An op-ed published in the New York Times claiming to be written by a senior Trump administration official has put Washington into a frenzy. The writer, who remained anonymous, claimed to be part of a “resistance” movement in the administration that was bent on curbing the most radical inclinations of the President. Curt Mills, writing in The American Conservative, explains that the writer is part of the very establishment that Americans gave a middle finger to in electing Trump. He writes (abridged):
Something tantamount to a national game of “Clue” is underway.
It was Mike Pence, with an email to the Times, in the Naval Observatory. It was Ambassador Jon Huntsman, Jr., with the phone, in the bathroom of his Moscow apartment. This reporter is loathe to delve into conjecture, but the author of the op-ed seems clearly to be, first, interested in national security, and second, a traditional conservative.
A preponderance of my sources argue that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. “[National Security Advisor John] Bolton would shock me,” a State Department veteran says.
The op-ed author writes: “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.” He (or she) maligns the president as “amoral” and devoid of “first principles.” A veteran watcher of Secretary of Defense James Mattis tells me that “’steady’ is a favorite Mattis word. …I think the McCain funeral hit Mattis hard.” Yet even if the president suspected his defense chief, he would be loathe to quickly dispatch him—and anyway Mattis may leave on his own after the midterms.
For his supporters, Trump’s continued occupancy of the White House is more about cultural grievance—a middle finger to a failed establishment—than about a knock-down, drag-out fight over real political change.
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