Loading...
'Bless his heart', so now Trump revoked the White Hose press pass of CNN's Jim Acosta for asking a question he didn't...

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

November 13, 2018

Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post

"Saturday Night Live" comedian Pete Davidson got reamed for making a tasteless joke a week ago Saturday about Dan Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost his eye in combat in Afghanistan. Days later, Texans elected Crenshaw, a Republican, to Congress. On…

November 13, 2018

Democrats achieved significant victories this year in the “inner suburbs” of Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and North Carolina’s other major cities — tossing out GOP incumbents in the General Assembly, county commissions, and other offices.

Although Republicans did better…

john hood.jpg

November 13, 2018

North Carolina's urban-rural divide grew to a chasm in this month's election — at least in the state legislature.

Republicans suffered huge losses in urban counties, likely leaving the party with only two or three representatives from the two biggest counties: Wake and Mecklenburg. But…

Colin Campbell

November 12, 2018

The Telegraph of London, England

Although the EU, including Britain, is sticking to the nuclear deal unilaterally repudiated by President Trump, without America’s backing it is pretty much a dead duck. Since European companies that continue trading with Iran risk being hit by secondary U.S.…

November 12, 2018

Bill Friday was right. Friday, the founding president of the 16 campus University of North Carolina System, fought with then-Gov. Bob Scott in 1971 over the creation of the new system.

Friday recounted the fight in 2010, in an interview with me in front of an audience for NC SPIN’s 600th show.…

November 12, 2018

The East Room of the White House — with its vaulted ceilings, ornate chandeliers and gold curtains — is the closest thing to a throne room the United States has.

When set up for a presidential news conference, as it was on Wednesday morning, it is magisterial. The president is announced,…

Anthony Zurcher

November 12, 2018

The midterm elections flipped control of the U.S. House of Representatives to the Democrats and expanded the number of Republican held seats in the U.S. Senate. The voters sent a mixed message for Democrats to decipher as they look toward 2020.

Which messages worked and which candidates won in the…

douglascohn.jpg

November 11, 2018

Washington Post

President Donald Trump's Wednesday firing of Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not surprising, but it should still be shocking. Sessions' sin was not that he was insufficiently wedded to the president's agenda; indeed, the attorney general was perhaps the most effective member of…

November 11, 2018

President Donald Trump lost. And it was not even close.

On Tuesday, the president and his allies paid a high political price for their preposterous claims about caravans filled with leprosy, Middle Eastern terrorists, Hispanic "breeders" and gang invaders. Those lies cost the hobbled president…

JoeScarborough

November 11, 2018

Can’t you say anything good about President Donald Trump?

Some of my friends claim that I do not give our president a chance. They say I always overlook his good qualities. So I have decided to respond to that criticism by thinking of good things I can honestly say about him and then making a…

DGMartin.jpg
302 stories in Op Ed. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 31
        Next Page»   Last Page»