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 11:25 AM
Updated: Sep 8, 2018 11:45 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?

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
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Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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