The White House reportedly is closing in on the individual who authored an anonymous New York Times Op-Ed that slammed President Donald Trump.
Officials have narrowed down authorship to “just a few people,” CNN reported.
The Op-Ed, attributed to a “senior administration official,” depicted the writer as part of a “resistance” to Trump within the administration that the writer claims is trying to save America from the president.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, when interviewed Friday for a CNN report to air Sunday, confirmed what Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One about the source of the article.
“The president just today said he believes it’s somebody in national security,” Conway said, according to Newsweek.
When Conway was asked whether the author is a person who works within the White House, Conway responded, “Most of us don’t think that.”
The person “ought to come forward and say it, or ought to resign, because the loyalty is not to the president, or at all, it’s loyalty to the presidency,” she said, according to the Washington Examiner.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders called the writer an “anonymous coward” and a “gutless loser” who is “recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump.”
U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who has not shied away from policy differences with the president, castigated the anonymous writer in an Op-Ed of her own published by The Washington Post.
“I find it absolutely chilling to imagine that a high-ranking member of my team would secretly try to thwart my agenda,” she wrote. “That is not the American way. It is fundamentally disloyal, not just to the chief executive, but to our country and our values.
“To Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, I say: Step up and help the administration do great things for the country. If you disagree with some policies, make your case directly to the president. If that doesn’t work, and you are truly bothered by the direction of the administration, then resign on principle. There is no shame in that. But do not stay in your position and secretly undermine the president and the rest of our team. It is cowardly, it is anti-democratic, and it is a disservice to our country.”
On Friday, Trump was asked about what he would do when the writer of the Op-Ed is discovered.
“Well, I think it’s a disgrace that somebody can do that. And I think it’s more disgraceful that The New York Times would do it,” he said, according to a White House transcript of the interview.
Trump did find a bright spot in the controversy.
“I will say — just in watching this morning, briefly — so many people that never said a good thing about me are now saying that should never happen,” the president said. “They’ve actually gone to my side. I think it’s reverberating in a very different way.”
Trump said the writer “doesn’t seem to be anybody very high up, because everybody very high up has already said, ‘It wasn’t me.’ It would be very hard if it was, and they got caught, to make the statements that they’ve made.”
He continued, “We’re going to take a look at what he had, what he gave, what he’s talking about — also where he is right now. Supposing I have a high-level national security meeting, and he has got a clearance — I know we talked about clearances a lot, recently –and he goes into a high-level meeting concerning China or Russia or North Korea or something, and this guy goes in. I don’t want him at those meetings. So, we’re going to see what happens. We’re looking at it very strongly from a legal standpoint.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.