Earlier this week, a senior staffer in Donald Trump’s White House wrote an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times detailing the lengths he and others have gone to rein in Trump’s worst impulses. Soon afterward, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders justified why this staffer chose to remain anonymous. She used her official Twitter account to urge Trump supporters to crash the Old Grey Lady’s switchboard. Whether it was on Trump’s orders or out of a misguided desire to get a reward from her boss, it was still despicable–and unethical.
Well, it turns out that this wasn’t the only solid proof that this staffer did the right thing by remaining anonymous. A top Republican donor is offering to pay for any information that results in the author being outed.
Just minutes before Sanders urged pro-Trump “patriots” to pester The Times, Charlie Kirk of right-wing college student group Turning Point USA took to Twitter to announce that the hunt was on for the op-ed writer’s identity.
At least one member of the First Family supports this. Kirk’s announcement was retweeted by First Son Donald Trump Jr.
A number of people on both sides of the aisle have suggested that the op-ed writer is a coward. If anything, though, recent events have proven that this staffer is far from being cowardly. It can safely be assumed that the author tried to raise his concerns with Trump via normal channels, only to have those concerns be brushed aside.
The author undoubtedly knew that given the nature of many of Trump’s diehards, if he resigned and went public with his concerns, one “reward” would have been a campaign of harassment, trolling and threats from the modern-day equivalent of an angry mob. No White House staffer should ever have to fear that a president’s more fanatical supporters will come after him if he dares to speak out against the president.
Seen in this light, this op-ed can only be described as a warning to Trump–“Clean up your act, or we may have no choice but to try for a 25th Amendment solution.” And even if the Cabinet doesn’t have the guts to have Trump declared unfit to serve, at least the American people now know more about what is going on inside the West Wing. Thus, if Congress is not willing to step up, we, their employers, can draw the proper conclusions–both this November and two Novembers from now.
It says a lot about the nature of today’s GOP that rather than see this op-ed as a flashing red light, certain elements want the messenger to be stood up and shot. This sounds like something that would happen in some Third World country, not in the United States.
And it says just as much that a Republican megadonor is willing to write a $50,000 check in order to further that cause. A staffer gives a clear warning that the president may not be fit for office, and rather than applaud him, someone offers a reward to have him exposed and fired?
Considering what we know about how Trump’s most diehard supporters operate, it’s very likely that any effort to unmask this staffer’s identity will involve doxing. So it’s only fair to ask–if the effort to sleuth out the author’s identity does result in him being doxed, will the reward still be paid out?
We know what the answer should be from any donor with an iota of decency. The mere fact that we even have to wonder if this donor will keep his checkbook closed if the effort to unmask the author crosses a legal or ethical line says a lot about the state of our politics.
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