As the constitutionally free press has come under unprecedented attack from the president of the United States, the last thing we needed in this fragile and dangerous moment was for one of the largest and most prominent publications in the world to embrace the shadows.
The New York Times’ decision to publish an anonymous opinion essay from a “senior official in the Trump Administration” only intensifies and in some way validates the paranoid anti-media feeding frenzy Donald Trump is presiding over.
Every day, we are over-run with anonymous Trump administration officials who love to talk off-the-record or on background with reporters from the establishment media, but who are unwilling to do the hard thing and publicly own their criticisms.
It’s people like House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and anonymous administration officials who have willingly traded the stability of our republic in favor of ... “bright spots” like “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military.”
The fact that the author of this anonymous column blatantly states the desire to “want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous” perfectly illustrates how the Republican Party has been hijacked by a brigade of racist, sexist and xenophobic despots.
This person, like so many in the so-called “conservative” movement, is ok with giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires while working families in this country can’t make ends meet. They don’t accept that climate change poses the greatest threat to humanity we have ever seen. They don’t accept that school shootings and mass murders committed with assault rifles has anything to do with gun control. They don’t accept that women should have a right to make their own health care decisions or earn as much as a man doing the same job.
It’s people like House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and anonymous administration officials who have willingly traded the stability of our republic in favor of, in the word’s of the anonymous op-ed, “bright spots” like “effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military.”
Republicans, ask yourselves: Are those things more important and more valuable than the guiding principles that have shaped the notion of liberty and freedom for so long?
It’s easy to say the right thing when you are shielded by the cloak of anonymity. It’s an entirely different thing to do so transparently and publicly.
The author of this essay says that “Americans should know that there are adults in the room” who “fully recognize what is happening.”
That’s nice to hear.
Where are these adults when the president denigrates an American hero like the late-Sen. John McCain? Where are these adults when the government is forcefully separating children from their parents? Where are these adults when the president sides with an enemy foreign dictator over his own intelligence advisers?
Where are the adults when enablers like Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Kellyanne Conway use their influence, platform and podium to cover for a president who is clearly not up for the job?
Republicans, if you’re going to really resist, then just do it. Stop lying for Trump at press briefings. Stop avoiding speaking out and passing off his dangerous rhetoric as just “trolling.” Start publicly denouncing his racist, sexist and outright false statements and tweets as they happen, not after you are badgered into it by the media or the American public. Start holding him to the same scrutinous standard you held President Barack Obama to.
Stop protecting him and start building a case for impeachment, a case you would have been all too willing to make if Obama had done a fraction of what Trump has done. Resistance, by definition, means to prevent something by taking action. So if you’re a Republican and you want to claim to be in the “resistance,” then act like it!
It doesn’t take courage to publish an unsigned essay in a publication the president and his cult-like supporters despise, saying nothing new that hasn’t already been said anonymously in countless of books, news stories and cable news segments.
The best answer to secrecy, tyranny and abuse of power is transparency. It’s easy to say the right thing when you are shielded by the cloak of anonymity. It’s an entirely different thing to do so transparently and publicly.
Make no mistake about it, silence and secrecy still make you complicit.
Kurt Bardella is a HuffPost columnist and the former spokesperson for Breitbart News, Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Brian Bilbray (R-CA) and Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Follow him on Twitter: @kurtbardella