Trump responded angrily to the op-ed by calling the article a “gutless editorial.” The Times piece details a concerted internal effort to derail the president from causing damage to the country, citing his unpredictable urges and “anti-democratic” ideas.
Trump made the comments to reporters during a White House event with sheriffs from across the country. He added that the Times was full of “dishonest people” and said the media will be out of business after he leaves office.
“So if the failing New York Times has an anonymous editorial – can you believe it? Meaning gutless, a gutless editorial,” Trump said.
The Times editorial staff noted in the op-ed that it made a rare choice in publishing a piece anonymously, saying the publication knows the identity of the “senior official in the Trump administration” who wrote the column.
“I Am Part Of The Resistance Inside The Trump Administration” claims there is a cluster of White House officials who are actively working to “frustrate” Trump’s agenda. The author accused the president of erratic behavior without any ties to “discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”
The Times piece claims those within the administration attempt to insulate their work from the president’s unpredictable whims.
The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.
It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.
The result is a two-track presidency.
Trump claimed the author of the op-ed was “probably failing” and “probably here for all the wrong reasons” in his comments at the White House. Later, the president vaguely tweeted: “TREASON?”
He followed up with another tweet insisting the Times turn over the writer.
“Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?” Trump tweeted. “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”
The anonymous op-ed echoes a sentiment heard in excerpts of veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, Fear: Trump in the White House. Woodward’s book included an anecdote from a confidential source claiming former chief economic adviser Gary Cohn stole a letter off Trump’s desk that would have withdrawn the U.S. from a trade agreement with South Korea.
Cohn reportedly said that he wouldn’t let Trump see the letter because he’s “got to protect the country,” according to the book.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement on Wednesday calling the Times column a “new low” and said the paper should issue an apology.
“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States,” Sanders’ statement read. “He’s not putting the country first, putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
This story has been updated with a statement from White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and tweets from the president.