The top story on the NY Times webpage right now is by Eileen Sullivan and Nicholas Fandos, who probably did not write the headline, “Trump Assails Justice Dept., Siding With Conservatives.” I wish that the Times would stop letting unprincipled, power-mad radicals get the benefit of the respectable label “conservative.” The point of the “indivisible” resistance to Trumpism is that we can and should have debates on the proper size and shape of government, but we should be united and indivisible when it comes to preserving, protecting, and defending the rule of law as codified in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the habits and practices of free speech and citizenship. Mr. Trump could give a fig for freedom or the rule of law.
Sullivan and Fandos also have it backwards when they write that Mr. Trump plunged today into a “simmering dispute” between Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and the “small group of House Republicans who are loyal to Mr. Trump” (whatever is meant by that, by the way? are Paul Ryan and most of the Republican House members disloyal to Trump? I wish, but I haven’t seen much but subservience and see-no-evil so far). I believe the truly important conflict right now is between the president and the regular, drab, workaday state–not the so-called Deep State–that is working diligently in the person of Robert Mueller to ensure that this president is not immune from gross violations of the loyalty oath Trump took on inauguration day to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. The self-styled “Freedom Caucus,” led by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows, are simply trying to set up Mr. Trump with a spinnable excuse to remove Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Mueller. Trump is not–contra the NYT–“giving voice to the complaints” of Jordan and Meadows. Rather, they are in the same club as Fox & Friends and Hannity and the Schlapps–instruments of the president’s will to power. The NYT story today tells a story that could be true, in some other universe, but I believe their framing gets causes and effects backwards, and in a pernicious way that gives cover to the authoritarian purposes of this president.