Donald Trump Has No Idea His Staff Is Sabotaging Him

SMG via ZUMA

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

For the past couple of hours the chattering classes have been obsessed with an anonymous op-ed published in the New York Times this afternoon. And why not? It is a wee bit strange for an op-ed to be anonymous. In this case, it’s written by a “senior official” in the Trump administration¹ who wants us to understand that there are plenty of adults who are monitoring the president and making sure he doesn’t destroy the world. That’s good to know, isn’t it? At the same time, check this out:

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. 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.

It’s one thing to keep Trump from breaking up NATO on a whim or rerouting the Colorado River through San Diego so Mexico doesn’t get any of its water. But the fact that he’s not always as conservative as his aides would like him to be? Or that he’s anti-trade? Those are things that a president is allowed to be, whether we like it or not. When it comes to routine policy preferences, presidential aides are not supposed to be working against the president on the pretext that they’re saving the country.

On the other hand, if Trump is too stupid to figure out that this is happening, then I guess I don’t care. Let ’em brawl. Considering the astonishing level of amorality and cowardice that the Republican Party has shown in the era of Trump, I couldn’t care less what happens to them. With any luck, the entire party will disintegrate like the Whigs and be replaced by a new party with a modest veneer of principle and at least a pretense of regard for the non-white and non-rich. It can’t happen soon enough.

¹Not necessarily in the White House, though. Keep this in mind.

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate