Of course, it isn’t easy.
You’ve devoted years to public service and now you serve the President of the United States. You took the job pridefully, thinking that in some way you could help your country — maybe, even the world.
But it’s become painfully apparent that the President is creating serious problems for America and its allies and many others.
That’s the dilemma for many in the Trump Administration today. (And it’s no doubt a factor in keeping many others from accepting invitations to join that administration. But that’s another story.)
If you are one of those good folks, meet Jerry terHorst (sic) and Cyrus R. Vance. And take heart from their agonizing decisions, made under great stress, to do the right thing as they saw it.
Jerry terHorst a veteran journalist, was delighted to be invited to be President Gerald Ford’s White House Press Secretary in August, 1974, in the wake of the Richard Nixon resignation, a time of unprecedented presidential disgrace. A month later, terHorst resigned in protest over Ford’s pardon of Nixon.
Cyrus R. Vance was President Jimmy Carter’s Secretary of State from 1977 to 1980. Dedicated to foreign policy progress through negotiation, he resigned in protest over Carter’s Operation Eagle Claw, the [failed] secret mission to rescue American hostages in Iran.
Admittedly, these are rare examples of acts of conscience by high government officials. Yet they are timely this very day as an increasing number American diplomats and other federal officials parse the meaning of “loyalty” in their current positions.
Surely they disavow loyalty to Trump himself, as he requested of former FBI director James Comey. Yet there is the commitment to do the job they signed on for — itself a form of loyalty — even when in conflict to personal values.
Several members of the Trump Cabinet, especially those with distinguished military careers in service to their country — along with others — may well be engaged in such soul searching.
We wish them well.