Is the Leak in the Trump Administration Justified? (FACEOFF)
September 30, 2018
On Sep. 5, 2018, the New York Times published an anonymous Op-Ed, written by a senior Trump official. In short terms, the Op-Ed discussed that many of the Trump officials were a part of a “resistance” in office, and they served to stop President Donald Trump from some bad habits that he has. As would be expected at the release of an Op-Ed of this nature, controversy surrounded the New York Times, and whether they did the right thing by publishing the story, and whether the Trump official should have been allowed to write and send in the Op-Ed to begin with. The answer is yes to both questions.
Love him or hate him, Trump’s presidency has been controversial. His policies, mannerisms, past and “Twitter-fingers,” as Trump’s twitter tendencies have been dubbed, have all been a large source of the issues he has met while in office. However, not a lot is known about what he does behind closed doors, the private sector that comes with running a country. No one knows if President Trump behaves as erratically as he does online.
The Op-Ed allows the wary country a glimpse at Trump and his behaviors, and it was not surprising. Trump does, in fact, change his mind constantly, he does go on long unproductive rants and does not do what is expected of him, like making hard decisions.
Now, do I believe that the Op-Ed should have been allowed to release classified information that would put the country at risk? No, of course not. But that is not what it did. The sole purpose of the editorial was to inform the public of what was occuring in the White House, and it did so without releasing confidential information. Denying the right of the senior official to write and release the Op-Ed would be denying his or her first amendment right to the freedom of speech, and the freedom of the press. Just because they are working in a highly sensitive environment does not mean that senior officials should be denied the most basic American rights.
Moving on to the New York Times, a highly respected and accurate news source. Publishing the story anonymously was by every account a risky move. Speculation on whether a Trump official actually wrote the Op-Ed were brought up, and many wondered why the New York Times did not release the name of the author.
Due to the official’s position in Trump’s administration, the New York Times would have been risking his or her job if they had published the author’s name. It also would have risked the jobs of all of the other officials, as well as creating a narrative towards those fired that they should not or could not be trusted, making it harder for them to find another job. In addition, the New York Times is a respected publication. They would not risk losing the trust and respect of their patrons if they knew that the Op-Ed was fake or written by someone who was not actually in a position of power. It is essential to this democracy that the citizens are made aware of what is happening with the most powerful man in the country and his staff, and attacking a person’s constitutional rights as well as risking their job is not the way to get there.
On Sep. 5, 2018, the New York Times released an anonymous Op-Ed supposedly written by a member of the Trump administration. The piece summarized the environment in which the administration conducts itself. The center point of the piece highlighted how the advisors, staff and anyone else involved in the White House are stopping his rash decisions and agenda. This release by a senior official of the White House– although many view as brave–garners the least amount of respect as these actions resulted in counterintuitive consequences to helping the country and administration.
Legally speaking, the author has not broken any laws, so one must assess the possible intentions of the writer. At first, the author claims to want the administration to succeed and believes that it has already, but contradicts him or herself by saying that the president’s actions are detrimental for the republic. This implicates that the president is an unnecessary weight and does not provide any positives for this country, yet the administration is following his agenda and is succeeding in doing so, according to the author
Additionally, if this employee of Trump had any desire for the administration to flourish, why would you involve the press? This is answered later in the Op-Ed as the author states “until he’s out of office” providing a clear end goal for the author- to help remove the president from office. These heavily contradicting behaviors provide Trump and his followers the ammunition needed to prove their conspiracy theory that there exists a “deep state” that attempts to undermine their elected officials.
Furthermore, nothing within the piece provides readers and the American people with new information. The staffer states the administration and Trump are not in synch, as what Trump says is often not aligned with what the people around him implement. This dynamic has been established from the beginning of the president’s term. Obvious examples include Trump’s close relationship with autocratic leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin. The administration has enacted one of the most strict agendas upon them–especially compared to the Obama administration– including record high sanctions and the removal of over 60 Russian diplomats from the United States.
Finally, the actions made by this senior official are now in jeopardy. This is because of the likely backfire of Trump not trusting his own administration and possibly removing many helping hands within his team. Therefore, causing counterintuitive consequences.
This Op-Ed contains a lot of noise, and not a whole lot of content. If the administration is in such terrible conditions, why does the author not quit? Quitting would be to take a real stand, not writing an Op-Ed while still possessing anonymity, a gutless move. If they were truly saving the administration from failure, continue to do so and not boast about about it. This reveals that the author is writing in his own self-interest.