Commentary: Dear anonymous op-ed writer: Your plan didn't work
COMMENTARY: Our nation does not need covert agents of democracy. It needs intrepid whistleblowers willing to step forward and defend the institutions this president has dragged into the dirt with him. ... We must all put country over party, before a time comes when we can no longer recognize the country we've allowed it to become.
This month marks a year since you published an op-ed in the New York Times claiming that within the Trump administration there exists a defiant resistance, working to curb this president's worst inclinations and holding together the "steady state."
In the time since, President Donald Trump has given cover to Saudi Arabia after it murdered a U.S.-based journalist, continued to enrich himself and his family by welcoming foreign delegations at his hotels, dangled pardons in front of officials who may break the law while carrying out his border policies, and obstructed the investigations into Russian interference in our elections.
Most recently, Trump has solicited a foreign government to interfere in our elections by pressing it to pursue baseless allegations and dig up dirt on a political opponent. And he made this request using the weight of the presidential office and the leverage of U.S. military aid.
We know this because a whistleblower in the intelligence community was duly alarmed by the request, saw the administration act to bury the evidence, and filed a complaint. That complaint almost didn't make it to Congress, as required by law, because the acting director of national intelligence first brought it to one of the subjects of the complaint — the Justice Department — which again attempted to bury it.
There is no telling whether you, the author of the anonymous op-ed, are still in the administration. It may well be that you're among the many who've been pushed out or left willingly under this administration's historic rate of personnel turnover. Regardless, last year you wrote that "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."
That strategy is clearly no longer working — if it ever did.
And how many of you are left? With each passing day, the Trump administration trades patriots for sycophants who will support anything this president says or does to stay in his good graces.
Those of you who are still there, it is time to come out of the shadows. Our nation does not need covert agents of democracy. It needs intrepid whistleblowers willing to step forward and defend the institutions this president has dragged into the dirt with him.
Last September, you wrote: "The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making." I could not have said it better myself. It is foolhardy to assume you can tame or manage Trump. His worst inclinations are his primary inclinations.
Now, suffering no consequences from the Mueller investigation, the president has become more emboldened to entrench himself in corruption. In June, he told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that he sees nothing wrong with inviting foreign intervention in our elections. His call with the president of Ukraine was simply him following through.
The pattern is always the same. The president denies, he discredits, he admits, he distracts. He does this always with an air of indignation, because deep down he clearly believes he is entitled to do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Through words and deeds, Trump has made that explicit.
And that's what makes him dangerous. When asked about inviting foreign interference, Trump's defense wasn't that he'd never do such a thing. His defense was that he'd never do it in a way that gets him caught.
Ultimately, that is what, if you're still on the fence, should bring you over. Because whatever you, anonymous patriot, think you're able to influence, whatever you think you know is happening in the White House, there is probably much, much more. It's a risk none of us can afford.
While House committees continue to conduct their congressional oversight responsibilities to uncover whatever they can, it is time for you — yes, you — to come forward and tell us what you know. Do not allow this president to intimidate you into silence. There is too much at stake.
At the conclusion of your op-ed, summing up the late Sen. John McCain's farewell letter, you wrote: "All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation."
Democrats, Republicans, lifelong neutral public servants alike: We must all put country over party, before a time comes when we can no longer recognize the country we've allowed it to become.
Gregory M. Meeks, a Democrat, represents New York's 5th Congressional District in the House of Representatives.