Yesterday’s anonymous Op-Ed piece in the New York Times suggests that the U.S. president is not fully in charge of his office. (This revelation comes as something of a prelude to Bob Woodward’s upcoming book claiming, among other things, that Trump’s aides hide papers from him because he behaves like a fifth-grader who shows little understanding of many issues before him.) The anonymity of the article has led to much speculation as to who wrote it. Possible authors suggested in the Weekly Standard include Larry Kudlow, Kevin Hassett, Dan Coats (who had denied it), and Mike Pompeo (who has denied it). The white house has, of course, denied all of the claims made by both Woodward and the anonymous author, claiming instead that his cabinet has full faith in him. In fact, Trump responded that even “Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims ‘unwavering faith in President Trump,’” further reassuring the faithful.
I doubt much will come of this. At this point (maybe all along), you either believe what Trump says or you don’t. If you want to bolster your believe that Trump is right, you listen to him, his loyal inner circle, Fox, Breitbart, or The Daily Caller. If you want to bolster your belief that he lies, you listen to pretty much any other source of information. It’s interesting that the country is in such a polarized state, not just in values, but in perceptions of reality. Colin Woodard’s book, “American Nations,” speaks to this disconnect. He traces eleven North American groups from their inceptions several centuries ago to show that the political divisions of the United States have a long and deep history. These divisions of values have created the political divisions we see manifest today, divisions so deep that it is difficult for one side to consider that the other is also ‘American.’ Maybe these divisions are just part of America’s DNA.