Posted by Curt on 30 October, 2020 at 6:03 pm. 1 comment.



Now that we know that Miles Taylor was the “Anonymous” resistance figure who boasted in a New York Times op-ed that he was working from within the administration to stymie President Trump’s agenda, we can dispense with the parlor game of trying to reveal the official’s identity.

The fact that the person whom the New York Times identified as a “senior official” was granted anonymity in itself was an extraordinary breach of standard journalistic practice regarding the use of anonymous sources.

At the time the oped was published, CNN’s Chris Cillizza assured readers, “That the decision was made to publish it should tell you that this isn’t some disgruntled mid-to-upper manager buried in the bureaucracy. This is a genuine high-ranking official. A name most people who follow politics — and maybe some who don’t — would recognize. The Times simply wouldn’t do what it did for anything short of a major figure in Trump world.”

Cillizza kept up his Hercule Poirot routine in a separate post, publishing a list of 13 prominent people who he speculated could be the one, including everybody from Ivanka Trump to Mike Pence. “The vice president is all smiles, nods and quiet, deferential loyalty in public. Which of course means that he has the perfect cover to write something like this in The New York Times,” he speculated.

Such guff should embarrass its author, even as it amuses everyone else. But there are also very disturbing aspects to this sorry episode. For all the talk of Trump upending norms of democracy and governance, nothing he has done represents a greater threat to democratic institutions than the idea that mid-level bureaucrats should have a pocket veto over decisions made by elected officials.

In his op-ed, Taylor, a mere deputy chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security at the time, wrote, “Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

He wrote, “We believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic. That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”

What Taylor was describing is the exact opposite of “preserving democratic institutions.”

Trump was elected president, and under the U.S. Constitution, that gives him the final say on decisions that reside within the executive branch. There is no way we can have a functioning system of government if the president’s decisions are disobeyed or undermined by people who have a duty to carry them out.

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