Axelrod: Trump's reaction backs up NYT op-ed

CNN's David Axelrod reacts to the anonymous New York Times' op-ed, saying there is "no parallel" to this in any previous administration.

Posted: Sep 8, 2018 10:45 AM
Updated: Sep 8, 2018 10:45 AM

What do you do when your boss is dangerously unstable, often clueless and, oh yes ... the President of the United States?

One senior administration official resolved that question Wednesday by unburdening himself -- or herself -- on the op-ed page of The New York Times, describing a "resistance" within the upper echelons of the Trump administration that has acted to protect the country from an unmoored President.

The author suggested that Trump-appointed Cabinet members even discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, declaring him unfit and removing him from office. Instead, the author said, they resolved to rein in the volcanic President from the inside.

The timing of the piece, coming a day after excerpts were released from Bob Woodward's new investigative tome, "Fear: Trump in the White House," deepened the portrait of an ignorant and amoral President whose escalator isn't stopping at every floor.

The question I keep asking is: What exactly was its intended purpose?

Was it to embolden a GOP-led Congress, currently in the President's thrall, to provide greater oversight?

Was it to warn voters that he's an erratic and dangerous dolt in advance of the critical midterm elections, with the expectation that a Democratic Congress will provide the oversight the Republicans have not?

Was this merely the work of someone who, after nearly two years in the White House of Horrors, felt the need to unburden himself -- or herself -- and bear witness to the disturbing things they had seen.

Or was it meant to defend the honor of those, like the author, who have decided to stay, despite deep misgivings and fears about the President? This, it seems, is the most logical and understandable explanation for taking this extraordinary step.

But if your resolve is to stay inside and quietly work to help rein in Trump's excesses, wouldn't it have been more effective to suffer in silence a while longer rather than poking an already raging bear?

The essay predictably infuriated Trump and his supporters. "TREASON?" the President thundered through his favorite medium, as his aides launched their own witch hunt to identify the offender in their midst. (Good luck with that. Like "Murder on the Orient Express," the list of suspects is voluminous.)

The President also hurled yet another assault at one of his favorite targets, the Times, for publishing the piece, going so far as to suggest the renegade author was the paper's fictitious invention.

Of course, the Times editors know the identity of the author and, as with any unnamed source, ran the piece only after judging him or her credible. This wasn't treason or fakery. It was journalism.

The high-ranking whistleblower also came in for criticism from some opponents of the President for hiding behind anonymity instead of quitting and for failing to act on the 25th Amendment (instead of "whisper" about it, as the op-ed writer put it), which could be invoked to remove an unhinged commander in chief.

We shouldn't minimize the fear the author shared about tearing the country apart by precipitously triggering a rare provision of the Constitution to strip an elected President of his authority -- despite the risk of a reckless Trump.

As Trump's fire and fury grows, we may be headed for a reckoning in open proceedings before the courts and the Congress. Most important, there will be a reckoning at the polls this November and two years from now. An act of the Cabinet behind closed doors to decommission Trump -- if this was truly considered -- would have been greeted by his supporters as a bloodless coup. On this, I am sympathetic with the whistleblower's concern.

The Times piece was stunning and, like so much in the world of Trump, wholly unprecedented. The observations of the anonymous author certainly ring true. They are consistent with Woodward's findings about the President's erratic behavior and plenty of other reporting that has been done about it over the past two years.

Yet, at the end of the day, I still find myself wondering: If the game plan is to stay in place and continue to act as a guardrail, why write the piece at all?

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 112123

Reported Deaths: 3223
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7796173
DeSoto670178
Harrison484483
Jackson435081
Rankin383786
Madison373993
Lee344979
Forrest296377
Jones283782
Washington252197
Lafayette242642
Lauderdale2376131
Lamar217138
Bolivar198377
Oktibbeha195854
Neshoba1814111
Lowndes174962
Panola166337
Leflore160787
Sunflower157649
Warren152755
Monroe145972
Pontotoc143819
Pike137256
Lincoln135555
Copiah135036
Marshall134826
Scott123829
Coahoma123436
Grenada120038
Yazoo119333
Simpson118649
Union115225
Holmes113560
Leake113340
Tate113239
Itawamba110424
Pearl River108958
Adams104343
Prentiss102619
Wayne98721
Alcorn96012
George93917
Marion92942
Covington92525
Tippah85921
Newton84427
Chickasaw82625
Winston82221
Tallahatchie81825
Tishomingo79341
Hancock78127
Attala77626
Clarke72349
Clay67621
Jasper67417
Walthall63327
Calhoun61412
Noxubee59617
Smith58316
Claiborne53216
Montgomery52923
Tunica52217
Lawrence49914
Yalobusha49314
Perry48122
Carroll46312
Greene45518
Stone45014
Amite41713
Quitman4146
Humphreys41216
Jefferson Davis39811
Webster36613
Wilkinson33020
Kemper32015
Benton3154
Sharkey27814
Jefferson27010
Franklin2373
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 153016

Reported Deaths: 2633
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22563372
Mobile14335314
Tuscaloosa10023133
Montgomery9759196
Madison904893
Shelby709960
Lee644966
Baldwin640569
Marshall428248
Calhoun412759
Etowah405749
Morgan396833
Houston364632
DeKalb319628
Elmore310752
St. Clair282142
Limestone270828
Walker268892
Talladega258435
Cullman227623
Lauderdale208740
Autauga201029
Jackson200915
Franklin199731
Colbert192228
Russell19053
Dallas185627
Blount184824
Chilton181731
Escambia171328
Coffee16669
Covington166029
Dale163451
Pike130512
Chambers130143
Tallapoosa128686
Clarke127117
Marion104729
Butler99840
Barbour9889
Marengo97221
Winston90413
Geneva8417
Pickens80517
Lawrence80031
Randolph79814
Bibb79114
Hale74529
Cherokee72214
Clay71912
Lowndes70127
Henry6376
Bullock63517
Monroe6319
Washington62212
Crenshaw59330
Perry5806
Wilcox55912
Conecuh55713
Fayette55312
Cleburne5287
Macon52820
Sumter46721
Lamar4565
Choctaw38712
Greene33916
Coosa1973
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