When President Ronald Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt, then Secretary of State Al Haig notoriously said, “I am in control here at the White House,” pending the return of the vice president. That did not go over well, even though he had noted that the VP is next in line if the president is unable to discharge his duties.
Today, an anonymous author penned a New York Times op-ed, to reassure the nation that, while President Trump is a crazy nincompoop, a group of “steady” hands is guiding presidential decisions for the president. Wait, he or she went further, explaining that Trump is so awful that his Cabinet considered invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, but they didn’t want to upset anyone. So, instead, a faceless group of unelected people are making the decisions for Trump, according to the op-ed.
The entire piece is stunning, for its candor and for its audacity. These are some key lines:
“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…
“So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”
Ergo, this anonymous Trump administration official is stating, in a newspaper of record, that the President of the United States cannot be trusted to do his job and other people are effectively doing it for him. My jaw has been swinging in the wind for hours now as I contemplate this disclosure. Who exactly is running this railroad?
During the administration of President George W. Bush, some detractors insinuated that Dick Cheney really had the reins of the presidency and made major decisions. I never really bought that. I did believe that Cheney had an enormously important role and voice in the decision-making process, but that Bush himself was in charge.
Presidents are supposed to surround themselves with smart people who will challenge them and conventional wisdom. We want that. What we don’t want are officials deciding among themselves what the president can and cannot handle. But, that is exactly what is happening, according to our anonymous op-ed writer:
“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.”
This depiction of Trump is one of a doddering fool who is not even cognizant of forces working against him in his own presidency. This reminds me of a Saturday Night Live sketch during the Iran-Contra controversy that depicted Reagan as pretending to be dimwitted about the goings on, but in actuality pulling all the levers in the scheme. Sadly, this real White House official is not suggesting Trump is pretending to be ill-suited or unfit. No, the assertion is he is unfit and a cadre of conspirators are covering for him, all in the name of doing the right thing for our country.
The author goes on to claim that these guiding forces are the adults in the room who are safeguarding the country from Trump’s worst inclinations and ideas. Really? Have these adults consulted constitutional lawyers and scholars to vet whether their modus operandi is legally sound?