If Bob Woodward is right, then why aren’t all these White House malcontents invoking the 25th amendment?

Updates

  1. Originally published, September 5, 8:59 pm.
  2. September 5, 11:25 pm:
    • So you can see my critique of that anonymous op-ed in the New York Times below. Now here’s David Frum with an entirely different but no less harsh take.[1] (Donald Trump)
    • Meanwhile, and mostly for the record, the White House reaction.[2] (Donald Trump)

Donald Trump

Funny how no one is talking about the 25th Amendment, which provides for this contingency. The argument that “[w]e want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous[3]” only makes sense if Mike Pence is not a more reliable conservative than Donald Trump. But, also according to this unnamed opinion writer, allegedly a senior White House official, “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.” Further, we are to understand, “[t]here are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more. But these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”[4] Would Pence have a worse “leadership style?” And finally, if you claim that “there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president” but that “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis,”[5] what exactly would this official call what (s)he and his or her unelected colleagues are doing when they subvert an elected official’s will? (Hint: David Frum has a clue.[6])

I think Matthew Yglesias has this right:

And come to think of it, here’s someone we haven’t heard from in a while either:

I’ve said before that if it doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t make sense, and it cannot last. My problem is that with Donald Trump, we are now so far beyond that point, that I have to question my understanding of what makes sense.

David Frum, “This Is a Constitutional Crisis,” Atlantic, September 5, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/

Jeremy Herb, Jamie Gangel, and Dan Merica, “Bob Woodward: Trump’s aides stole his papers ‘to protect the country,'” CNN, September 5, 2018, https://www.cnn.com/2018/09/04/politics/bob-woodward-book-donald-trump-fear/index.html

Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, “‘The sleeper cells have awoken’: Trump and aides shaken by ‘resistance’ op-ed,” Washington Post, September 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-sleeper-cells-have-awoken-trump-and-aides-shaken-by-resistance-op-ed/2018/09/05/ecdf423c-b14b-11e8-a20b-5f4f84429666_story.html

“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html


  1. [1]David Frum, “This Is a Constitutional Crisis,” Atlantic, September 5, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/
  2. [2]Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, and Josh Dawsey, “‘The sleeper cells have awoken’: Trump and aides shaken by ‘resistance’ op-ed,” Washington Post, September 5, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-sleeper-cells-have-awoken-trump-and-aides-shaken-by-resistance-op-ed/2018/09/05/ecdf423c-b14b-11e8-a20b-5f4f84429666_story.html
  3. [3]“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html
  4. [4]“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html
  5. [5]“I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” New York Times, September 5, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/opinion/trump-white-house-anonymous-resistance.html
  6. [6]David Frum, “This Is a Constitutional Crisis,” Atlantic, September 5, 2018, https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/09/this-is-a-constitutional-crisis/569443/

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