard to be sure.

  23. Steve says:

    Found a nerve, hope it wasn’t your last one.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Rincon I haven’t had enough, don’t stop on my account in fact let me add to the list.

    We have a president that has issued more executive orders than any president in history to this point in his term. While President Obama had fewer, republicans and others around here couldn’t wit to jump on the “woe be to our believed constitutional republic” train.

    “Draining the Swamp”? Remember that little ditty trotted out by the right wing while the traitor in chief was running for office? Well we’re now two years into his reign and what do we have? One guy, a “believed” far right wing lunatic science denier, put in charge of the EPA who decided that he needed to fly to Morrocco, at taxpayer expense obviously, surrounded on every side by very high priced security, all so that he could LOBBY the Moroccan government on behalf of the largest LNG supplier in the US. Course the fact that the Lobbiest also happened to be his landlord, in DC, probably didn’t matter right? And the fact that this landlord made a sweat heart of a deal with Pruitt so that little Scottie could sty practically rent free makes no matter right? I mean, he’s a republican after ll and as a special bonus, he was doing away with all those regulations that cost big spending sonars like the Koch Brothers money. Never mind that Pruitts job was to protect the citizens of this country’s health and their environment right? Maybe his lobbying, some might say extorting, a “Chic-Fil-A” franchise for he and his wife makes no difference to republicans. After ll Mr. Substance over Style, not only nominated him but continued to support him and congratulate him after each of these actions. Where were the articles around here you ask? Well they’re out there, and I’ll summarize them here “Pruitt is doing a great job”. So, in spite of the fact that I rather diligently offered opportunities for anyone, including Thomas, to take up issues that, if presented during a democratic administration would not even have been necessary, what you found here,were crickets. So, that’s Pruitt, and I’m being rather kind her because the list of swampy actions by this hack are so many that there are simply an insufficient number of ones and zeros in the internets to list them all. But maybe the tactical polo outfit, the cone of silence, the used bedding (kinda weird right) the combat equipped Truck, the extra security for his family and their dogs and cats, the “favors” he demanded from EPA staff, NOT ONE of these are matters of style, and following the disclosure of each one of them, the Dotard in chief CHEERED his actions.

    Ok, I’m a little tired of typing now Rincon, so I’m tapping you in; GO!

  25. Rincon says:

    As long as you’re tiring…

    The same President that said the election was “rigged” by Democrats claims that he knows better than our intelligence agencies that Russia must not have hacked into our election process.

    Speaking of Russia, Trump insisted on meeting Putin for an hour and a half with no witnesses other than their translator – a very exceptional step. He then said afterwards that he didn’t see any reason why it would be that Russia meddled with our election process – and then weakly denied that he meant what he said. So is that the only evidence that Trump is under Russian influence?

    Let’s see how much smoke there is. Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen was paid $500,000 by a company owned by a Russian oligarch (Viktor Vekselberg) for unspecified “legal services”. We’ll soon see what Mueller knows about that.

    According to the admittedly biased, “The Week” magazine, Russia had 75 contacts and 22 meetings with people in the Trump campaign. Mueller has indicted 19 individuals and 5 companies and has gotten 5 guilty pleas as of 6/1/18 (p. 16). This does not include Cohen’s guilty plea or Manafort’s conviction, but it does include 4 meetings with Russians by son in law and top adviser Jared Kushner, who completely failed to disclose this required information on forms to gain security clearance. He also failed to note contacts with over 100 other foreign officials as was required. Kushner is is in a barrel of trouble for many alleged illegal acts, but for brevity, we won’t go there.

    The Trump investigation has gone on for about a year and a half. Kenneth Starr’s investigation of Clinton took five years to complete, so things are just warming up.

    Trump also shared classified information from Israel intelligence with Russia without Israel’s knowledge and even told Russia the information came from Israeli intelligence.

    Trump’s hundreds of lies seem to have no impact on his followers – and I do mean followers.

