Some of the top women in the White House are blasting an anonymous New York Times op-ed in which the author, identified as a senior Trump administration official, claimed that officials are working to undermine the president.
First lady Melania Trump reportedly bashed the anonymity of the writer in a statement to a CNN reporter.
“If a person is bold enough to accuse people of negative actions, they have a responsibility to publicly stand by their words and people have the right to be able to defend themselves,” she wrote. “To the writer of the oped — you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted a statement on Thursday telling people who are asking about the identity of the writer to “stop.” She then encouraged those who are curious to “call the opinion desk of the failing NYT,” and then proceeded to give out the phone number for the publication.
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, for her part, seemed more flippant during an interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News on Wednesday night.
“I’m not sure it matters,” Conway said. “It’s not clear to us anyway that it’s someone in the White House. They’re saying ‘senior administration official,’ that could be many people. There are I think thousands of political appointees, hundreds of folks who would qualify under that title alone.”
When Ingraham began saying she worried about aides working in the administration who do not “buy into the Trump agenda,” Conway said, “I hear you.”
“It really depends who it is. I also think that’s not particularly relevant, meaning like, who it is,” Conway said.
When Ingraham pointed out that it could be someone in the West Wing, Conway acquiesced, “Could be.”
“That’s a problem,” Ingraham said.
“That would be a huge problem,” Conway agreed. She then veered off to start speaking about Trump winning the 2016 election and his policy wins.
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday that whoever wrote the article is ‘‘living in dishonesty’’ and shouldn’t work for Trump. Ryan said he understands Trump’s tweeting and ‘‘unconventional tactics’’ bother people, but the Wisconsin Republican said the president is producing ‘‘good results.’’
A congressional ally of President Donald Trump says he thinks Congress could investigate which senior administration official wrote an anonymous New York Times opinion piece criticizing the president.
US Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a congressional ally of Trump’s, said he thinks the issue is ‘‘serious from a national security standpoint.’’ Meadows is the chairman of a House subcommittee that oversees the president’s executive office and a founder of conservative Freedom Caucus.
Meadows said he disagrees with Ryan, who said earlier in the day that he doesn’t know what role Congress would have in investigating the opinion piece.
Meadows said that ‘‘we are looking at what is proper’’ to investigate but said he hasn’t yet taken ‘‘concrete steps.’’
Meanwhile, several other administration officials — including Mike Pence, Ben Carson, Jim Mattis, Mike Pompeo, and Dan Coats — have denied that they wrote the op-ed.
The opinion piece claimed that several top officials within the administration are trying to “frustrate” parts of the president’s agenda and “worst inclinations,” adding: “I would know. I am one of them.”
“Americans should know that there are adults in the room,” the op-ed states. “We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”
Trump railed against the op-ed during a meeting of dozens of sheriffs from across the country on Wednesday, calling the anonymous piece “gutless.” He also tweeted about it shortly after.
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 government at once!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.