The op-ed makes extraordinary claims and distinguishes itself compared to previous pieces of information the Commander-in-Chief has taken objection to in that, instead of being based on a leak from an anonymous White House official, it is written by one entirely. He whom the Times must not name claims that "many of the senior officials in [Trump's] administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda."
"I would know. I am one of them," the official ominously wrote. He added that Trump acts in a way that is "detrimental to the health of our republic," and that the writer and his cabal of antagonistic insiders are not part of the anti-Trump, left-leaning "resistance" grown famous through the Twitterverse, but obversely an establishment conservative resistance capable of thwarting the agenda of the democratically-elected leader of the so-called free world from within the halls of power.
Ironically enough, the official claims the aim of him and his cohorts is to "preserve our democratic institutions."
The powerful MAGA apostates are "working to insulate their operations from [Trump's] whims," the official said, reassuring the American public that "there are adults in the room."
"This isn't the work of the so-called deep state. It's the work of the steady state," the official wrote, adding that there are "early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president."
In other words, while administration officials have successfully facilitated an administrative coup, they remain eager to foment a soft one.
The day prior, the Washington rumor mill was abuzz with talk of such a mutiny, spearheaded by veteran Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward, whose claim to fame came from his reporting on the Watergate scandal. Woodward worked closely at the time with FBI Associate Director Mark Felt, the number two at the bureau, to bring down US President Richard Nixon. Woodward's forthcoming book on the Trump White House appears to be informed by actors whose agendas are no less suspect.
Selectively leaked excerpts of the book characterize Trump as basically an unhinged fish out of water, flailing on a wooden deck; its thesis, primarily, is that Donnie is out of his element, to invoke memes inspired from the hit 1998 comedy "The Big Lebowski." Trump acts as a petty, bitter vulgarian as his top officials try their damndest to be the "adults in the room."
To do so, they'd have to place the cookie jar high up on the counter, and that's what they are said to be doing. According to Woodward, former Goldman Sachs investment banker Gary Cohn has resorted to stealing papers from the president's desk to keep him from rash responses. Mattis, allegedly, defied Trump's orders to have Syrian President Bashar al-Assad assassinated. These subversions, as Woodward calls them, are acts of an "administrative coup."
The timing of the Woodward book and the Times op-ed seems to be taking a page straight from the CIA playbook. Regime change orthodoxy dictates that a foreign leader who is a target of the US be divided from his allies and then conquered.
Psychological warfare is often the name of the game. Countless examples of such exist throughout the course of history, but if one needs a recent example to prove the point, one need not look further back than July, when McClatchy revealed a State Department plot to convince Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro that a member of his inner circle (read: senior official) was actually a CIA plant. The goal, in other words, is to isolate the leader, give him cause for paranoia and render him unable to trust to the point where he becomes unhinged and eventually slips up.
As MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes commented on the NYT op-ed, he "can't imagine anything more finely engineered to drive the president absolutely mad."
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
Trump responded at a conference with sheriffs from across the US to the Times' piece by basically calling the paper of record anything but, characterizing it as "failing" and dependent on him for readership. Then, the president tweeted just "TREASON?"
Later, Trump tweeted again, this time throwing the validity of the allegedly potentially treasonous story into question: "Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official' really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!"
While the president appears to be dealing with the op-ed poorly, and perhaps as its author intended, it is hardly surprising, as he appears to be facing a three-front war against his legitimacy. The intelligence community appears no less mutinous than Trump's inner circle, using the Mueller probe into alleged Trump-Russia collusion as a xenophobic scapegoat and false pretext to indict his former confidants on corruption charges.
Meanwhile, the liberal resistance has protested nightly against Trump outside of his DC residence, the White House, with LED signs accusing him of treason, a crime punishable by death. The organizer, a 15-year campaigner for Trump's former political ally turned presidential adversary Hillary Clinton, has called for Trump to "flee to Russia like [former Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych," who was ousted from power amid a Western-backed color revolution rife with neo-Nazi sympathizers and imagery, dubbed a "revolution of dignity."
It remains to be seen whether Trump's presidency will fall on any of the aforementioned fronts. Nonetheless, the president's progressive antagonists ought to know that coups rarely usher in leadership with progressive policy goals. More often than not, they backfire by either further empowering the surviving regime or by implementing one with even less regard for democracy.