No, You Are Not Part of the Resistance: A Response to Trump Official Who Penned Anonymous NYT Op-Ed

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The White House is scrambling to ferret out disloyal members of President Trump’s inner circle after The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed Wednesday it says was written by a senior administration official claiming that a “quiet resistance” is underway seeking to constrain Trump’s worst impulses. In the extraordinary op-ed, the unnamed official writes, “Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” We speak to Vince Warren, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to end with this op-ed piece that has shocked the nation, the White House scrambling to ferret out disloyal members of President Trump’s inner circle after The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed column today it says was written by a senior administration official claiming that a “quiet resistance” is underway seeking to constrain Trump’s worst impulses.

In this extraordinary piece, the unnamed official writes, “many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” The author goes on to write, “ours is not the popular 'resistance' of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. But we believe our first duty is to our country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”

The op-ed’s author calls Trump impulsive, erratic, ill-informed and reckless, with half-baked ideas, and the author claims members of Trump’s Cabinet discussed invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment but later decided against it—the amendment allowing for the removal of a president who’s unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office. Vince Warren?

VINCENT WARREN: I tweeted about this yesterday, and I said that it was both extraordinary and outrageous. And I think what’s extraordinary is that there are people within the administration that are working to undermine this president. That’s not nothing. And I think particularly when you talk about the 25th Amendment, which was passed in the 1960s—it’s only been invoked six times, but never Section 4. There are four sections to the 25th Amendment. Section 4 is the one in which the vice president can ask for the removal of the president because the president can’t do his job. That’s never been invoked before, although it’s been discussed, under—in the Reagan administration, in 1987, 1988. They had a discussion about it, apparently.

But what is outrageous, I think, is, number one, that that inside official would dare to call his or herself part of the resistance. That is not the resistance. It is not only not the popular resistance. Let’s think about what they’re resisting. They’re resisting what we’re all resisting, which is of course Trump’s horrible, ill-conceived and impetuous urges. But what they are not resisting are the horrible and cruel policies that that administration is putting in. They’re high-fiving themselves in that administration when they criminalize immigrants, when they are getting rid of the EPA, when they are turning public education on its head. That, to them, is a victory.

So, part of me says, if it’s so outrageous, why did everybody else in America realize that he was going to be the disaster that he was, but you decided that you wanted to go work there? So I think that that—

AMY GOODMAN: I think they’re clearly saying they want to push that agenda forward. It’s the other parts of Trump’s personality that they’re concerned is thwarting that agenda.

VINCENT WARREN: Exactly. Well, you can’t jump—you know, if you’re jumping ship, that means that you got on the boat to begin with, so that’s part of the problem. And then, of course, not surprisingly, President Trump comes out there and says, “We demand that you turn over the names of these people.” That is simply not going to happen. That could very well be another case that’s going to the Supreme Court, as we’ve seen in terms of New York Times v. Sullivan.

But, you know, this is—my takeaway is that op-ed gave us nothing that we didn’t already know, but it gave us a little bit more context into how desperate this administration is. And frankly, I think that it is crumbling—it’s entropy, and it’s crumbling internally. And I think we can mark this moment historically to say this was the beginning of the end.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we want to thank you both for being with us. Vince Warren is the head of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Hina Shamsi is director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.

This is Democracy Now! When we come back, well, James Mattis and Secretary of State Pompeo are in India, so we’ll go to New Delhi and speak with Arundhati Roy, among other things, about the raids on dissidents’ homes. Stay with us.

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