The nation is abuzz with talk of the anonymous op-ed piece published by the New York Times. The writer is apparently a senior official in the Trump Administration and names him-or-herself as part of the “quiet resistance.” The piece describes efforts taken by its author and others to walk-back, avoid, and otherwise subvert the President’s more rash decisions. In essence, it paints Trump as an out-of-control child. Some readers will wonder how this is news; however the piece is significant for several reasons. 1) It corroborates other, similar accounts of the Trump administration, such as those leaked by aides and those written in “Fear,” Bob Woodward’s book; 2) it simultaneously bolsters and rebuffs the 25th amendment theory of removal. The author of the piece wrote that Trump’s cabinet considered removing the President for incompetence, but ultimately decided against it because “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.” This confirms both that at some point use of the 25th amendment was a real possibility and also that it will likely never happen. That being said, confirmation of the President’s incompetence could add strength to other removal proceedings, such as through impeachment in the House; 3) perhaps most importantly, it helps to resolve the mixed relationship the Trump Administration has with Russia. The author wrote that though Trump has complained about Russian sanctions, the ‘resistance’ has worked to ensure it sanctioned and otherwise punished the nation for stepping out of line. Trump has boasted in the past that “there’s never been a president as tough on Russia as I have been.” Now we know that the punitive steps that the Trump Administration has taken towards Russia may very well have had nothing to do with Trump or have been done in spite of him. Though it may seem a small thing in light of evidence mounting elsewhere, this strengthens the case for collusion and could perhaps help to usher in impeachment.
Susan Walsh, AP