The past week has brought information about the Trump administration's apparent lack of control over what is going on in and outside of the White House — disturbing — and of multiple efforts to exploit that situation in what appear to be concerted attempts to undermine the Trump administration. This is even more disturbing.
Without doubt, the Trump administration is off to a bumpy start, and a good many of these problems are of their own making. Unforced errors like the haphazard rollout of the "travel ban" deflect attention from legitimate concerns about the 9th Circuit's complete disregard for the president's statutory authority when it comes to certain immigration restrictions.
Michael Flynn's failure to fully disclose conversations with members of the Russian government obscures the dangers of unaccountable law enforcement spying on private citizens without a warrant.
Even so, the confluence of tactics being employed against the White House seems without parallel.
David French, at National Review Online, wrote an open letter to the anonymous individuals leaking information to the press — some of whom, it is alleged, are White House staff. In French's piece, he acknowledges the seriousness of some of the allegations. But he also points out that a number of the "leaks" were false or frivolous. French calls upon the "leakers" to identify themselves.
I don't think we should hold our breath.
The media has drawn the longest of their long knives in the all-too-typical war against Republican administrations, and just about every member of Trump's White House staff, his cabinet picks, and his Supreme Court nominee are targets.
A critical part of the left's "resistance" to Trump's administration is constant protests, which, in the case of Portland, Oregon, Washington, D.C., and Berkeley, have been violent. Some agitators, like BAMN's (By Any Means Necessary) Yvette Felarca, are bragging about the violence and promising more.
In what is perhaps the most disturbing piece of all, there are creeping allegations of a "shadow government," run by none other than former President Barack Obama himself. According to a widely circulated article in the New York Post, Obama, having stepped down as leader of the free world, is apparently stepping back into his old role of "community organizer," with 30,000 shock troops in Organizing for America and related leftist non-profits, ready to "draw battle lines on immigration, Obamacare, race relations and climate change."
It's hard to overstate how unprecedented this is. Historically, our outgoing presidents have stepped down and gone home.
Never has a president stayed behind to deliberately undermine the next administration.
As I have argued repeatedly in other contexts, these tactics — like so much of what the left does — set bad precedents. The left denigrates their political opponents, but when their opponents respond in kind, they cry foul. They act spectacularly vulgarly, but when others do the same, they claim that their delicate sensibilities are outraged.
They block speakers whose message they don't like, form mobs, riot and destroy property.
Now they speak and act as if they are plotting a coup, and they apparently see no risk in that, either.
These tactics may end up crippling President Trump's administration. But whether they do or not, they set new rules of engagement that threaten the stability of the country.