Is the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed a patriot or a traitor?
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Is the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed a patriot or a traitor?

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In a bombshell New York Times op-ed, an anonymous senior Trump administration official claims there is a shadow government of "patriots" preventing the president from acting on his worst impulses. The author, who refers to the people working against President Trump as the '"resistance," believes they are protecting the country against the whims of an unstable man. Critics say no matter how unhinged he is, Trump is still our duly elected president and circumventing him could lead to a constitutional crisis. What do you think?

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In the op-ed, the author lists several instances of White House officials ignoring Trump's directions in order to prevent what they see as catastrophes. 

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.
Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals.
On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He 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 behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.
This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.

Many vocal critics said the way to truly "resist" the president would be to leave the administration and publicly denounce what is happening in the White House. 

The suggestion that at least some members of the Cabinet have talked about invoking these powers is new and shocking. But what does it mean to say that the whisperers didn’t want to precipitate a crisis? After all, the rest of the article makes clear that the crisis already exists and is deadly serious. The head of state of the most powerful country in the world is someone whose own subordinates and appointees regard as unmoored, untrustworthy, and potentially dangerous. “The root of the problem is the president’s amorality,” the Op-Ed says. “Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making. . . . Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.”
...And questions are already being asked about why the author chose to remain anonymous, rather than resigning from the Administration and publishing the article on the record. Benjamin Wittes, the editor-in-chief of the Lawfare blog and a prominent Trump critic, wrote, on Twitter, “I have no respect for someone who would say these things—of whose truth I have no doubt—in an anonymous oped, rather than in a public resignation letter copied to the House Judiciary Committee.” Another Trump antagonist, the former Bush speechwriter David Frum, wrote, in The Atlantic, “What the author has just done is throw the government of the United States into even more dangerous turmoil. He or she has enflamed the paranoia of the president and empowered the president’s willfulness.”

However, the situations the author says have been prevented by the "resistance" are undoubtedly dire. 

The testimony of the tell-alls is remarkably consistent. Some around Trump are completely corrupted by the access to power. But others — who might have served in any Republican administration — spend much of their time preventing the president from doing stupid and dangerous things. Woodward’s book recounts one story in which then-economic adviser Gary Cohn heads off U.S. withdrawal from the North American Free Trade Agreement by removing documents from Trump’s Oval Office desk. Think on that a moment. A massive change in economic policy was avoided — not by some brilliant stratagem — but by swiping a piece of paper and trusting in Trump’s minuscule attention span.
This turns out to be the best argument for the author of the Times op-ed — and others like him or her — to stay right where they are. The manipulation of the president in a good cause works. And those who engage in this task boldly and consistently are both losing their reputations and serving their country.

There are already many avenues for citizens to push back against a leader they feel is unfit. 

Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are a constitutional mechanism. Overt defiance of presidential authority by the president’s own appointees—now that’s a constitutional crisis.
If the president’s closest advisers believe that he is morally and intellectually unfit for his high office, they have a duty to do their utmost to remove him from it, by the lawful means at hand. That duty may be risky to their careers in government or afterward. But on their first day at work, they swore an oath to defend the Constitution—and there were no “riskiness” exemptions in the text of that oath.

The president could, left to his own devices, launch a world war, and that must be prevented at all costs.

At a National Security Council meeting on Jan. 19, Trump disregarded the significance of the massive U.S. military presence on the Korean Peninsula, including a special intelligence operation that allows the United States to detect a North Korean missile launch in seven seconds vs. 15 minutes from Alaska, according to Woodward. Trump questioned why the government was spending resources in the region at all.
“We’re doing this in order to prevent World War III,” Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told him.
After Trump left the meeting, Woodward recounts, “Mattis was particularly exasperated and alarmed, telling close associates that the president acted like — and had the understanding of — ‘a fifth- or sixth-grader.’ ”

The author of the op-ed should publicly resign rather than giving lip service publicly to an unfit leader.

If you are a presidential appointee who strongly disagrees with something the president is about to do, you have a moral obligation to try to convince the president that he is wrong. If you can’t do so, and the matter is sufficiently serious, then you have an obligation to resign — and explain to the American people why you did so. But there is no constitutional option of staying on the job and pretending to be a loyal adviser, while secretly undermining the president by failing to carry out his decisions — no matter how bad you think those decisions are.
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