During and after his speech in Billings, Montana, on Wednesday night, President Trump made crystal clear his feelings about the anonymous op-ed published by the New York Times earlier that day: “The Times should never done that because, really what they’ve done is, virtually, you know, it’s treason.” He called the author a “gutless coward” whose name “The New York Times should publish … at once.”
And then the president predicted: “At some point this whole thing is going to be exposed.”
The effort to ferret out the anonymous writer — whose identity the Times’ editors declare they know but are keeping secret at the request of the writer, who fears retribution if he is found out — has already begun. The machinery is already in motion. It began with a presidential tweet questioning whether the author actually holds a position in the Trump administration:
Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to the government at once!
Dinesh D’Souza, the producer of Death of a Nation: Can We Save America a Second Time? agrees with the president. Tweeted D’Souza:
Just read the anonymous @nytimes article and it’s blindingly obvious it’s an in-house product written not by any Trump official but by a professional writer at the newspaper itself. This is the very definition of #FakeNews.
Trump said the effort reflects the frustration of people at the Times and in the Deep State to slow effectively the Trump juggernaut: “The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going crazy — they don’t know what to do. The economy is booming like never before. Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”
Vice President Mike Pence’s deputy chief of staff tweeted that the Times should be ashamed for allowing the anonymous editorial to be published: “The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds. The @nytimes should be ashamed and so should the person who wrote the false, illogical, and gutless op-ed. Our office is above such acts.” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders wrote that the writer of the article, if he or she truly is a member of the Trump administration, should resign:
The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. He is not putting [the] 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.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacked the Times for publishing the editorial, saying, “They should not have chosen to take a disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor’s word for anything and put it in their paper,” adding:
I come from a place where, if you are not in a position to execute the commander’s intent, [then] you have a singular option: it is to leave.
And this person, instead … chose not only to stay but to undermine what President Trump and this administration are trying to do.
Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said the Trump administration would be justified in using lie-detector tests to winnow out the writer of the piece, while others have suggested forcing Trump aides to sign sworn affidavits stating that they didn’t write the offending piece.
According to CNN, officials in the West Wing (where the offices of the White House’s chief of staff, the counselor to the president, his senior advisor, and his press secretary are located) are already following leads based upon how the article was crafted. According to the Daily Mail, the president has been given a list of a dozen suspects, one of whom might have written the editorial.
If, however, the Times wrote the attack on its own volition, crafting it to appear as if it came from an experienced insider in the Trump administration, then his or her identity is likely secure. Timed perfectly to coincide with the publication of Bob Woodward’s Fear: Trump in the White House, there is little reason to consider the op-ed a coincidence as the Deep State, represented by the Times, continues its attack on what it considers the illegitimate and dangerous presidency of Donald Trump.
Upate: Following submission of this article for publication, CNN announced that President Trump planned to ask Attorney General Jeff Sessions to open an investigation into the identity of the anonymous author of the op-ed that the New York Times op-ed published on Wednesday.