Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Trump officials race to deny authorship of NY Times op-ed

Trump officials race to deny authorship of NY Times op-ed

"We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous", the unnamed senior administration official wrote. Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross said he "did not write and am thoroughly appalled by this op-ed".

The release of an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times from a senior Trump administration official slamming the US president has White House staffers, political pundits and journalists racing to try and uncover the writer's identity.

Trump responded to the book Wednesday in the Oval Office and said, "The book is fiction".

The text of the op-ed was pulled apart for clues: The writer is identified as an "administration official"; does that mean a person who works outside the White House?

While Woodward's is not the first unflattering investigation into Trump's White House, it carries particular weight coming from the man who together with Carl Bernstein authored the Watergate expose that brought down former President Richard Nixon. "That doesn't help the president".

So in the administration's view, anonymity in the media is fine so long as it fits the president's agenda.

"This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea", Donald Trump said in reference to North Korea holding a military parade without the customary display of nuclear weapons. "Mr President, I don't think you should ever start this process unless you are ready to go to war".

Asked what he had concluded, Woodward told CBS: "That people better wake up to what's going on".

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"We have a presidency which is off the rails", Kerry told Anderson Cooper on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360". "We've never had this in our history".

"There's virtually no context in which this kind of op-ed comes within a mile of federal criminal law", said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas. John McCain - do they suggest someone working in national security?

It is not exactly clear what could be done to find out who the author is as it relates to congressional authority.

On the other side of the political aisle, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi joked that Vice President Mike Pence was her first guess as the culprit.

"There's clearly a rising Republican tide of opposition to Trump, and he will not handle that well", said Mike Murphy, a Republican consultant who opposed Trump's candidacy in 2016.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Times should apologize for publishing the story, and called its author a "coward" who "should do the right thing and resign". "The president has to know that when a president speaks, his words weigh a ton". He also questioned: 'Does the "so-called official" really exist?' then indicated the White House was trying to root out the source of the article by posting: 'I'm draining the swamp and the swamp is trying to fight back.

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