I’ve gotta say that I am not surprised in the least by the revelations contained in Bob Woodward’s new book about the inner workings of the Trump White House called Fear. A celebrity that gained his greatest fame by mocking other celebrities, that built his business on intimidation of contractors and local government officials, and that wants only “yes men” and sycophants around him is running an executive branch bordering on total chaos. I would have been shocked if things had turned out any other way. Trump likely thought he was being elected King–with absolute power to do whatever he wants–not President, who must work with two other branches of government.
Nor am I surprised by the contents of the anonymous op-ed piece in the New York Times last week. Members of the administrations thinking about country first–and not pleasing their boss and his mercurial whims–are the only thing keeping the chaos behind the scenes from spreading to the rest of the country and the world. Consider that if those department secretaries or administration staff weren’t in place. We would have left South Korea unprotected from its nuclear-armed communist neighbor. We would have walked away from existing trade deals with no other terms in place. We would be in a full-fledged ground war in Syria. And we would likely be on our fourth Attorney General, third Defense Secretary and 10th White House Chief of Staff.
But what happens when those who are taking the steps to keep order in this country either tire of their constant efforts to avoid total disaster–or get ratted out for taking the brave step to let everyone know what is going on behind closed doors at the White House and they are either fired, or their resignations are demanded by their hot-head boss? What happens when those with sinister intentions or interest only in political advancement take over those positions–and they make no efforts to put country first?
The final two years of the Trump Administration could be even more stormy than the first two. A loss of Republican control in Congress will assure that nothing that President Trump wants to do will get done. There may be impeachment hearings, more in-depth investigations into Russian ties and serious questions asked about financial issues and Trump-related businesses. All of which will drive the Commander in Chief closer to the edge–and more willing to take risks–either in acts of vengeance or attempts to look like a more-powerful man.
So what do we do when those who know the right thing to do, who want to do the right thing and have the courage to do the right thing–despite the wishes of their irrational boss–are no longer there? It is a thin line between maintaining some order behind the scenes in the White House–and total chaos spilling out into the rest of the world. Will those protecting us hang in there for two more years–or will our worst fears be realized?