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Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Waves of former officials working for President Donald Trump have consistently turned on him and denounced his conduct throughout his first term in the Oval Office, a trend that only seems to be accelerating as the November election approaches.

Olivia Troye, a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence who worked on the coronavirus task force, was the latest to condemn the president in searing terms on Thursday. In an ad for Republican Voters Against Trump, she described the president as callous to the deaths of Americans and only interested in his re-election.

She likely isn't the last Trump officials to come out against him, and she certainly wasn't the first.

Miles Taylor and Elizabeth Neumann, both former high-ranking employees in the Department of Homeland Security, also appeared in videos for RVAT and were unsparing in their criticisms of the president.

But long before the election was in sight, officials under Trump have resigned, quit, or been fired — only to swiftly break with the president. Many have often subsequently publicized damning revelations about his conduct.

An incomplete list of these officials includes:

  • Former FBI Director James Comey
  • Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe
  • Former National Security Adviser John Bolton
  • Senior State Department official Mary Elizabeth Taylor
  • Pentagon official James Miller
  • Senior analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency Kyle Murphy
  • Assistant to the president Omarosa Manigault Newman
  • Former Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson (accused Trump of sexual misconduct)
  • Michael Cohen
  • Former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci
  • Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson
  • Former Defense Secretary James Mattis
  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman

Others have issued more equivocal criticisms of the president, and some critics, like Rick Bright, continue to work within the administration despite having aired deeply troubling accusations. Former Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats ominously warned about threats to the election on Thursday without directly attacking Trump, but Bob Woodward reported he feared Putin "had something" on the president. A recent report from The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg on Trump's disparagement divulged an incendiary comment the president made to his former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, strongly suggesting that Kelly himself intentionally allowed details of the conversation to leak.

It's become so routine for former officials to disavow the president that the White House has a pat response to new allegations. They dismiss the complainant as merely "disgruntled," and they offer criticism of the former official's job performance. What they don't explain is why so many officials seem to end up "disgruntled," or why the administration hires so many people who supposedly turn out to be unsuited for their positions.

And the truth is, this is not normal. Presidents don't typically face waves of former employees and officials coming out against them, depicting them as dangerous and unfit, and endorsing their opponents. It's a sign of a uniquely disastrous president.

Crooked Media's Brian Beutler noted:

And MSNBC's Chris Hayes noted: "It was an *enormous* story when Robert Gates wrote a book about his policy disagreements with Obama and now you've got multiple former staffers coming out saying "PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD HE'S A MONSTER."

And according to Miles Taylor, what we've seen is just a a tip of the iceberg. Countless other officials within the administration reportedly know and fear how radically dangerous the president is (though surely some, like Stephen Miller, are true believers). Others have similar claimed that Republicans in Congress feel the same way about the president — that he's deeply unfit. The problem is they're just too afraid to break from him as long as he controls the party, and as long as they have a chance of holding on to power.

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was on CNN Sunday morning with Jake Tapper on his State of the Union show. In part because Democratic reps, like Republican reps, going on Sunday shows is about this coming election, and in part because newscasters are not particularly deep or creative when it comes to talking about politics, Tapper decided to spend a lot of time trying to get Ocasio-Cortez to attack Joe Biden for their differences of political opinions. Newsflash: Ocasio-Cortez, progressive hero, co-author of the ambitious Green New Deal environmental package, and Vice President Joe Biden aren't exactly on the same page as to how to handle climate change.

More to the point, Tapper asked Ocasio-Cortez whether or not she was bothered by the fact that Biden has not said he would outright ban fracking. The move to ban fracking in states across the country has been a seesaw battle of fossil fuel interests fighting against progressive environmentalism and science. Biden's refusal to provide full-throated support for a ban on fracking is disappointing to many of us on the left, but it isn't surprising. Even more importantly, it is below the most essential first step the progressive movement—and the country for that matter—needs to take: getting rid of Donald Trump and getting rid of the Republican majority in the Senate.

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez isn't going to be pulled into a pointless argument about fracking with Jake Tapper. Her position is well-reported. So is Biden's. AOC explains very clearly that this is how politics work in a representative democracy.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: It does not bother me. I believe, and I have a very strong position on fracking. You know, the science is very clear, the methane emissions from fracking are up to 64 times more powerful than CO2 emissions and trapping heat in the air, and just from a perspective of stopping climate change there is a scientific consensus. However, that is my view. Vice President Biden has made very clear that he does not agree with the fracking ban and I consider that, you know—it will be a privilege to lobby him should we win the White House but we need to focus on winning the White House first. I am happy to make my case but I also understand he is in disagreement on that issue.

Tapper wonders whether this will depress the youth vote, a vote that AOC represents more closely than Biden. This, of course, is literally the only reason Trump and his surrogates have been bringing up this difference of positions the last couple of weeks. The hope is that it will depress the more progressive vote, while spooking some more conservative-leaning folks in fossil-fuel heavy states like Pennsylvania and Texas. Ocasio-Cortez points out that the youth vote over the past couple of years has not simply become more sophisticated since 2016, it has brought in more progressive candidates and officials into local elections. The turnout in 2018 showed that, and Ocasio-Cortez believes that this election is very clearly a choice between Donald Trump, someone who is a non-starter of a human being, and Joe Biden.

Tapper then plays a clip of Biden telling reporters that he isn't "getting rid of fossil fuels for a long time," but that he's talking about getting rid of the subsidies the fake free-marketeers enjoy in the fossil fuel industry. While Tapper is hoping that this will illustrate how Biden isn't AOC and the youth vote may be turned off by this statement, she sees it as an important step in the right direction.

REP. OCASIO-CORTEZ: When he says we are eliminating subsidies, I think that is, frankly, an important first step. A lot of folks who like to tout themselves as free market capitalists, while still trying to make sure they get as much government subsidy, and propping up of the fossil fuel industry as possible. ... If you do believe in markets, solar and renewable energies are growing less and less expensive by the day in many areas. They are starting to become less expensive than fossil fuels. When you eliminate government subsidies, it becomes more difficult for fossil fuels to compete in the market. I think while the vice president wants to make sure that he is not doing it by government mandate or regulation. I do believe that we are moving towards that future. I believe that there's a way and that we should push that process along but again, the vice president and my disagreements are, I believe, recorded and that is quite all right.