Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past seven months, the idea that Donald Trump is crazy will not be new to you. But for members of his administration to admit it – even privately – well, that’s a whole different ball of wax.
Oh, of course, Trump has his apologists. The reasons for it are varied, but they all boil down to personal ambition. Or perhaps those apologists think that, by denying the obvious, it will put a worried public at ease. That’s kind of difficult when, on a daily basis, you see the President of the United States telling outright, provable lies and bear witness to the unending chaos that is the hallmark of the Oval Office these days.
On the record, you’ll see stuff like Secretary Mnuchin posted in response to Yale ‘85’s open letter calling for Trump’s resignation:
“[A]s someone who is Jewish, I believe I understand the long history of violence and hatred against the Jews (and other minorities).”
“I feel compelled to let you know that the President in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways.”
“I don’t believe the allegations against the President are accurate, and I believe that having highly talented men and women in our country surrounding the President in his administration should be reassuring to you.”
Behind the scenes, however, aides are more candid.
Axios spoke to six senior administration officials who are either intent on staying in order to do what they can to save the Republic, or are so disgusted they are ready to throw in the the towel and wipe the slime of Donald Trump off of them.
This is what they had to say. The reporter’s comments on those remarks are included.
“You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill”: The most common response centers on the urgent importance of having smart, sane people around Trump to fight his worst impulses. If they weren’t there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall.
“General Mattis needs us”: Many talk about their reluctance to bolt on their friends and colleagues who are fighting the good fight to force better Trump behavior/decisions. They rightly point out that together, they have learned how to ignore Trump’s rhetoric and, at times, collectively steer him to more conventional policy responses.
“Trump’s not as evil as portrayed”: All of them talk up the president as more reasonable off Twitter and TV than on it. This gives them hope (though almost all increasingly say it’s fleeting hope) he will listen to his better angels, or at least the pleas of Ivanka.
“We like the power”: Well, no one comes out and say it this blatantly. But working in the White House, even this one, is intoxicating and ego-stroking. They have enormous say over regulations and rules, invites and implementation, government jobs and access to the Oval. They also know they are one step away from an even bigger job in government, so it’s hard to just walk away.
The Axios reporter posed this to an aide: “It puts Trump’s tortured staff in a bigger jam: How do they look their African American friends in the eye, and rationalize their support of Trump?”
The response given, with permission to print it was this:
I have absolutely no difficulty looking anyone in the eye. Here’s why:
Will I have the same, incredible opportunities to make a true difference somewhere else? No.
If I leave, who will take my spot? Someone with my heart for making things better for ALL Americans? Maybe, maybe not. Huge value to country in good people serving right now.
The Presidency is bigger than the person. And the WH has expansive influence on execution of broad range of administrative authorities.
All of that makes sense, and I do applaud the people in the White House who are trying to hold things together. But I have to ask a question of my own: Why are they not coming out publicly and saying that Trump is a raving lunatic who should not be allowed to occupy that office for so much more as a nanosecond? Why are they not AT THE VERY LEAST going to members of Congress to demand they invoke the 25th Amendment and remove this crazy man from office before he does something to irreparably damage this country? This isn’t some scene from Brokeback Mountain with a heartbroken cowboy proclaiming “I wish I knew how to quit you.”
I mean, come on, who’s going to lose their job? It’s not like all of a sudden Hillary Clinton will be installed as president. It’ll be Mike Pence – another disaster, yes, but at least he isn’t mentally unhinged.
But no, we are stuck with a president who actually stared into the sun during an eclipse. Maybe he thinks he’s got superpowers that protect him.
Where are the powers that will protect us? Because quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of faith in any of that bunch in the White House.
Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things. Show her some love and check out her books!
Visit her at Ann Werner on the Web