Foreign Policy Digital

The Insubordination of Trump Isn’t Treason. It’s Normal.

The president isn't being subverted by the deep state—he's being thwarted by bureaucracy.

How normal is this? That is the question underlying thousands of conversations, hours of television and radio shoutfests, and scores of published commentaries—all trying to make sense of the latest developments out of the Trump administration.

My answer is a mixed one: more normal than the most breathless analysts have claimed but not normal enough for us to dismiss the matter altogether.

This latest round of analysis was triggered by two developments. The first was Tuesday’s teaser excerpt from Bob Woodward’s new book on President Donald Trump. The second was Wednesday’s anonymous op-ed in the New York Times purporting to come from a “senior official” inside the Trump administration.

The publication sequence suggested that the Woodward excerpts triggered the op-ed, and perhaps it happened that way. But the decision to grant anonymity probably involved lots of hand-wringing and internal debate at the newspaper and thus a long timeline; that suggests both were developed concurrently and independently. Either way, they were clearly of a piece and of the moment.

Both had irresistible clickbait headlines: “Bob Woodward’s new book reveals a ‘nervous breakdown’ of Trump’s presidency” and “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump

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