Staff Infection

Well, kids, I am sure that you’ve heard about the New York Times op-ed written by someone only identified as a “senior official in the Trump administration.” It’s titled:

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration

I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

Who can it be? A man, a woman, one person, more than one? A real “resister” or someone who thinks this might help the Rethugs in the midterm elections? Damned if I know!  But it’s so much fun trying to guess.

the unknown man

Original movie poster

Lawrence O’Donnell made a pretty compelling argument that the mysterious op-ed writer is Dan Coats, Director of National Intelligence. Others think it’s Mike Pence, because of the word “lodestar” in the op-ed. He has often used that word in speeches. I’m thinking that the writer (or writers) used that word deliberately so that Pence would be the suspect. I don’t think he has enough balls to pen an op-ed like that. Maybe, instead, it was Mother. MarketWatch offers some other suspects:

 Other prominent names mentioned as the potential author include outgoing White House counsel Don McGahn, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and chief of staff John Kelly. Some armchair sleuths noted that the term “senior administration official” is broad enough to include hundreds, or even thousands, of staffers in and around the White House.

The Post reported that the White House suspects the official works on national security issues or in the State Department.

Chris Cillizza from CNN has some ideas. I didn’t see his essay before I made the poster, but apparently, we had some of the same thoughts (well, sorta, I just needed faces to make the poster).


Below, 13 people who might be the author of the op-ed, based on what we know about the various factions, likes, dislikes, motivations and ambitions within the Trump administration. These are in no particular order.
Don McGahn
We know the White House counsel is a short-timer — planning to leave in the fall. We also know that McGahn has clashed with Trump repeatedly in the past — refusing Trump’s order to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. And McGahn has already shown a willingness to look out for the broader public good, sitting down for more than 30 hours with special counsel Robert Mueller’s team to aid their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

(I don’t think it’s McGahn. He loves to toot his own horn, so he wouldn’t write anonymously. Plus, he’s leaving soon, so why would he say he is staying in order to save the country?)

Dan Coats
…snip… Coats has also shown a tendency to veer from the Trump songbook.

So far, my money is on him. If not him, then some staffer we probably never heard of.

Kellyanne Conway

Conway, a White House counselor, is someone who has survived for a very long time in the political game. And not by being dumb or not understanding which way the wind blows. Plus, there is the X-factor of her husband — George — whose Twitter feed regularly trolls Trump.

(I don’t think so. She’s a self-promoter. She would come out in a Joan of Arc outfit and go on every cable show to say her piece.)

John Kelly

The chief of staff has clashed repeatedly with the President and seems to be on borrowed time.

(I don’t think it’s Empty Barrel Kelly, because Twitler is not an African-American woman.)

Kirstjen Nielsen
The head of the Department of Homeland Security is a close ally of Kelly, who we know has a very fraught relationship with Trump.

(Njope, I thjink you need a little bit of a conjscience and a sjoul to write that op-ed and she has neither.)

Jeff Sessions

Sessions sticks out as a possibility for a simple reason: He’s got motive. No one has been more publicly maligned by Trump than his attorney general.

(Nah, not as long as the administration is doing hateful racist stuff. Beauregard will put up with anything as long as minorities are being punished. Plus, he’s too short to reach a typewriter or keyboard.)

James Mattis

The defense secretary has been Trump’s favorite Cabinet member. But the quotes attributed to Mattis in Woodward’s book are VERY rough on Trump, though Mattis quickly denied that he ever said them. And if anyone has less to lose than Mattis — he is a decorated military man serving his country again — it’s hard to figure out who that would be. Plus, Mattis is an ally of John Kelly (see above) and Rex Tillerson, the former secretary of state that Trump ran out on a rail.

(Possible, but I don’t think a secret op-ed would be Mattis’s style. He’s a military man, and they don’t tend to rat out their superiors, even when they are batshit crazy. But I could be wrong. He might be a contender.)

Fiona Hill
Hill, a Russian expert who joined the Trump administration from the Brookings Institution, a DC think tank, might have reason to so publicly clash with Trump. She is far more skeptical about Russia’s motives than Trump — and was notably left out when Trump and Putin huddled on the sides of the G20 meeting in Germany in 2017. She was a close adviser to national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who was removed from the White House.

(I have never heard her name before, so I can’t judge. The only Fiona I know is the Emmy Rossum character on Shameless. Emmy is leaving the show after this season, and I might have to write an anonymous op-ed to The New York Post to say that Fiona is the heart and soul of that show, so they should just end it when she leaves, and someone had better give her a damned Emmy award already.)

