The piece, titled 'I Am Part of the Resistance' Inside the Trump Administration, has shaken the government, with scores of senior figures going on record to say they were not the author.
The newspaper departed from its usual practice by publishing the op-ed anonymously. The author of the bombshell piece writes 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 goes on to state that they are ideologically sympathetic to the Republican party ideals of free trade and cutting red tape for business but they are working against Trump because they believe the President to be amoral, fickle and incompetent.
Writers from across the political spectrum reacted to the anonymous Op-ed article by a senior Trump administration official https://t.co/4rtS96hmLf
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 6, 2018
White House offcials have raced to distance themselves from the explosive op-ed
“We believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic,” the editorial continues.
“That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
The piece also raises the spectre of impeachment, saying there were “early whispers” within the administration of evoking the 25th amendment, which provides a mechanism to remove a sitting President.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) September 6, 2018
Scores of senior figures within the Trump administration, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defence Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and CIA Director Gina Haspel have all come forward to deny they wrote the editorial.
A piece by BBC Correspondent Roland Hughes conducted linguistic analysis on the op-ed and found the writing style and average sentence length was somewhat similar to Vice-President Mike Pence. The editorial also uses the unusual word ‘lodestar’, a known favourite of Pence. Hughes cautions, however, that the op-ed may have been heavily edited by the newspaper, rendering the analysis speculative at best.
Anger over The New York Times’ anonymous Trump official op-ed
Trump himself has apparently been enraged by the piece and questioned on Twitter whether the ‘Senior Administration Official’ was made up.
“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!”
Later, he questioned whether the paper should investigate itself. One other all-caps tweet, apparently about the editorial, simply read: TREASON?
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
Are the investigative “journalists” of the New York Times going to investigate themselves – who is the anonymous letter writer?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2018
In a fiery press appearance at The White House, he dismissed the newspaper as “phony” and “failing” and called the editorial “gutless”. He also opined that “Nobody is going to come close to beating me in 2020 (presidential elections)”. The New York Times is one of the many media outlets Trump has been at odds with.
White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out the phone number for The New York Times’ opinion desk in response to media speculation over who wrote the piece.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders scolded the media for its "wild obsession" with unmasking the anonymous author of an explosive editorial alleging a “quiet resistance” within the Trump administration https://t.co/Z6BrJBbHp1
— POLITICO (@politico) September 6, 2018
Richard Painter, who served as Chief Ethics Lawyer for former president George W. Bush, wrote that Sanders was “misusing her official position” by attacking the newspaper and her tweet was “a direct affront to the First Amendment.”
“She should be fired,” Painter tweeted.
Some opponents of Trump have also been critical of the piece, arguing it will only fuel his paranoia. Others have wondered whether staffers obstructing Trump amounts to an undemocratic attempt to override the will of US voters.