The Constitutional Crisis Isn’t Coming. It’s Here.

As the Mueller probe plods along, the wheels are starting to come off the Trump administration. Last week, we all got to compare this president with the legacy of Senator John McCain. While I was never a supporter of the latter, his funeral was crafted specifically to make Trump look small and place him outside our country’s most basic ideals.

We had hardly grasped the weight of that comparison when reports began to surface about Bob Woodward’s book. I think Kevin Drum summed that one up well with this title, “Donald Trump Is an Unhinged, Lying, Fifth-Grade, Goddamn Dumbbell—And That’s Just What His Friends Say.”

On Wednesday, the New York Times published an anonymous op-ed from a “senior official in the Trump administration” suggesting that most of them know that this president is seriously unfit for office.

The dilemma — which [Trump] does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

To be clear, 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 this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

It’s clear that in the play that is running inside this person’s head, they have cast themselves in the role of hero to the country for being willing to thwart the president’s more misguided impulses. He or she wants you to know that any successes coming from this administration are in spite of Trump’s leadership, not because of it. They want you to take comfort in the fact that there are adults in the room.

In anticipation of how some of us might react to those claims, the author writes this:

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The author would have us believe that by basically staging an inside coup where non-elected officials control the presidency, they are avoiding a constitutional crisis. What the holy hell!

I take small comfort in knowing that things could actually be worse than they already are if these guys weren’t thwarting Trump’s worst impulses. But enabling this lunatic’s grip on power while writing anonymous op-eds telling the American people that they’ve got this thing under control is the very definition of a constitutional crisis. They’re placating their egos with bromides about how they’re doing us a favor when it is much more likely that they’re drunk on the power of being able to run the show from the White House.

If the idea of a president  unfit for office combined with a cabal of White House officials running the country isn’t enough to wake congressional Republicans up from this deal with the devil, then the entire GOP is complicit in creating this constitutional crisis.

Barack Obama’s line about how democracy is on the ballot has never been more starkly true than it is this November.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly. Follow her on Twitter @Smartypants60 .