The New York Times published an essay Wednesday that the newspaper said was written by a “senior official” in the Trump administration, supporting a central claim in Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book: members of the president’s staff are actively working to subvert him.
The unnamed official painted a portrait of a divided White House because of misgivings over the behavior of President Trump himself.
“The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the author of the piece wrote.
A tweet by the newspaper gave a clue about the gender of the author:
In an editorial note that accompanies the essay, the Times notes that it withheld the author’s identity to protect the person’s job. “We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers,” the editors at the paper wrote.
In “Fear: Trump in the White House,” Woodward’s forthcoming exposé on Trump’s presidency, the Watergate reporter describes a scene in which former chief economic advisor Gary Cohn “stole a letter off Trump’s desk” before the president could sign it to keep him from terminating a trade agreement with South Korea. The book is also filled with interviews from officials expressing grave concerns about Trump’s fitness for office.
In the essay published by the Times, the author bolsters those claims.
“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” the author states. “Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.”
Trump and members of his staff had already spent much of the day trying to discredit Woodward’s book when the Times op-ed, sending the administration into damage control once more.
Moments later, Trump bashed the New York Times in off-the-cuff comments delivered at the White House in which he called the essay “anonymous, meaning gutless.”
“When you tell me about some anonymous source in the administration, probably who is failing, and probably here for all the wrong reasons,” Trump said, adding, “Now, and the New York Times is failing. If I weren’t here I believe the New York Times probably wouldn’t even exist.”
In her own statement, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also appeared to confirm that the author of the essay worked in the Trump administration.
“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States,” Sanders said in a statement. “He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
Trump then returned to Twitter, where he offered a more succinct criticism of the official who had written the essay.
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