Anonymous author: Hero or heretic?
By now you must have heard about the op-ed published in the New York Times two days ago, the one by an anonymous senior official in the White House. It’s titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” and details how “many of the senior officials in his [Trump’s] own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
The author goes on to say they want this administration to succeed but their first duty is to the country:
That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.
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.
It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.
The Times knows who the author is but of course won’t reveal the name. And Trump is absolutely beside himself with anger, demanding to know the identity of the traitor in his midst.
When I first read the piece, I was pleased and somewhat reassured that there are indeed some “adults in the room” trying to make sure Trump doesn’t drop the nation into an abyss. But then I started reading the comments and many mentioned how self-serving this was, or just flat out called the author a traitor, condemning him or her for not being loyal to the man they work for.
The speculation, of course, has been rampant. Who is “anonymous”? Perhaps the language, the phraseology, can tell us. Perhaps there were several authors, to ensure no single person could be identified.
And then last night Stephen Colbert did some speculating of his own. He focused on the word lodestar. I had thought it interesting, too, because I’d never seen it before. Then he ran a video compilation of one person using the word repeatedly — Vice President Mike Pence.
Bingo! I was on board immediately. Pence is as high as you can get, short of the presidency, and he’s close enough to Trump to monitor his every move. I also wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he’s positioning himself to be the next president, either in the event of Trump being thrown out of office or as a candidate to replace him in 2020. He’ll always be able to point to this op-ed, if need be, to show what a true patriot he is (although maybe someone else included lodestar to make us think it’s Pence). He’s an uptight, extremely conservative, God-fearing, far right fundamentalist. He’s not the amoral nut job that Trump is, but in his own way he’s almost as objectionable.
Trump is so angry and so paranoid he might try firing everyone on his staff, just to get rid of the anonymous author. But Pence wasn’t hired by the president. He was elected by the people. Trump can’t fire him.
In any case, I find the whole thing very interesting. At the very least, if Trump is raging about this, he’s not focused on doing further harm to the nation. And maybe that was the point all along.