It was dysfunctional before, but now it is like being trapped in one of those horror movies where you dare not make a sound in fear that you will attract the monster.
Courtesy of WaPo:
Having been impeached by the House, Trump faces trial in the Senate on charges that he abused the power of his office and sought to obstruct Congress. But the jarring developments over the past three months have also exposed the extent to which the national security establishment and the values that have traditionally guided American foreign policy are facing an extraordinary trial of their own under Trump’s presidency.
An entire roster of public servants has been disparaged, bullied and in some cases banished for standing in Trump’s path as he sought to pressure Ukraine for political favors, or for testifying about his conduct afterward.
Many who came forward were convinced that Trump’s actions were a violation of American principles, if not the law, and they clung to a misplaced faith that matters of national security would transcend partisan politics. Instead, the impeachment saga has hardened political divisions and cast doubt on the United States’ commitment to ideals it has long professed.
Trump was the catalyst of his own impeachment, withholding military aid and a White House meeting from the leader of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, whom he was pressuring to pursue investigations designed to politically wound former vice president Joe Biden.
But the fallout of the impeachment battle extends far beyond Trump’s political survival in a Senate trial. Tensions, exposed by impeachment, have fed Trump’s belief that he is surrounded by disloyal subordinates and have fueled animosity among congressional Republicans toward the supposed “deep state.” Today, the idea that a cadre of nonpartisan civil servants can loyally serve presidents of either party in pursuit of shared national interests — a bedrock principle of the country’s approach to foreign policy since World War II — is under attack.
Some of the responsibility for the mounting collateral damage falls on career officials and political appointees who took jobs in the administration despite deep objections to the president’s view.
These officials hoped they could steer the unconventional president, who has an affinity for autocrats and an aversion to traditional allies, toward more-conventional views and policies.
Others came to see themselves as doing damage control, taking advantage of Trump’s short attention span to advance their preferred objectives and counter what they regarded as his destructive impulses.
Their actions have fed the view among some Republicans that impeachment is not just an isolated fight about Trump’s actions toward Ukraine but also is an extension of a broader, unfinished conflict.
I would argue that any individual seeking a job in the White House or in the Administration sees their job as supporting the president and guiding him toward making the best possible decisions for the country.
A good president would seek out different opinions, take them under advisement, either accept them as helpful and alter their point of view accordingly or reject them and continue on with whatever approach they had already determined to be appropriate.
Sadly, Donald Trump is by no stretch of the imagination a good president.
Instead he sees any opposition to his point of view as suspicious and even treasonous.
The Washington Post article discusses the kinds of harassment and isolation suffered by those who Trump deemed untrustworthy.
The one that caught my eye was the much-maligned Fiona Hill who is pictured above:
Fiona Hill, the former top Russia adviser at the White House, has endured obscene phone calls to her home phone, according to people familiar with the matter, and vicious assaults from far-right media. Alex Jones, the conspiracy monger who operates the Infowars website, devoted much of his Nov. 22 broadcast to smears against Hill. “I want her ass indicted,” Jones said. “I want her indicted for perjury. Today. Indict that whore.”
For Hill, the attacks were a continuation of an astonishing level of hostility she witnessed during the two years she served in the White House. Trump loyalists drafted internal “enemies” lists, co-workers were purged, and NSC security teams logged hundreds of external threats against Hill and other officials, all fueled by a steady stream of far-right smears.
Hill, a former U.S. intelligence official and co-author of a biography of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was little known outside foreign policy circles when she joined the White House. Within weeks of joining the administration, she faced a wave of internal and external efforts to discredit or neutralize her.
All this woman wanted to do is to serve her country by offering her expertise to an adminitration that was in desperate need of experts.
And what does she get for her troubles?
An inbox full of vicious attacks and a Right Wing media that is fomenting violence against her.
When I hear Republicans suggest that Trump is under attack for purely partisan reasons I always think, “Are you not paying attention to what he is doing and who he is?”