Let me remind you about the author of the following target article. Jennifer Rubin writes the Right Turn blog for The Post, offering reported opinion from a conservative perspective. When a conservative opines that “Trump is off his rocker” you know that there is a serious problem in our capitol. The title of Rubin’s article expands: The ‘stable genius’ isn’t even functioning as president.
Like clockwork, on Saturday around 7 a.m., no doubt feeling the sting of widespread discussion that he is — as his own advisers described to Michael Wolff for his book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” — a dope, a moron, a man-child, a semi-illiterate, President Trump confirmed it all with a tweet. How perfect. A tweet. “Actually, throughout my life, my two greatest assets have been mental stability and being, like, really smart. Crooked Hillary Clinton also played these cards very hard and, as everyone knows, went down in flames. I went from VERY successful businessman, to top T.V. Star.” Later in the day he railed at the notion of free speech. “It’s a disgrace that he can do something like this,” he said at a brief news conference at Camp David. “Libel laws are very weak in this country. If they were stronger, hopefully, you would not have something like that happen.” Both his desire to prevent criticism and his ridiculous “cease and desist” letters sent by his lawyers to Wolff and his publisher betray his contempt for the First Amendment and his inability to take himself out of the equation and recognize the pillars of democracy, a democracy he took an oath to defend.
Scriber notes that Trump has told lies almost every day since he took that oath. And he lied about the oath he took on January 20th, 2017.
To defend his continued occupancy of the office or to insist he’s “better than Hillary” is to reject the notion of democracy. We cannot accept, let alone applaud, courtiers scurrying around to create the appearance of a functioning government. He, not they, is the chief executive and commander in chief. We have a vice president elected specifically to take over if the president is incapable of serving; the 25th Amendment does not say “but in a pinch, let the secretaries of defense and treasury run the show.” What we have is a type of coup in which the great leader is disabled. He is propped up, sent out to read lines written by others and kept safely away from disastrous situations. This is not how our system works, however.
We’re playing with fire, counting on the ability of others to restrain him from, say, launching a nuclear war and, nearly as bad, jettisoning our representative democracy. Vice President Pence, the Cabinet and Congress have a moral and constitutional obligation to bring this to a stop.
After a hiatus of 40 some years, Scriber has taken up playing Bridge again. There’s a lot of informal lore to learn. One saying is “never try to save your partner”, the rational being that chances are that you will just make a bad hand worse. Trump’s courtiers need to learn this lesson. They’re trying to save a bad hand and in so doing are not discharging their constitutional duties. America is already the worse for that.
However, like all rules, there is at least one exception. Jennifer Rubin, again in The Washington Post, identifies the Distinguished person of the week: One man wouldn’t join in Trump’s skulduggery.
I cannot tell you why so many White House staffers cited in Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House,” did not quit on principle or come forward with their concerns about the president’s fitness for office. What can I say? People are careerists; they become addicted to the power and prestige that comes with working in the White House. (And sadly, with this president, the best and brightest and most morally grounded people did not go work in the White House in the first place.)
Nevertheless, in all that we have learned over the past week and all the anecdotes about those facilitating possible obstruction of justice and enabling a non-functional president, one person managed to do the right thing. Mark Corallo, former spokesman for President Trump’s legal team, did not simply follow along. Trump and his advisers, returning home on Air Force One this past summer, busily drafted and redrafted a misleading statement to explain the infamous June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower. “Mark Corallo was instructed not to speak to the press, indeed not to even answer his phone,” according to Wolff. “Later that week, Corallo, seeing no good outcome — and privately confiding that he believed the meeting on Air Force One represented a likely obstruction of justice — quit.”
He should be an example to others in government service, really in any line of work. No job, no relationship is worth sacrificing your reputation and credibility. Shade the truth here, lie there. Soon you’ll have lost your soul. C.S. Lewis wrote about the phenomenon, the urge to stay in the “Inner Ring” that drives even good people to do bad things … [Lewis’ conclusion is] “Of all the passions, the passion for the Inner Ring is most skillful in making a man who is not yet a very bad man do very bad things.”
Corallo resisted that urge, did the right thing and quit. For that he may be remembered as a single honest man among a pack of scoundrels. For that we can say, well done, Mr. Corallo.
We desperately need more Corallos to stand up, expose this would-be emperor’s new clothes, and do the moral and constitutional right thing: invoke the 25th before Trump completely trashes our democracy and drags us into a nuclear war.