I'm looking for a word or phrase to fill in the blank.
I feel like the president of the university had a ________ for demoting Mr. X.
The meaning I want to convey is "thin rationale". This might be the phrase I'm looking for, but it doesn't show up in a lot of search results.
What I mean is: A justification that might not hold up under scrutiny. A questionable justification for doing or saying something.
I hope I was clear, and I appreciate your feedback!