Mike Pence
The vice president is all smiles, nods and quiet, deferential loyalty in public. Which of course means that he has the perfect cover to write something like this in The New York Times. Pence is also ambitious — and there’s no question he wants to be president.

(Nope, not enough balls.)

Nikki Haley
…snip… Haley, again like Pence, is ambitious and has her eye on national office. Would this service that goal?

(Nuh-uh. She’s not in the White House enough to be whispering to the other Cabinet members.)


The combination of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump — Javanka! — writing this op-ed would be right out of a soap opera. But that is sort of a perfect way to describe the Trump administration, right? Ivanka Trump said she would work to make her voice heard to her father, but there’s little evidence he’s listened much to her or her husband. Might this be a bit of revenge?

(I go back and forth on this possibility. First, Ivanka is certainly not smart enough to write an op-ed like that. I don’t know how smart Jared is, but he married into the Twitler family, so he’s no genius. The only reason they would have to write this is to save their brand. The daughter/wife already had to shut down her clothing line. Maybe she doesn’t want to lose anything else. Or maybe both of them are scared shitless, and they want all the investigations to end, and they think by Twitler leaving the White House, their crimes won’t be exposed. I don’t think that’s realistic. Investigations will continue.)

Melania Trump

The combination of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump — Javanka! — writing this op-ed would be right out of a soap opera. But that is sort of a perfect way to describe the Trump administration, right? Ivanka Trump said she would work to make her voice heard to her father, but there’s little evidence he’s listened much to her or her husband. Might this be a bit of revenge?

(The only way it could be Malaria is if Michelle Obama wrote the op-ed first, and Malaria plagiarized it.)

Maybe it was John Miller or John Barron! Leave your guesses in the comments, kids.






Filed under humor, movies, New York Times, parody, politics, Republicans, Robert Mueller, Russia, satire, snark, Vladimir Putin

13 responses to “Staff Infection

  1. the rub

    ‘staff infection’ hahahahahaha! i say it’s colonel mustard in the billiard room.

    • singe

      Obviously the writer is Trump. His thinking is brilliant, to nitwit: Donnie figured if he could get the nation to believe he was not in charge they would not hold him accountable and he could go on eating that fantastic chocolate cake and licking the nuclear football.

      • That would be a possibility, except there is nobody in Twitler’s orbit who could possible put that many paragraphs together and still be cogent and spelled correctly. May that chocolate cake clog his carotid artery.

    • A lot of times, the title causes me more agita than the posters. This one, for some reason, occurred to me immediately. Maybe it’s because I view this presidency as a sickness that has to be treated and healed.

  2. Another greasy oily film…..after almost two years we’re well into Exxon-Valdez territory with these turkeys.

    I hope it’s Mattis. He’s in the best position to stop the worst things Trump could do, and if he wrote that, it means he knows he would have to stop them.

    Agreed about Pence. He’s actually less popular among fundies than you’d think, because he’s considered weak-willed.

    Not Melania unless she had editing help. It reads like it was written by a native speaker of English, which is almost impossible for someone who didn’t grow up speaking the language. And I don’t think Ivanka or Jared are intelligent enough to have written it.

    The best thing about this is that it’s going to make Trump and the Trumplings even more paralyzed with paranoia, as everyone starts suspecting this or that person.

    I do wonder at the author’s real motive. Whoever it was must have known that (a) Trump would explode like Vesuvius, and (b) there would be some risk of being exposed. Was it worth that, just to give the public some reassurance that Trump’s madness is being kept under some control? From the content of the article we know the author is a believer in Republican ideology and smart enough to think on multiple levels. Could he/she have hoped to weaken November’s blue wave a bit by giving out that Trump’s staff is limiting the damage he can do and so the situation is less worrisome than we believe? Maybe I’m being paranoid.

    • Infidel,
      I heard today that Mattis is on his way out, so maybe this was his last hurrah. I continue to believe that this was a joint effort, and I think Coats and Mattis are a part of the hidden resistance. You see, I have already changed my mind since last night. But, then again, maybe not. I don’t think Mattis wrote it, because it would be against his military sensibilities. However, I think he knew about it and approved. I am picturing huddles in the halls of the White House where several staffers figure out what their secret handshakes and signals are going to be. I think Coats and Mattis are the marquee names, but there are a lot of staffers (probably loyal to C & M) whose names we wouldn’t ordinarily recognize are in on it, too.

