The nation needs Jeff Ses­sions

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Ed Rogers Ed Rogers is a con­trib­u­tor to The Washington Post’s PostPar­ti­san blog and a po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant.

In an ex­tra­or­di­nary in­ter­view with The New York Times, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was in­ap­pro­pri­ately crit­i­cal of At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions. It is stun­ning that a pres­i­dent would so pub­licly crit­i­cize one of his most loyal se­nior sup­port­ers. Trump’s in­ter­view was al­most an in­vi­ta­tion for Ses­sions to re­sign. The at­tor­ney gen­eral should not do so.

Jeff Ses­sions, please hang in there.

There are many good people serv­ing in this ad­min­is­tra­tion, un­der dif­fi­cult cir­cum­stances. The cir­cum­stances are not dif­fi­cult be­cause of a for­eign threat, eco­nomic calamity or ef­fec­tive po­lit­i­cal op­po­si­tion. They are dif­fi­cult be­cause of the con­duct, tem­per­a­ment and char­ac­ter of the pres­i­dent.

None­the­less, it is vi­tal that the good people who func­tion as the an­chors of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion stay in place and serve for as long as they can. With­out them, things would be worse. The Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal sys­tem could become more frag­ile and our coun­try could be in peril.

Ev­ery­one work­ing in an ad­min­is­tra­tion al­ways wants the pres­i­dent’s con­fi­dence. But if the things you have to do to main­tain that con­fi­dence are in­con­sis­tent with per­form­ing in a way that best serves Amer­i­can in­ter­ests, then you should keep do­ing your job de­spite know­ing that the pres­i­dent is dis­sat­is­fied with your work.

It is easy to see how people such as na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser H.R. McMaster and De­fense Sec­re­tary Jim Mat­tis are piv­otal to en­sur­ing the worst does not hap­pen. Their pres­ence guar­an­tees that Amer­ica’s weapons arse­nal is safe and our de­fenses are at the ready. But there are also scores of other White House staff mem­bers and ex­ec­u­tive agency lead­ers who are vi­tal to keep­ing some sem­blance of a ra­tio­nal func­tion­ing of the bu­reau­cracy.

Ses­sions is one such per­son. He knows what to do as at­tor­ney gen­eral and what is best for the coun­try — even if the pres­i­dent does not. We owe Ses­sions and others more be­cause they are serv­ing in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, not less.

Trump is er­ratic and too of­ten un­ap­pre­cia­tive of those serv­ing in his ad­min­is­tra­tion. He is un­nec­es­sar­ily dis­mis­sive of their con­tri­bu­tions and ped­dles un­sub­stan­ti­ated mis­truths that de­grade morale through­out the White House, his ad­min­is­tra­tion and the en­tire fed­eral govern­ment.

Given the pres­i­dent’s predilec­tion to throw­ing any­one and ev­ery­one around him un­der the bus when the times are tough, I worry that there could be a whole­sale ex­o­dus from the ad­min­is­tra­tion af­ter the midterm elec­tions (if not be­fore) and an in­abil­ity to re­fill vi­tal posts with good people.

So, to Ses­sions and others who are serv­ing in the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, re­mem­ber that your com­mit­ment may not al­ways be to the man, Don­ald Trump, but to the in­sti­tu­tion that you serve and to the pres­i­dency it­self. Hang in there. Don’t quit.

And for those of you think­ing about ac­cept­ing a job in the ad­min­is­tra­tion but have doubts af­ter read­ing sto­ries such as the one in The New York Times, ig­nore them. Take that job and do your best. A lot of people will be thank­ful you did. And a lot of people will be pulling for you.

Even if the pres­i­dent fails to re­al­ize that he needs good people around him, the fact is, Amer­ica needs good people. Per­haps that much is true now more than ever and be­com­ing more true as con­di­tions de­te­ri­o­rate.

The honor­able thing to do at a time like this is not quit, but stay and try to keep the worst from hap­pen­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.