It was a new feeling, to have so many people hate me. Worse was the realization that this was never going to be cleared up. At no point would some movie judge step forward to declare me innocent of the charges. I had strange thought patterns while lying awake at night or in breaks during the day. I wished, for instance, that I was being attacked over something I had actually done wrong. No matter how many investigations found no wrongdoing, there would be another one. No matter how clearly mainstream reporters saw it was a sham, they’d cover it anyway—it was a story, and I was one of the characters. I started to change—the kind of change that is imperceptible day to day but builds visibly over time. I withdrew into myself, growing distant from friends and colleagues. I couldn’t fall asleep unless I listened to an interview program, Fresh Air, which could distract my mind from worry. I was less joyful at working in the White House, more burdened by it. Without discussing it with others, I nursed a ball of anger deep within me that I kept pushed down—anger at Republicans, anger at the media, anger at the realization that I had no control over what people thought of me. I sensed that some of my colleagues held similar feelings. We worked in the most powerful building in the world yet felt powerless to change the environment around us.

From The World As It Is by Ben Rhodes.

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