“If This Be Treason….”

“Treason,” tweeted Donald J Trump, as he reportedly raged in white-hot fury, demanding that the  anonymous author of the incendiary New York Times op-ed article be found and punished. The Times identified the author only as a “Senior Administration Official.”

At one point the man-child who is President of the United States demanded that the Times turn the author “over to the government, ” meaning what – for a public flogging in Lafayette square? Perhaps a firing squad (al paradon) against the wall of the Treasury Department building?

So, now we have senior administration officials beginning with Vice President Pence feeling the necessity to publicly deny it was they who threw a literary can of gasoline  on the fire already burning as a result of Bob Woodward’s devastating account of Trump’s unfitness for the presidency (a proposition previously tendered and since confirmed by a continuing stream of examples delivered by our man child).

Pence was well-advised to declare his innocence. The sleuths are hard at work examining the clues in the style and wording of the document and it has been pointed out that the author used the  word “lodestar,” an un-common word but one that Pence has used publicly on several occasions.

In a blog yesterday, I speculated that clues in the document might have been deliberately planted to throw sleuths off the trail. Do you suppose the anonymous author did that in using a word which pointed  toward Pence? Or is Spence the true author and used the word knowing it would point to him but that a  sleuth would conclude that Spence wouldn’t be that dumb so it must not be him.

The plot thickens!

Yesterday at my regular monthly luncheon group I asked whether a senior official in Trump’s administration feeling as this one does should resign in disgust or stay to do what he or she could to contain the man child’s damage to the rest of us.

Unanimously they and I agreed the person should stay. I failed to ask the second question – should such a person write for publication the op-ed piece the Times published?

My view is the author was unwise in doing so. Why throw gasoline on the firestorm Woodward created. It was sure to burn brightly as it is without help. And why chance discovery which would result in dismissal at the least and thus an end to usefulness as someone checking the damage?

One account says the article was written before the Woodward book was set for publication…but that makes no difference. Surely the author knew of Woodward’s forthcoming book (perhaps is one of Bob’s sources) and thus knew that this anonymous accounting was in no way necessary but would simply act as a validation of the portrait of  chaos the book so ably describes.

Which brings us to another question. If the article was unnecessary, did the fact of its publication help or hurt the cause of ridding us of Donald J Trump as our president?

I think it hurt to the extent that the “hunt” for the miscreant adds to the chaos but more importantly allows Trump supporters to point with some justification to the “disloyalty” of the person Trump has branded “gutless” who hides behind a cloak of anonymity to throw spitballs at his/her sovereign.

Further, by declaring there is, indeed, a network of administration officials who actively work to thwart Trump’s ability to use the power the Constitution gives him, it allows his defenders to push the idea that some insidious “deep state” exists to wrongly depose a person fairly elected to the office (whether “fairly” is another debate at this point as a different set of sleuths search for evidence on that point).

My bottom line is that it would have been better not to speak out anonymously. If the author felt compelled to tell the world what is really going on, he or she should have stepped forward in the daylight and said here I am, you know me, and this is what I have personally witnessed and can no longer in good conscience be part of for any reason.

Yes, Trump and his defenders would shout “Treason” but the author, while suffering insult and possible assault from certain quarters could take pride in having followed the example set by Patrick Henry, who in the Spring of 1765, in his maiden speech as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses rose to complain about King George III’s treatment of  England’s American colonies.

Said Henry, “Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the First his Cromwell and George the Third — At that point he was interrupted by cries of “Treason!” from delegates who easily recognized the reference to assassinated leaders. Henry paused briefly, then calmly finished his sentence: “…may profit by their example.

If this be treason make the most of it.”

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