never stop never trumping

Don’t Worry, Former Trump Aides Are Still Trying to ‘Stop’ Him

Democracy’s last hope. Photo-Illustration: Intelligencer. Photos: Getty Images

Despite President Joe Biden’s fiery speech on Thursday morning, my confidence in the future of the American political system is not high right now. Donald Trump, who seems intent on running for president again in 2024, marked the anniversary of the Capitol riot by reiterating his lies about a stolen election. And Trump has so thoroughly dominated the GOP that the only Republicans present for a moment of silence in the House honoring the Capitol Police officers who lost their lives as a result of the January 6 attack were former vice-president Dick Cheney and his daughter, Representative Liz Cheney.

But fear not: The resistance inside the (former) Trump administration has a plan. Or at least, a plan to meet and try to form a plan. In an interview with CNN this morning, Stephanie Grisham, former White House press secretary and chief of staff to the First Lady, revealed that she and a group of about 15 fellow ex–Trump administration officials are planning a discussion on how to make everything better.

“Next week, a group of former Trump staff are going to come together, administration officials are going to come together and we’re going to talk about how we can formally do some things to try and stop him and also, the extremism, that that kind of violence, rhetoric that has been talked about and continues to divide our country,” Grisham said on New Day.

Grisham said this group, which has already held “some Zooms, some conference calls,” includes people who were senior to her in the Trump administration. She declined to identify other members, but Politico named some names:

While Grisham did not name members of the group, POLITICO can confirm former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor, who was revealed to be the author of “Anonymous”; former national security official Olivia Troye; and Trump’s one-time, short-lived communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, are involved. None offered additional details on the group, but POLITICO confirmed an invitation was sent out to other former officials to participate as well.

Are you not reassured?

Grisham said the purpose of next week’s meeting is to hammer out the most effective way to spread their anti-Trump message to people who are still in thrall of the former president.

“I’m hoping that people will talk to somebody like me or some of these other people who really did believe in Trump and understand you can be proud of his policies, you can still be behind a lot of the America First policies that he implemented, which I am, but it doesn’t have to be him,” she said. “It just doesn’t have to be this man who has caused such chaos and destruction in the country.”

Will supporters of the 45th president be swayed by a chat with the Mooch, or the guy who already wrote a whole book warning people that Trump is bad? I’m going to say no. It’s certainly more admirable for former Trump administration officials to speak out on behalf of American democracy, even at this very late date, rather than remaining silent. But throughout Trump’s time in office, a parade of anonymous officials — probably including his own daughter! — kept insisting that they were making heroic efforts to thwart his worst impulses behind the scenes. And yet, he continues to “manipulate people and divide our country,” as Grisham put it.

But hey, prove me wrong! Maybe the only way to change the system is from the outside. Very belatedly, and largely anonymously. And so cautiously that few people realize you’re doing anything at all.

Don’t Worry, Ex-Trump Aides Are Still Trying to ‘Stop’ Him