Op-ed that stirred the pot in Washington D.C.

by Luciana Paz

The unexpected broadside op-ed, “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” was published anonymously by The New York Times on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

The Op-ed claimed that the Republican administrative insider is part of the individuals that work for the president, but “vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” This caused President Trump to blast his Twitter account and tweet through his inner conspiracy obsession: “TREASON!” and added, “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, The Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!” This clearly set off some wires and probably made his face turn bright red as it usually does when he gets angry. All jokes aside, the publishing of the op-ed stirred the pot for something that has been cooking for a while now.

For the most part, this is what the anonymous high administrative official has done, to confirm most of what everyone already knows: that Trump has shown pitfalls in his personality, he gets along with fickle autocratic leaders and is difficult to deal with, especially on a basis of morality and party values.

The article said, “Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.”

I understand that each president has their way of communicating but having a someone with such a chaotic and undiplomatic nature making decisions worries me.  I  feel thankful that there are some individuals within the administration trying to contain the situation. I say this because I believe that rational politicians, either republican or democrat, would try to minimize costs and bad decisions. Yet, whether you are part of the democrat or republican working together or not, it should be concerning that we have reached a point where our leader has to be babysat.

The article goes on to explain that along with his personality, it is his conservative values which are questionable. “The root of the problem is the president’s amorality,” said the article, “Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.”

Trump’s xenophobic attitude, racist and sexist remarks, persistent dishonesty and friendly attitude towards Putin and Kim Jong Un is damaging the party’s ethical and electoral future. In the light of McCain’s death, I believe republicans such as the writer of this article would agree with me that what President Trump represents is not what the Republicans stand for.

The New York Times’ role was what really hit home for me as a young journalist in President Trump’s indirect challenge to our first amendment. According to Mark Berman, a Washington Post national reporter, Trump’s response (regarding whether or not action would be taken against The New York Times) was: “We’re going to see. I’m looking at that right now.”

He alluded to doing so through national security motives when he said, “For somebody to do that [publish the op-ed] is very low. Journalistically and many different stand points, and maybe even from the standpoint of national security, we’ll find out about that.” I understand that President Trump would react in such a negative way because he is being criticized anonymously by someone within his party. He can’t help but feel paranoid which enforces his idea that the media is out to get him.

The New York Times explained that they safeguarded the identity of the writer because of President Trump’s threats to involve the Department of Justice. They also noted that with these actions remind us of the importance of a free and independent press. Confidently, the outlet also said, that the Department of Justice should know that this writer, like other Americans, has the right to be protected by the First Amendment and would not abuse government power.

Although, The New York Times might lean towards a more progressive point of view, they would not have the courage to publish a fabrication. They stand firmly with their decision, which to me is enough to show they aren’t just trying to enrage and create chaos in Washington D.C.

In the aftermath of the publication, The New York Times received more than 23,000 online comment and questions. One of the answered, questions was:  “How do you vet a piece like this?” Jim Dao, New York Times op-ed page editor, said that they had communicated directly with the author. He also explained they requested a background check, and through the help of the testimony of the trusted intermediary they were able to be certain of the identity of the author.

I believe they published this op-ed to show the American people a republican resistance perspective that was necessary, even though they knew that keeping it anonymous could create issues with credibility.

With that being said, it was refreshing to see a more personal account of what the republican resistance is seeing and feeling about President Trump. Also, as a consequence, what they are doing, as the op-ed writer explains, to impede President Trump from being detrimental to the health of the country.

So will this op-ed play a role as a large influencer in the midterm election in November? Hard to say for other voters, but for me it definitely did.

Luciana Paz can be reached at luciana.paz@spartans.ut.edu

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