A resistance worker within the Trump administration, actuated by the principle of putting the nation before all else, has written an anonymous oped in the New York Times, a newspaper that Trump execrates. The author, a senior official, claims to be part of a group within Trump’s team “working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” He alleges that Trump has no patience for the fundamental conservative ideals: “Free minds, free markets and free people”. In fact, he can demonise the press precisely because he is innocent of these convictions. In terms of inclination, the author fears that Trump has neither a moral compass nor a policy direction, and his decision-making frequently mimics the operation of a windshield wiper. In sum, his behaviour inspires “daily disbelief” among his staff.
Now, none of this is headline news. The world — and especially the European Union and Nato — has enough experiential evidence to have arrived at those conclusions independently. But the testimony of someone who works closely with Trump, in what he calls a “two-track presidency”, is strangely compelling. And appearing on the heels of Bob Woodward’s unflattering narrative of the Trump presidency, the oped has had a powerful effect. Especially since it seems less a rant and more a countdown: The underground is apparently keeping America safe from the president’s worst instincts until he is out of power. This is prophecy, rather than protest.
Trump is epidermally underequipped. One withering tweet from JK Rowling can set him off with the force of Krakatoa. What do you bet that in one corner of the Oval Office, an AI is running a textual analysis of that oped to identify the author, so that Trump can sack him? But only after thrashing him with a golf club, naturally.