The Resistance is Winning. Keep It Up.
Last summer I wrote about effective tools of resistance to Donald Trump, should he actually become President. Here is what I wrote then:
“Although still an outside possibility, there is actually some chance that Americans will wake up on November 9 to the reality of a President Trump. Should this occur, Trump’s very haplessness as an executive — he claims to be a towering businessman, but the reality is numerous failed ventures and bankruptcy filings — will come in handy. As he attempts to enact the various odious planks of the Trump platform, this over-matched man will not have the capacity to tend to the details of crafting, filing and signing legislation. The bully may desecrate his pulpit, but he’ll not get the goods to Capitol Hill. Anyone whom he delegates these details to is likely to be out of their depth as well, given what we have seen of his campaign staff. If Trump attempts to issue executive orders, their execution will be riddled with errors.
“For these reasons career civil servants, who earned their jobs based on expertise and a genuine interest in the workings of government, should have no compunction about thwarting the aims of one President Trump. Trump will not know how to follow the laws as he seeks to change them, leaving others no choice but to resist.”
We are now over 6 weeks into the Trump administration, with strong and stirring signs of this bureaucratic resistance all around us. Numerous leaks from within the White House staff, about the Trump team’s connections to Russia, have been encouraging. It turns out that some people in the West Wing do have a soul and conscience. EPA staff’s open resistance to Scott Pruitt — a climate change denier and oil company shill — is also good to see. Pruitt is now the EPA administrator despite his lack of suitability, so of course this effort was not a full victory. But the very willingness of these civil servants to engage in this fight shows that they will not be simply be rolled.
The White House leaks, and EPA rebellion, are only part of the story. The most high-profile rejections of Trumpism have occurred in the courts, in a manner I at least did not anticipate last summer. I imagined simmering staff-level rebellion, not a president so stupid as to incite immediate censure from the judicial branch.
I was wrong.
Several judges have batted back the disingenuous and racist ban on immigration and refugees from several Muslin nations, which was announced in late January. We only need to recall that the ban initially applied to US green card holders to understand the true stakes here. In the guise of security — a goal everyone supports — Trump’s team wishes to make America a lesser place that would not be any more safe than it is already. The courts have quite rightfully refused to go along with this.
As I write on March 5 another public rejection of Trump is brewing. This weekend the current president alleged that our prior president, Barack Obama, personally ordered wiretaps of his phones last year. It is a ridiculous claim. Presidents cannot legally issue such an order and Trump has no proof — beyond the fever swamps of the right wing— that such wiretapping occurred. If such wiretapping actually did happen it means that Trump is even more in cahoots with Russia than we already knew.
At the moment FBI Director James Comey wishes to issue a statement rejecting Trump’s claim as a lie. Yes — that James Comey, the person who ridiculously interjected himself into the 2016 campaign just 11 days before Election Day. If he issues a statement calling the President out as a liar, which he should do post-haste, Comey will have earned partial redemption.
The judicial actions served as the first public rebuke of Trump, let’s hope that a statement by Comey serves as a second. Or perhaps Jeff Session’s recusal from the Russia investigation was already the second. Nope — make that Michael Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor after just 24 days on the job.
The point is that the jig is already up, no matter how long some people go on pretending that Trump is a respect-worthy president. The sustained marches in the streets — the vast majority of them peaceful and dignified — have created the climate in which Trump has been humbled so quickly and so often. The resistance is winning. Keep it up.