The New York Times’ Michael Schmidt spoke with NPR this Wednesday and posited that one of the most unusual aspects about Donald Trump’s presidency is the fact that there are so many in his administration who are trying to steer Trump away from breaking the law and damaging the country.
Schmidt has a new book out titled “Donald Trump v. The United States,” which focuses on former FBI Director James Comey and former White House counsel Don McGahn — two government officials who challenged Trump.
“In our history as a country, we’ve largely focused on how our presidents use their power, how the people around them help them do that, and what that says,” Schmidt said. “In this instance of the Trump presidency, Trump’s use of power is so unusual that we have a phenomenon here where the people around the president are trying to stop him.”
According to Schmidt, McGahn was “the most fascinating character of the Trump era.” He pointed to McGahn’s pushback on Trump’s threats to fire Mueller in 2017. McGahn threatened to resign if Trump went through with the plan.
“Every time Trump wanted to do something crazy McGahn wasn’t cowering in the corner,” Schmidt said. “McGahn had a very good antenna for what a prosecutor may think of what Trump was trying to do and [how] the public and politics would see those actions.”
McGahn’s actions ultimately led to his leaving the White House in 2018.
“For McGahn, it was sort of an example of the way that Trump treats people around him,” Schmidt said. “McGahn had done all of these things for the president. He had stopped Trump from hurting himself. He had been in charge of the judges. And I think McGahn wanted to go out on his own terms and had been talking to Trump about that. But here, via tweet, he was finding out that he was done.”
Read the full interview over at NPR.