    In a previous post, I detailed 6 or so Trump-appointed cabinet officers who are completely unqualified for their positions, some of whom had no training or experience in the field involved in their post. Is it style or substance when you hired extremely unqualified people?

    Tag, Anonymous. Can you come up with more?

  26. Steve says:

    Did someone mention echo chamber?

    Interesting the “companionship” on full display.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Rincon there are simply too many to list and we’re talking ACTIONS not words. This is not a matter of style although I laugh at the folks on the right who believe the problem people have with Trump is his ability to say the precise wrong thing every single time he opens his mouth. The real problem is that every time he ACTS he does the precisely wrong thing.

    As further examples:

    Immediately upon taking office he did away with the 1/4% mortgage interest reduction permitted low income first time housing buyers; sure don’t want those folks buying houses now do we?

    Reversed President Obamas ban on importing dead animal heads into the country based on their “claim” that killing animals like endangered elephants and rhinos actually helped them live, then, after his sons Usay and Kuday, got theirs into the country, and lots of people objected he “reversed” the move, only to reinstitute it later after attention had shifted

    He fired a well respected, long time member of the FBI, who was most responsible for him winning, after telling him that he demanded personal loyalty, rather than the loyalty the mans oath required, and further demanded that Comey leave a known criminal alone which demand Comey refused to submit to.

    After a Russian led attack, on US troops, in Syria, Trump blasted American intelligence services and American military leaders, and did NOTHING to the Russians who attacked us.

    Following the deaths of 4 American service members in Niger, an operation which was undertaken without proper authority or security, which the commander in chief was responsible for, the president acted to cover up this tragedy that to this day is being hidden from the public. No demand for investigation no demand for transparency, only the indescribably retarded words of Trump to the family of a dead serviceman remains “he knew what he was getting into when he signed up”.

    During his campaign, and to date, Trump has continued his attack on immigration policies in this country but there are at least two people, that Trump apparently decided were “above all that”; Melania’s parents who were whooshed into the country under the same “chain immigration” practice Trump condemned for years.

    Another group that is apparently exempt from the “new norm” as relates to Trumps immigration practices are any potential employees for Trump properties. On more than 3 occasions Trump has “requested” and “received” special exemptions for bringing “specialized” employees into the country to work at his properties based on an exemption that is supposed to be given ONLY when it is shown that such employees are specialized and cannot be found in this country. Trump got these exceptions for waitresses, cooks, and dishwashers.

    Forget that the law permits a president to establish national monuments, and DOES NOT allow a president to diminish those monuments, and further that Trump has done precisely that at several places now across the country most particularly in Utah, it has now been revealed that that particular monument was important to swamp creature Zinke because he actually owned some mineral rights that had been part of the “old” monument, which rights were now, after the enactment of the monument, less valuable. While Trump campaigned, and promised to “drain the swamp” (I laugh every time I see this and think about the people that actually believed a “billionaire” was somehow going to be REDUCING corruption) I wonder if Zinke, and Pruitt, and Price, and Ross, were the guys he had in mind the whole time.

    Ok, I’m getting tired again Rincon, you’re it!

  28. Rincon says:

    I suppose the major stone left unturned would be the emoluments business and the rest of the swamp. It is thriving after Trump gave it a fresh watering. The information is easily available, but if the previous examples weren’t persuasive, then those who support Trump will make excuses for this behavior as well, just as if he shot someone on 5th Avenue. I think the idea is that, “He may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”

    Thanks for the help, Anonymous. It’s a pretty impressive list, even though we left a lot out for the sake of brevity.

  29. Rincon says:

    Just one more thought, Anonymous. Could you imagine the posts we would have seen if Obama or Clinton had committed a tenth of the acts that we just listed? Not a whole lot of objectivity around here.

  30. Anonymous says:

    No Rincon there is no objectivity and I have to say,for all the talk from people around here about “principles” (at least when they were using them as a sword agqinst democrats) I am surprised.

    And a little sad really.

    And you’re correct about the list; it really could go on, and on, and on.

    “I fear for our republic”

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