Published 5:11 p.m. UTC Sep 6, 2018
In the anonymous opinion essay published Wednesday by the New York Times, a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration invoked the name of the late Sen. John McCain, who in a farewell letter warned tribal politics would weaken the nation and called on Americans to work together in an era of extreme partisanship.
The op-ed described a coordinated and far-reaching “resistance” movement within the administration that is working to “preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses.”
In the op-ed, the author wrote: "Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation.
"We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them."
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The writer cast Trump as an immoral, erratic and irresponsible president who has lost the confidence of his aides. The result, according to the author, is a “two-track presidency” that is quietly working around Trump to "steer the administration in the right direction until the end of his presidency."
Trump slammed the op-ed as "gutless" and questioned whether the author of the piece exists. The president called on the newspaper to immediately turn the author over to the government.
McCain died Aug. 25 after a 13-month battle with brain cancer.
In his farewell letter, McCain praised America's role in liberating "more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history."
The six-term senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee said the country's standing and ideals are threatened "when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries ... We weaken it when we hide behind walls rather than tear them down."
McCain ended his letter on an optimistic note, saying Americans will get through the challenges facing the country by working together.
"Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here," McCain wrote. "Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history."
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