UPDATE (4:00 pm): Trump responds to the anonymous Op-Ed much like you would probably expect. From Politico:
The president addressed the op-ed directly in comments made in the East Room, calling it an “anonymous, meaning gutless, gutless editorial.”
“So when you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who’s failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons, now, and The New York Times’ is failing,” Trump said. “If I weren’t here, I believe The New York Times probably wouldn’t even exist.”
“We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to publish this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed. This is a new low for the so-called ‘paper of record,’ and it should issue an apology, just as it did after the election for its disastrous coverage of the Trump campaign,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. 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.”
Trying to put out a fire WITH fire might not be the best approach here.
The White House is freaking out over revelations from Bob Woodward’s forthcoming book, “Fear.” President Trump is predictably attacking Woodward, calling the new book “fiction” and floating some sort of conspiracy theory about Woodward being a secret Democratic operative, but a stunning editorial published this afternoon in the New York Times makes that narrative tougher for Trump to sustain.
Here’s how the Times explains today’s opinion piece from an anonymous White House author, described as “a senior official in the Trump administration”:
The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.
The entire opinion piece is well worth reading. Here are some of the more interesting excerpts:
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.
I would know. I am one of them…
…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…
From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.
Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.
…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 editorial closes with a strong message for all Americans:
There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first. But the real difference will be made by everyday citizens rising above politics, reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels in favor of a single one: Americans.
The White House isn’t yet providing an official response to the Times editorial.