      The motive? I suspect that sooner or later (probably sooner), the mystery person or persons’ identities will be revealed, and they want to cover their own asses when the lens of history is focused on them. For a fleeting moment, I wondered if Frank Luntz was employed to pen this. The ideology part sounds like his brand of propaganda. I’m not saying he is Anonymous, just that he or his tactics were employed. Could it just be another distraction? Maybe, but I tend to think not. Woodward’s book is coming out, and that would have provided the victimization and distraction. Instead, the op-ed underlines and corroborates what Michael Woolf, Omarosa and Woodward wrote.

  3. I loved this piece. And you know what, I see the funny again … I am more hopeful than I have been in a while …

    And your ending could not be more perfect!

    • I am so happy to hear that you are seeing the funny again. I try to, especially when the horror of it all becomes overwhelming. Thank goodness, we will always have Malaria’s kidney surgery.

      You’ve been through the wringer lately, and you need to laugh a little and see a glimmer of hope, my blog sistah. Sending hugs.

  4. Nonnie, this post is one of the very best- I love intrigue. Somehow I missed this news. But, I discontinued cable TV and do not have a “special box” so that I can get the 3 or 4 basic channels. And I have not been on the computer today so I had no idea about the latest bombshell, if you can call it that.

    I have always felt that the chief of staff, Kelly,who is a man of so called integrity, remained on the job from hell because he feels it necessary to keep Trump from making huge blunders. My other bet is on McGahn who will soon leave, or Coats. El Trumpo makes the minor faux pas just about daily, as if that were not bad enough. I can just imagine how aides cringe each day before staff meetings as they wait to see what new ideas Twittler has hair brained during the night. I also think that many of not most, stay on the job because “working” at the White House will look good on their resume. Surely those folks are not staying because they are dim witted and loyal. Or, maybe they are.

    And we could all be off base here. It could be someone that no one would ever guess as the culprit.

    Keep the suspense coming. Nonnie. I love it.

    • Hi PPP,
      Hope you are well. Glad you are enjoying the little parlor game. I keep changing my mind as to who the op-ed writer is. I still think that Hercule Poirot is going to burst on the scene and reveal that they are all guilty. I do think it was a collaborative effort. Not everyone wrote the op-ed, but I think there were quite a few people who knew it was going to be written and added their 2¢ to it. So far, Kelly hasn’t denied writing it, which might be telling. Others have, but that doesn’t really mean anything. Dan Coats said neither he nor his Principal Deputy wrote it. That sounded strangely specific to me. How many deputied does he have, and why didn’t he vouch for them? I still think Coats was in on it, whether he did the actual writing or not. I think Mattis was in on it, too. His denial was pretty generic. He said it’s not his op-ed. That might mean that he knows whose op-ed it is, and it doesn’t say he didn’t contribute to it. I think the only ones we can safely say didn’t write it are Little Ricky Goodhair Perry, because he doesn’t know that many words, and Ben Carson, because he can’t stay awake long enough to join a cabal or to write an entire sentence. It wasn’t Betsy Wetsy DeVos either, because she’s too busy draining money from schools to give to gun manufacturers.

      • Nonnie, I am gaining in strength. The past 12 days or so I think I might have my blood pressure normalized. I had to omit salt and black pepper and drink lots of water,. Difficult to do but I want to be healthy. Thank you for the kind words.

        I laugh about Ricky Goodhair Perry. I could not stomach the man when he was our governor, here in Texas. The only thing he has going for him is the abundant hair. Ben Carson is another fella that I have no idea how he was ever called a neurosurgeon. He speaks like some one that is not totally in touch. Frankly many politicians baffle me when I hear them speak or read some of their ignorant thoughts. Meanwhile El Trump is whipping a frenzied crowd of lemming like individuals who believe anything that he spouts.

        • Glad to hear you are feeling better. It’s tough to give up salt (I can live without pepper), but you get used to it. When the alternative is feeling bad all the time and endangering your health, then it just becomes something you have to do, so focus on how much better you are feeling and your better results at the doctor’s office.

          I am still flummoxed that Texans could elect Chimpy and then Little Ricky Goodhair twice! They both sound like idiots. I hope Texas is turning around and will show Raphael Cruz the door and elect Beto. I hear that they are just about tied when it comes to likely voters. That doesn’t include all the young people who never voted before and would be more likely to vote for Beto, so, like my mom always says, where there’s life, there’s hope. 🙂

          • Yep, Beto is making inroads and I hope with all my might that he can oust Brusin Cruzin. who is nothing more than a mouth piece. Every time I watch him speak he always seems to be lying. 🙂