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I am definitely not part of the resistance inside the Trump administration Open in fullscreen

Andrew Leber

I am definitely not part of the resistance inside the Trump administration

Corruption in the Trump administration is becoming increasingly evident [Getty]

Date of publication: 6 September, 2018

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Who needs the New York Times anyway?
President Trump is being contained unlike any American President since Edith Wilson stepped in to "steady the hand" of her half-paralyzed husband.

It's not just that corruption oozes from his character like toxic sludge from a toxic-sludge barrel. Or that his dog-whistle race-baiting is becoming a bit too audible. Or that his party is so woefully underprepared for the coming election that they risk losing their ability to ram through ultra-conservative judges and legislation.

The dilemma - which he will not grasp unless somebody happens to show him this op-ed - is that senior members of his administration are doing the best they can to leave breadcrumbs that keep their legacies from being little more than the constant enabling of a menace to the republic.

I would know. I am imitating one of them.

To be clear, ours is not the popular effort on the left to actually "check" the president. We want all the Republican priorities this president has made possible, we just wish we could swap out Mike Pence for this unhinged grouch.

We are also hoping to pull off record tax cuts and the gutting of key regulations, but without starting a trade war with Canada or a nuclear exchange with North Korea, which when you think about it is really us putting America first.

That's why a few of us have made a tacit agreement to sort of… step in from time to time.

Oh, not on the Mueller stuff. Or the attacking the free press stuff. You know the big stuff, like… anyways, I digress.
Frankly we're getting tired of trying to convince the way-too-critical media that the president means the opposite of what he actually says


Clearly the problem is that the president lacks first principles from which to make decisions, making it hard to ensure that we'll only get tax cuts and conservative judges and fewer regulations on the economy and not, say, the aforementioned trade and/or nuclear wars.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president spends a bit too much time ramping up the xenophobia and not much time of the time-honored principles of free trade and free markets held by a handful of conservative intellectuals who assume they speak for the masses.

Sometimes he sticks to the talking points, but frankly we're getting tired of trying to convince the way-too-critical media that the president means the opposite of what he actually says.

Look, we'll give you the free press thing. He's not exactly a poster child for the wonders of democracy. We get it.

Still, think of what we've actually accomplished! This whole charade has actually been pretty effective at ramming through a lot of our legislative agenda.

But yeah, with Mike Pence… look, we all know you can do these things, you just can't be gauche about it. You know?

Pretty much everybody across the government with any real sway feels the same as I do, which is why The New York Times and The Washington Post have been gushing with anonymous quotes of officials sniping at the president pretty much since day one. You understand what we're dealing with, right?

Really, the meetings are nuts - Wolff had to tone things down for the publishers to let Fire and Fury hit the presses.

If we have to explain the difference between Sweden and Switzerland once more we're going to crack. And by crack we mean leak details of the cocoa bean proposal - trust me, you do want to know - to the first paper we lay eyes on.

"There is literally no telling how we're going to spin this in the future if he goes nuclear," a top official complained to me recently, exasperated the distinct sense that some old school friends were starting to question his "in it for the long haul" schtick.

You might be concerned at this point, but instead of doing something about those worries you can trust us, the unsung heroes of this flaming train wreck. Some of his aides - including some that are definitely not the author(s) of this piece - have been villainized by the media even though we're really trying to do all we can without signaling through some public, signed declaration that things are out of control.

We're sorry we can't provide clear evidence as to why you should trust us. But you should! We are all definitely adults. Well, except for Jared, but at least now everybody knows he couldn't possibly be the author of this piece. Or could he?

The result is… well, judge for yourselves.

I mean, take foreign policy. There hasn't actually been a nuclear war yet, right? We, I mean the president, haven’t gotten Congress to go the full Smoot-Hawley on trade, have we? Sure, plenty of blustering rhetoric, and some awkward press copy regarding NATO.
We're definitely not the deep state - most of us have window offices and show up on cable television, after all. We're more of a keeping-things-steady state


But if you pay close attention, you'll see that some of us - such as the author(s) of this piece - have been carefully salvaging enough of America's state capacity that some unknown, Pence-like future president might be able to pick up the pieces. Maybe?

We're definitely not the deep state - most of us have window offices and show up on cable television, after all. We're more of a keeping-things-steady state.

Now, triggering the 25th Amendment - the one that deals with presidents who are clearly a danger to the country - would definitely not be a keeping-things-steady thing to do. Nobody wants to gum up the works in Congress, and in any case most of us figure Trump and the Congressional Republicans would just brand us enemies of the people and be gone with us.

Also the bigger concern is not what Mr Trump has done to the presidency, or what the GOP has failed to do in trying to stop him, but our worry that the Democrats might use this to actually win an election. That means we - and by extension the American people - stop winning, so that's that. Out of the question.

I mean, when you think about it, it's this partisanship that has brought us this low. Letting the present crisis move you to throw your heart and soul into partisan politics, perhaps even getting the policies you want, is base tribalism - unlike ever-greater funding for the military, tax cuts for the rich, and gutting government regulations, which are things that all Americans stand for.

You see, Trump is afraid of honorable men and women like us. This is an exclusive "we", of course, restricted to the men and women doing their best to restrain President Trump's worse impulses. Leftist policy priorities are impossible and would ruin the nation, so let's take solace in the fact that we won't let the president's "irregularities" ruin the nation either.

So yes - we're putting country first, quietly working behind the scenes to ensure that the president doesn't do anything too crazy, and ensuring that he never, ever figures out what we're up to. Never!

Because Lord knows what would happen if he got the sense that there was an active cabal of resistance within the upper ranks of the government, especially if he got that sense from a publication he loves to hate.

The author has taken the step of writing a signed, satirical op-ed. He has done so at his own request, the request of somebody not in the Trump administration whose identity is known to anybody who bothers to read this and who doesn't even have a real job to begin with.

Andrew Leber is a PhD student in the department of government at Harvard University.

Follow him on Twitter: @AndrewMLeber

Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, al-Araby al-Jadeed, its editorial board or staff. 

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