The first red flag is buried in Bob Woodward’s latest book on the Trump Administration, Rage. According to the book, former Defense Secretary James Mattis spent much of his tenure in office plotting to undermine the elected leader who appointed him.
The book documents private grumblings, periods of exasperation and wrestling about whether to quit among the so-called adults of the Trump orbit: Mattis, [then Director of National Intelligence Dan] Coats and then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Mattis quietly went to Washington National Cathedral to pray about his concern for the nation’s fate under Trump’s command and, according to Woodward, told Coats, “There may come a time when we have to take collective action” since Trump is “dangerous. He’s unfit.” [Washington Post]
The Post glances over this incident quickly, treating it as just one more example of a disgruntled senior Trump official. But it is far more than that. This is the top defense official in the United States, himself a former general, discussing “collective action” against the president with a top intelligence official. “Collective action” could take many forms, perhaps a concerted effort to invoke the 25th Amendment and have the president declared incapacitated and removed. This would be a coup, and it would be motivated not by Trump’s incapacity, which is just a fig leaf, but by political disagreements.
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