Steve Bannon, President Trump’s Chief Strategist, has promoted the conspiratorial theory that there is a “deep state” in Washington that will do anything to stop Trump from fulfilling his promise to “drain the swamp.” Composed of government bureaucrats, congressional careerists, special interests, and the “mainstream” media like the New York Times and the Washington Post, this deep state is alleged to work together to defend the status quo. Trump and many of his supporters no doubt find this theory to be convincing in light of Trump’s multiple problems in his first few months on the job.
Are judges who rule against his ban on Muslim immigration part of such a conspiracy? Or are they just doing their job of interpreting the Constitution?
Trump failed to reckon with deeply rooted constitutional institutions, a press that loves a fight, and bureaucrats who’ve spent their careers honing their passive-aggressive skills.
Are reporters and columnists who expose the the hundreds of Trump’s lies part of the conspiracy? Or are they just exercising the First Amendment right to a free press?
Are the elderly members of AARP who object to TrumpCare part of the conspiracy? Or are they just defending their best interests in the legislative process?
Are members of Congress who question the president’s actions and policies part of the conspiracy? Or are they exercising the checks and balances that the Constitution ordains?
The anonymous source for the story about Trump’s revelation of classified information to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister had to have been a high-level White House or State Department staffer, because they were the only people in the room. Are they part of the conspiracy? Or were they just scared out of their wits by this loose cannon? And the matter is hardly helped by the National Security Adviser who assured us that Trump could not have passed on information about sources and methods, because he’s not briefed about that. Trump isn’t trusted with that kind of sensitive information.
Trump’s campaign and his first months in office have been characterized by nonstop denigration of most areas of federal policy and questioning the integrity of the civil servants who administer those policies. That includes the FBI. Can it be surprising, then, that leaks come out about Comey’s notes—and just today about a high level White House staffer being a “person of interest” in the Russia investigation? Are these anonymous bureaucrats part of the conspiracy? Of are they just using a time-tested tool against an abusive superior?
Donald “Only I Can Fix It!” Trump swept into Washington with the fatuous assumption that everyone there would be intimidated into obedience. He failed to reckon with deeply rooted constitutional institutions, a press that loves a fight, and bureaucrats who’ve spent their careers honing their passive-aggressive skills.
He’s being eaten alive.