You might have heard that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is being urged by his Yale classmates to “speak out” and resign from Trump’s cabinet following the President’s bungled press conference which was chock-full of egregious ramblings about everything from the Founders’ slaves and race relations to how dishonest the media is.
This is the letter (from 300 members of the Yale College Class of 1985):
Dear Secretary Mnuchin:
We, some of your fellow members of the Yale College Class of 1985, write to you today in response to President Trump’s comments on the recent events in Charlottesville. We believe it is your moral obligation to resign your post as Secretary of the Treasury, effective immediately. We understand that graduates of Yale College have served the United States proudly as presidents, members of the cabinet, and in many other capacities since its founding, and that rarely, if ever, have any of us made such a request of a classmate, whatever our differences in political opinion have been.
We do so today because President Trump has declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans, as men and women of Yale, and as decent human beings. President Trump made those declarations loudly, clearly, and unequivocally, and he said them as you stood next to him. We can be Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Greens, and a number of other things and still be friends, classmates, and patriots, but we cannot be Nazis and white supremacists. We can disagree on the means of promoting the general welfare of the country, on the size and role of government, on the nature of freedom and security, but we cannot take the side of what we know to be evil.
We call upon you, as our friend, our classmate, and as a fellow American, to resign in protest of President Trump’s support of Nazism and white supremacy. We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing.
Mnuchin has responded and you can find his letter in full below.
Suffice to say it’s almost as chock-full of bullshit as Trump’s presser, and I’m sure Mnuchin knows it.
Indeed, as I pointed out on Twitter earlier today, the fact that “Mnuchin Pushes Back Against Classmates Call to Quit Trump Admin” is even a headline certainly seems to suggest that he will eventually resign from the administration.
"Mnuchin Pushes Back Against Classmates Call to Quit Trump Admin"
the fact that this is even a headline suggests he will eventually exit
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) August 19, 2017
Meanwhile, Axios has published a kind of compendium of anecdotes sourced from “a half dozen senior administration officials, who range from dismayed but certain to stay, to disgusted and likely soon to leave.”
Here they are:
- “You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill”: The most common response centers on the urgent importance of having smart, sane people around Trump to fight his worst impulses. If they weren’t there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall.
- “General Mattis needs us”: Many talk about their reluctance to bolt on their friends and colleagues who are fighting the good fight to force better Trump behavior/decisions. They rightly point out that together, they have learned how to ignore Trump’s rhetoric and, at times, collectively steer him to more conventional policy responses.
- “Trump’s not as evil as portrayed”: All of them talk up the president as more reasonable off Twitter and TV than on it. This gives them hope (though almost all increasingly say it’s fleeting hope) he will listen to his better angels, or at least the pleas of Ivanka.
- “We like the power”: Well, no one comes out and say it this blatantly. But working in the White House, even this one, is intoxicating and ego-stroking. They have enormous say over regulations and rules, invites and implementation, government jobs and access to the Oval. They also know they are one step away from an even bigger job in government, so it’s hard to just walk away.
Needless to say, none of that is particularly encouraging and some of it is downright frightening.
You can draw your own conclusions here, but what you should note is that at this point, this is a lost cause. Everyone is just trying to figure out what their own optimal strategy is in terms of abandoning ship. Or, as one of the best bloggers around (Notes From Disgracedland’s Bjarne Knausgaard ) put it earlier:
Absolutely. He can deny it as much as he wants, but he is out. His reaction only proves that he had taken a course in game theory.
— Bjarne Knausgard (@BjarneKnausgard) August 20, 2017
Here’s the letter: