Axelrod: Trump's reaction backs up NYT op-ed

CNN's David Axelrod reacts to the anonymous New York Times' op-ed, saying there is "no parallel" to this in any previous administration.

Posted: Sep 8, 2018 10:32 AM
Updated: Sep 8, 2018 10:45 AM

What do you do when your boss is dangerously unstable, often clueless and, oh yes ... the President of the United States?

One senior administration official resolved that question Wednesday by unburdening himself -- or herself -- on the op-ed page of The New York Times, describing a "resistance" within the upper echelons of the Trump administration that has acted to protect the country from an unmoored President.

The author suggested that Trump-appointed Cabinet members even discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment, declaring him unfit and removing him from office. Instead, the author said, they resolved to rein in the volcanic President from the inside.

The timing of the piece, coming a day after excerpts were released from Bob Woodward's new investigative tome, "Fear: Trump in the White House," deepened the portrait of an ignorant and amoral President whose escalator isn't stopping at every floor.

The question I keep asking is: What exactly was its intended purpose?

Was it to embolden a GOP-led Congress, currently in the President's thrall, to provide greater oversight?

Was it to warn voters that he's an erratic and dangerous dolt in advance of the critical midterm elections, with the expectation that a Democratic Congress will provide the oversight the Republicans have not?

Was this merely the work of someone who, after nearly two years in the White House of Horrors, felt the need to unburden himself -- or herself -- and bear witness to the disturbing things they had seen.

Or was it meant to defend the honor of those, like the author, who have decided to stay, despite deep misgivings and fears about the President? This, it seems, is the most logical and understandable explanation for taking this extraordinary step.

But if your resolve is to stay inside and quietly work to help rein in Trump's excesses, wouldn't it have been more effective to suffer in silence a while longer rather than poking an already raging bear?

The essay predictably infuriated Trump and his supporters. "TREASON?" the President thundered through his favorite medium, as his aides launched their own witch hunt to identify the offender in their midst. (Good luck with that. Like "Murder on the Orient Express," the list of suspects is voluminous.)

The President also hurled yet another assault at one of his favorite targets, the Times, for publishing the piece, going so far as to suggest the renegade author was the paper's fictitious invention.

Of course, the Times editors know the identity of the author and, as with any unnamed source, ran the piece only after judging him or her credible. This wasn't treason or fakery. It was journalism.

The high-ranking whistleblower also came in for criticism from some opponents of the President for hiding behind anonymity instead of quitting and for failing to act on the 25th Amendment (instead of "whisper" about it, as the op-ed writer put it), which could be invoked to remove an unhinged commander in chief.

We shouldn't minimize the fear the author shared about tearing the country apart by precipitously triggering a rare provision of the Constitution to strip an elected President of his authority -- despite the risk of a reckless Trump.

As Trump's fire and fury grows, we may be headed for a reckoning in open proceedings before the courts and the Congress. Most important, there will be a reckoning at the polls this November and two years from now. An act of the Cabinet behind closed doors to decommission Trump -- if this was truly considered -- would have been greeted by his supporters as a bloodless coup. On this, I am sympathetic with the whistleblower's concern.

The Times piece was stunning and, like so much in the world of Trump, wholly unprecedented. The observations of the anonymous author certainly ring true. They are consistent with Woodward's findings about the President's erratic behavior and plenty of other reporting that has been done about it over the past two years.

Yet, at the end of the day, I still find myself wondering: If the game plan is to stay in place and continue to act as a guardrail, why write the piece at all?

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 44°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 45°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
48° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 48°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 42°
Fort Payne
Clear
51° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 51°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 426543

Reported Deaths: 6126
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62752920
Mobile30551554
Madison27303186
Tuscaloosa20835267
Montgomery19192305
Shelby18693114
Baldwin16513183
Lee12603101
Morgan12321113
Etowah11805168
Calhoun11206200
Marshall10236107
Houston8681148
Cullman8094105
Limestone807474
Elmore7923101
DeKalb771597
Lauderdale763183
St. Clair7599120
Talladega6224108
Walker5930174
Jackson583741
Colbert535473
Blount532083
Autauga522755
Coffee446256
Dale399781
Franklin368148
Chilton337865
Russell335910
Covington330168
Escambia321342
Dallas305196
Chambers288669
Clarke283133
Tallapoosa2630107
Pike251329
Marion247350
Lawrence245247
Winston229035
Bibb217047
Geneva203335
Marengo200829
Pickens196931
Hale177442
Barbour173836
Fayette171226
Butler170758
Cherokee160930
Henry155021
Monroe147317
Randolph141535
Washington138326
Clay127045
Crenshaw120244
Cleburne118423
Lamar118419
Macon116835
Lowndes111535
Wilcox103621
Bullock99728
Perry98219
Conecuh95120
Sumter89526
Greene76223
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 690065

Reported Deaths: 8471
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby767471128
Davidson71148672
Knox38985408
Hamilton34813329
Rutherford33298287
Unassigned22950127
Williamson21507140
Sumner18322232
Out of TN1618380
Wilson14511158
Montgomery14507149
Sullivan12634211
Blount12029126
Washington11949192
Maury11003123
Bradley1083891
Sevier10534108
Putnam9968140
Madison9163179
Robertson766685
Hamblen7018109
Anderson6818104
Greene6615108
Tipton622665
Gibson5656111
Coffee564882
Cumberland542173
Dickson540479
Bedford532889
Roane522979
Carter5115114
Lawrence511469
McMinn510073
Warren500053
Loudon497450
Jefferson480875
Dyer477282
Monroe459462
Hawkins448170
Franklin413062
Obion400580
Fayette399351
Rhea382856
Lincoln379844
Marshall346336
Cocke345656
Weakley341248
Cheatham338130
Henderson333857
Campbell325840
Giles323072
Carroll312759
White311743
Hardeman310452
Hardin298947
Lauderdale294331
Macon289350
Wayne262219
Henry261958
Overton254643
DeKalb242741
McNairy241042
Haywood240645
Smith231727
Marion229231
Trousdale228914
Scott226231
Hickman224934
Claiborne215929
Fentress213231
Grainger209636
Johnson202232
Morgan189815
Crockett180938
Bledsoe174910
Chester174837
Unicoi167944
Cannon158119
Lake156019
Decatur147726
Polk143817
Union139923
Grundy139321
Sequatchie137618
Humphreys133517
Benton132435
Lewis127720
Meigs114916
Stewart105820
Jackson104322
Perry94825
Clay94026
Houston93922
Moore8089
Pickett68020
Van Buren6637
Hancock4056

Community Events