Trump’s Internal Resistance Celebrates. There were smiles—and fear that the anonymous New York Times op-ed could backfire on those inside the bureaucracy trying to blunt the president. Some officials interviewed by The Daily Beast cheered the underlying message of the anonymously written op-ed. But several worried about its lasting impact, beyond provoking a familiar Washington parlor game: outing a dissenter.
Handling the fallout of politically motivated anonymous quotes or leaks is a rite of passage for every president. Early in Barack Obama’s administration, a 66-page report on the future course of the Afghanistan war, penned by then-commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, was sent to Bob Woodward before the president had announced his formal decision. Later in his time in office, a White House official famously described Obama’s foreign policy as “leading from behind.” “It was sort of a breach of the Obama ethos,” said one top aide from Obama’s comms shop. “But on the scale of everything we were dealing with, it was a small deal.”
What Trump is confronting now is far different, veterans of past White House stressed. The leaks and anonymous quotes aren’t being offered to influence a political outcome or force the president’s hand one way or another. The piece thrust much of Washington, D.C., into a whodunit mystery, with rampant speculation about the authorship and outright shock from veterans of White Houses past that it happened at all. Matt Bennett, a former Clinton aide, emailed, “Even during the impeachment, when all of us were horrified by his personal conduct, no one in the Clinton White House (or administration) would EVER have done anything like this… I can’t imagine this happening in any modern presidency other than Nixon’s.”
At the Department of Justice—which has been eyed suspiciously by the White House for nearly two years as a source of insubordination—the atmosphere was tense Thursday morning. Two officials inside the department said they’ve been passively resisting the president since he took office in 2017. “We see ourselves as rebels,” one official said laughing, adding that the op-ed marked a perfect time to celebrate. “We even went around fist-bumping each other,” another official said. But a third, who feels similarly about Trump, sounded darker notes about where Trump’s ire over public embarrassment could lead.
H/T- Konan The Bar Barron
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