"He's part of 'the Resistance' within the Trump administration," Trump told reporters at the White House. "This is what we have to deal with, and the dishonest media… it's really a disgrace."
The bombshell NYT piece claimed "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… The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that whoever wrote the Resistance op-ed is a "coward" who ought to "do the right thing and resign."
— #August21 #PrisonStrike (@HalfAtlanta) September 5, 2018
Trump has argued that he is the victim of a "deep state" plot. The publication of a scathing op-ed by an official in his own administration who says "many" people are working to thwart his agenda can only fuel his claims that the deep state is out to get him. Some of the adjectives the White House official used to describe the president include that he is "generally anti-trade and anti-democratic."
The writer of the NYT op-ed pre-empted attacks about a deep state allegiance, stating, "this isn't the work of the so-called deep state. It's the work of the steady state." One of the examples of where the "steady state" has picked up the slack where Trump has baulked includes the degradation of relations with Russia through sanctions and the expulsion of Russians diplomats in the US. The writer notes "[Trump] complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behaviour. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable."
These officials arguably haven't just worked against Trump, they've worked against the American people who voted for Trump on a platform of improving relations with nations including Russia.
"We will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it's over," the op-ed says.
— Alex Rubinstein (@RealAlexRubi) September 5, 2018
Working to sow confusion within a leader's mind comes straight from the CIA's playbook against foreign leaders, as McClatchy reported in July. The gist of a State Department-CIA effort to make Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro look paranoid and unhinged was to sow doubt about an opposition mole within Maduro's inner circle. As some have observed in the US, major media outlets appear to be giving Trump comparable treatment.
"The first piece of a psychological plot by the US government to raise suspicion that one of the most powerful men in Venezuela may be a CIA operative was hatched in a seventh-floor office of the State Department," McClatchy reported. One of the officials involved in the plan told a colleague, "Don’t just hit everyone because you can. Hit the right people and then maybe get others to just be scared and wonder when they’ll get hit."
"The issue here is whether we learn who is controlling or managing Trump," Consortium News' Joe Lauria told Loud & Clear on Radio Sputnik. "Trump announced in Ohio last April, for example, '[W]e're pulling our troops out of Syria.' They are still there. Why are they still there? Why does he continuously make statements that he's going to do something, particularly on foreign policy, and then they don't happen?"