Loading...
BYH to Greg Murphy who seems to never have met a government healthcare program he didn't want to expand....

If you can't serve honorably, don't serve at all

MarcThiessen

Marc Thiessen

Loading…

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The "deep state" exists after all. But it turns out that deep state is not made up of the permanent bureaucracy, shadowy intelligence officials, or even Obama administration holdovers; rather it is made up of President Trump's own senior appointees.

In a New York Times op-ed, an unnamed "senior official in the Trump administration" admits that he and others "in and around the White House" are "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda" and thwart "Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office." The author declares that he and his co-conspirators are being "unsung heroes" fighting on the inside to "preserve our democratic institutions." In fact, they are doing precisely the opposite.

President Trump asked on Twitter whether the writer had committed “treason?” No, he (or she) has not. But the writer and the other members of this "quiet resistance within the administration" have betrayed the solemn oath they took when they raised their right hands and pledged to "bear true faith and allegiance" to the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution vests executive power in the president, not "senior officials." Any authority these appointees have comes from the president, at whose pleasure they serve. For an unelected appointee to hide documents or refuse to carry out the lawful orders of the elected president is not noble. It is not patriotic. It is an assault on democracy.

If you are a presidential appointee who strongly disagrees with something the president is about to do, you have a moral obligation to try to convince the president that he is wrong. If you can't do so, and the matter is sufficiently serious, then you have an obligation to resign — and explain to the American people why you did so. But there is no constitutional option of staying on the job and pretending to be a loyal adviser, while secretly undermining the president by failing to carry out his decisions — no matter how bad you think those decisions are.

The conduct matches that of named senior administration officials described in Bob Woodward's new book, "Fear." According to Woodward, then-economic adviser Gary Cohn "stole a letter off Trump's desk" to avoid formally withdrawing from a U.S-South Korea trade agreement — and later bragged to a colleague that the president never even realized it was missing. Woodward further reports that Cohn did the same with a document to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement, telling then-staff secretary Rob Porter "I can stop this. I'll just take the paper off his desk."

It would be a horrible decision to withdraw from those trade agreements. And it would be perfectly legitimate to campaign internally to dissuade the president from doing so. But for the head of the National Economic Council to conspire with the White House staff secretary to hide documents from the president is rank insubordination.

It is important that good people serve in the administration and try their best to persuade the president to make good decisions and dissuade him from bad ones. But when you go from advising to subverting the president, you cross a moral and constitutional line. You are no longer defending democracy; you are subverting it. And to boast about your duplicitous behavior in the media is shameful.

In our system of checks and balances, there are a number of options at the disposal of officials concerned about the president's fitness for office. If the president is as unstable as the writer suggests, and if many within the administration share that view, then a mass resignation would be appropriate. That could certainly make an impact on the midterm elections and flip control of the House and Senate to the Democrats, providing a check on the president's power.

If Trump is truly incompetent, then members of the Cabinet can agree to notify Congress that they do not believe the president can carry out his duties under the 25th Amendment. If he has committed high crimes and misdemeanors, Congress can impeach him. But seeking to thwart the president from within by extra-constitutional means is un-American.

There is no shame in not serving a president you don't respect. Many conservatives have made that decision. But if you feel you can't serve the president honorably, then there is only one honorable thing to do: Don't serve at all.

Marc Thiessen is a columnist for The Washington Post, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and the former chief speechwriter for President George W. Bush.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Op Ed

April 26, 2019

Just one out of every four millennials demonstrates basic financial literacy.

That statistic from a recent legislative news conference helps explain a lot. Support for the Green New Deal? Positive impressions of socialism? Demands for more goodies from government?

All of these ideas might make…

Mitch Kokai

April 25, 2019

A crucial cord of priority-setting in government connects the April 15 tax-filing deadline with the May 1 teachers rally in Raleigh. North Carolinians filed their 2019 state income tax forms amid a six-year spree of tax reductions that has eroded North Carolina's ability to afford the teachers'…

Ferrel Guillory

April 24, 2019

On April 18, U.S. Attorney General William Barr released Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the probe into "Russian meddling" in the 2016 presidential election. The report cleared President Donald Trump and his campaign team of allegations that they conspired with the Russian government in…

Knapp

April 24, 2019

George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School hired Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh to co-teach a course this summer called Creation of the Constitution. The course will be held 3,668 miles away, in Runnymede, England, where the Magna Carta was sealed 800 years ago.

Some…

Walter Williams

April 23, 2019

The Fayetteville Observer

Lumberton got some desperately needed help last week, delivered by Gov. Roy Cooper. The city will get $1.1 million in grants to help prevent repeats of the severe damage the city suffered in Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

The biggest portion of the grants will help build…

April 23, 2019

The Wi-Fi on my flight from Rome to Newark wasn't working, so phones were buzzing about Notre Dame as soon as we hit the runway. After the initial shock and sadness, gratitude was expressed. There are upsides to being disconnected: At least we didn't have to watch something we couldn't control on…

kathrynlopez

April 23, 2019

If you value fact-based debate and impactful public policy, the state legislature's action over its "born alive abortion survivor" bill last week was cringeworthy.

The proposal brought the year's most overheated rhetoric to Raleigh, and the outlandish claims kept the fact-checkers busy.

But despite…

Colin Campbell

April 22, 2019

Whether he’s advocating a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border or threatening to completely shut down entries, President Trump is more about theatrics than logistics on immigration policy.

His latest idea: Send undocumented immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities — loosely defined as…

Migrant Surge-8

April 22, 2019

Did you know that manufacturing employment in North Carolina has gone up more than 10 percent since 2010? I didn’t either, until I took a recent dive into economic statistics.

In February 2010, there were about 431,000 jobs at manufacturing enterprises in North Carolina. By February 2019,…

020517Hood

April 22, 2019

Patriotism prevailed, and it is likely to continue prevailing.

This is the most significant revelation to come from the long-awaited Mueller report when it documented instances of individuals in President Trump’s circle of aides and allies refusing to do his bidding. They helped save him from…

262 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 27
        Next Page»   Last Page»