What should the White House "quiet resisters" do?

An anonymous senior official at the White House publicly says the president is harming American democracy.

The official says he/she and some colleagues are trying to block what they think are the president’s more reckless decisions.


Many online critics are saying that the honorable thing for the White House dissenters to do is to identify themselves, resign in protest, and call for the 25th Amendment to be invoked (calling, that is, for the president to be removed).

Practically speaking, though, that could also leave the country even more vulnerable to an erratic president’s whims. The chance of replacing the president via the 25th Amendment is slim, and those who resign are likely to be replaced by yes-men.

What action by the “quiet resistance” would be in the best interest of the country?

That depends. Are you talking about someone who is in the civil service, or a political appointee?

If civil service, just do your job exactly to the regulations, keep your union rep on speed dial, and make sure that your ass is in all ways covered.

If a political appointee, by accepting a job from Trump, you are already so lost to honor and even ordinary decent behavior that there is no hope for you. Maybe seppuku?

The best thing they could do is already ruined. Don’t tell anyone! Now Trump will use this as an excuse to get rid of people. He’s been made more paranoid, and he has a scapegoat.

I guess the best thing now is to assure Trump that you’re not one of them, so you can keep on undermining things behind the scenes. Forget honor–it’s not worth anything but for self gain. Kiss up to him, praise him, do something so big that he wouldn’t listen to anyone else who says you’re against him.

And then just keep undermining him. Keep refusing orders that would cause harm, while creating plausible deniability. Keep on trying to actually do your job to help out others. And keep your eyes and ears open for a way to leverage things against him. Hell, given what Omarosa was able to do, record some shit.

And even if you don’t accomplish enough, you will at least have evidence to prove you weren’t really with Trump, but were undermining him. You can use that after the fact to help keep Trump from taking you down with him.

Set their cell phones on record and catch the son of a bitch using crude and abusive language. Bait him into revealing his true reaction to child separation. He’s the easiest fish on the planet to bait, it wouldn’t take more than a week to get enough recordings to piss off everybody.

They should publicly resign en masse, all on the same day, and publicly reveal every serious foul up (that doesn’t harm national security to reveal) that Trump and his team have done behind the scenes, with evidence and a paper trail, and loudly criticize the President and his team every day until he resigns or is impeached.

The person who was actually elected is doing less harm to American democracy than the fucking perversion of democracy that these so-called “resisters” are committing.

And why has he been unable to harm American democracy? it certainly hasn’t been through lack of trying. This story is claiming that it is the “resisters” who have put the brakes on him. We have no clue what would actually have happened if he was given free rein to his instincts.

I think they are doing the right thing where they are. I sincerely hope that in every government around the world there are the same sort of sane heads, elected or not, that actively seek to prevent those with executive power from taking outrageous courses of action. You can guarantee that the same thing will have happened on occasions with every president or head of state. The difference with Trump is in the scope and scale.

The editorial writer, along with whatever cadre of “resisters” exists in the WH staff, is the type of person who will apparently suffer a fool and a scoundrel in the Oval Office as long as certain policy priorities are tended. You know, things that are objectively good for the country, like removing as much tax burden from the wealthy as possible, or getting rid of safety and environmental regulations while muzzling useless agencies like the FDA, EPA, etc. What’s the harm in a little mutiny and executive sabotage if you can continue to get those things, eh?

IOW, the writer is arrogant, dishonorable and cowardly. What he* should have done instead of editorializing anonymously was to resign and publicize the malfeasance he observed and confess to the probable criminal activity he engaged in to ‘protect the country’ from the idiot in the White House. That would’ve been a less invertebrate path. Of course, since only another idiot or someone new to the planet could’ve failed to understand the nature of the man they’d agreed to work for prior to taking the job, we can assume the writer is not well acquainted with integrity in any case.
*“He” is the pronoun the NYT used to describe the anonymous WH executive staffer, so I’ll assume it’s accurate.

I expect the main purpose of this Op-Ed is as a preemptive defense of their behavior and ostensible support for Trump once it all comes tumbling down. I think some of them might see the writing on the wall, and want to already have a message crafted as to why they shouldn’t be blamed for all of Trump’s sins (and maybe crimes), once everything is revealed.

And they shouldn’t be excused, even if they write stuff like this. None of them deserve to have any jobs in public service ever again.

I agree with this, and I think it was done in anticipation of the release of Woodward’s book, which may be credible in a way that Wolfe’s and Omarosa’s books weren’t. As I said in another thread, I want to punch the guy that wrote this for considering himself an “unsung hero”.

my completely original thought is that the honorable thing for the White House dissenters to do is to identify themselves, resign in protest, and call for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.


Yes. They are taking extra-constitutional measures and setting a precedent that undermines our democracy. Quit and tell all. You don’t get to decide which policies of our duly elected officials implement.

ETA: The 25th amendment is not meant to be a substitute for impeachment and removal from office. It doesn’t apply in this case. And no way is Pence going to agree anyway.

Do you think that every one of Trump’s ideas should be implemented without question?

Chicken and the egg. One reason that Trump has not done worse damage to the country is due to the inability to get things done. Whether that is through incompetence or sabotage, it doesn’t really matter. (See for example, the early versions of his racist travel ban.)

But to the question in the OP, I’m reminded of the occasional outrage by the public when Americans go to some foreign land and get into trouble. Like the hikers captured by Iran, or the tourist who ended up tortured in a North Korean prison. Most of the time, the hoi polloi have an opinion of, “They should have known what they were getting themselves into; it isn’t our job to fix their problem.”

Most of the time, I strenuously disagree, because the matter at stake is basic human rights along the lines of, “Taking a risky trip isn’t justification for torture,” in my opinion. But as to people who take a job serving in the Trump Administration and are faced with a difficult ethical issue of when their duty to the country and the Constitution may conflict with their willingness to serve a terrible President… I just don’t care. You knew what you were getting into, figure it out yourselves.

This idea that it’s perfectly okay to subvert democracy so long as it is harming someone nasty is thoroughly dangerous. I feel like some of the people supporting it would be okay with a military coup against Trump.

So these people helped him put together a just-as-racist but more likely to pass muster travel ban while also subverting democracy, and I’m supposed to view that as an improvement?

This person is working not to stop Trump from harming the country, but to make his harm more subtle and more palatable.

John Mace wrote a post about process; why rebut him about policy?

I agree. It would be soooo easy to get him to say something disparaging about his base (“wow southerners are dumb aren’t they Donald?”).

If the American people as a whole want Trump to lose power, we have ways to do that. If you’re angry because that isn’t happening so you just want a shortcut, recognize that someone won’t be happy with whoever you want in power. It’s lunacy to say this is okay. There will always be some special circumstances someone, somewhere can use to justify overruling democracy. Always.

No, they can question it all the want. But the president makes the decision of which policy to implement and if you can’t abide by that decision, then you resign.