The NYT’s anonymous ‘senior official’ is undoing American government

· September 6, 2018  
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Trump looks to his left
Mark Wilson | Getty Images

President Donald Trump is plagued by conniving, backstabbing, cowardly administration officials more than any other modern American elected leader.

A New York Times op-ed supposedly authored by a “senior official in the Trump administration” boldly declares,”I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration.”

Trump “is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader,” the anonymous author acknowledges, and then admits to being actively involved in thwarting the president’s agenda, along with “like-minded colleagues.”

“The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

The author attacks Trump as an amoral man, one without “any discernible first principles.” He calls into question the president’s commitment to conservative principles and accuses him of having “anti-trade and anti-democratic” impulses. He casts members of the administration “working to insulate their operations from his whims” as “unsung heroes,” applauding “the work of the steady state” to rein in Trump’s presidency from supposed disaster.

The writer of this op-ed has a very high opinion of himself and others in the administration working to end-run around their boss. The author even mentions “early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment” to remove Trump, an action these rogue bureaucrats proudly decided against, not wishing to “precipitate a constitutional crisis.” How very noble of them, while they’re interfering with an elected president’s directions and ensuring that his policies are not fully enacted.

This article is sickening. If true, if unelected Trump administration officials are indeed ignoring the directives of the elected president of the United States, we already have a constitutional crisis. This laughably renamed “steady state” is sufficient for overturning the will of the American people, as expressed at the ballot box.

The Founding Fathers of our country were explicitly clear: Government derives its just powers from the consent of the governed. Consent of the governed is enshrined in our political system through the electoral process. Every two years, the American people vote, and through voting, the will of the majority determines how the country will be governed and what policies will be implemented. The duty of the president and the executive branch is to faithfully execute the laws of the nation as passed by lawmakers who are representatives of the people. The Constitution grants supreme executive power to the president, also an elected official, and those unelected individuals who work for him are delegated authority at his pleasure.

The design of this system is to ensure at every turn that individuals who are responsible to the American people and who may be removed by the people hold the power and make the policy. This intentional design protects the consent of the governed. According to the vision of the Founders, no policy is implemented or ended in America without the consent of voters.

For an executive official to disobey the president, invalidate his preferred policies, or otherwise work to thwart his agenda is a perverse breach of his constitutional duty. It is a betrayal of the American people and an action utterly antithetical to the design of the republic. The author of the New York Times article vaingloriously declares that by resisting Trump, he and others are putting “country first.” That is wrong. They are selfishly substituting their own policy preferences for the ones that won at the ballot box. And they are pathetically opposing the president from the shadows, undermining him behind his back, and bragging about their disloyalty and cowardice in the liberal media. What other president has dealt with such arrogant and dishonorable subordinates?

The fears expressed by this author of how Trump’s policies might harm the country do not justify his “resistance.” The American republic will not end because of one president who may make mistakes or implement bad policies. Presidents are put up for election every four years. If the American people judge that President Trump is unfit for office or his policies have harmed the country, then he will lose to another candidate for president.

If someone in the government wants to resist Trump or his policies, he should challenge the president for the Republican nomination in 2020. Work to defeat him in an election. Convince the American people to choose another leader, another policymaker. These are legitimate responses to a president you dislike.

But for unelected bureaucrats to take matters into their own hands, to say they know better than the American people and to work to prevent Trump from governing, is the beginning of tyranny in this country. It is an un-American attitude of government by consent of government. It must be forcefully rejected by every American who values the Constitution, respects the rule of law, wants to protect the consent of the governed, and loves this country.


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Author: Chris Pandolfo

Chris Pandolfo is a staff writer and type-shouter for Conservative Review. He holds a B.A. in politics and economics from Hillsdale College. His interests are conservative political philosophy, the American founding, and progressive rock. Follow him on Twitter for doom-saying and great album recommendations @ChrisCPandolfo.

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