So Who in the White House is Behind the New York Times Op-Ed?

Published September 6th, 2018 - 12:01 GMT
U.S. President Donald Trump. (AFP/ File Photo)
U.S. President Donald Trump. (AFP/ File Photo)

The New York Times have published an op-ed authored by a senior official in the Trump administration who claims that they are part of the resistance, but work closely with the US President and support some of his policies.

After the NYT op-ed came out, Washington DC was left dumbfounded and wondering who this mysterious senior official could be and how, if their identity were to be revealed, their job would be jeopardised.

While many have suggested that the author of the anonymous piece could be Secretary of Defense James Mattis, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Melania or Ivanka Trump, most believe it was written by Vice President Mike Pence.

New York Times op-ed

The New York Times op-ed written by a current Trump administration senior aide states that ‘President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.’

The article continues: ‘It’s not just that the special counsel looms large. Or that the country is bitterly divided over Mr. Trump’s leadership. Or even that his party might well lose the House to an opposition hellbent on his downfall.

‘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.

‘To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. But 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 NYT article goes on to claim that there are many who have been appointed by Trump that are attempting to ‘thwart’ the US President from his position, because of what has been described as his ‘amorality’.

It also discussed Trump’s mantra that the press is the ‘enemy of the people’ and his preference to align himself with ‘autocrats and dictators’, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

‘The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility,’ the article read.

It also mentioned Senator John McCain and referred to him as a ‘lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.’

Trump’s reaction to the NYT op-ed
After the New York Times piece was published, many took to social media to express who they think the author of it is, including Trump who took to Twitter to lash out against the report of ‘quiet resistance’ by his staff.

Trump tweeted: 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!’

The US President’s second tweet read: ‘I’m draining the Swamp, and the Swamp is trying to fight back. Don’t worry, we will win!’ This article corroborates most of what is described in Bob Woodward’s upcoming book, Fear: Trump in the White House.

With Chief of Staff John Kelly’s alleged quote stating that Trump had ‘gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown. I don’t even know why any of us are here. This is the worst job I’ve ever had,’ many even believe that Kelly could be the author of the NYT article amid whispers of invoking the 25th Amendment.

Others on social media commented on the use of the word ‘lodestar’ in The New York Times article, which was used to describe Senator John McCain and how while the phrase is not commonly used, there is one senior official in the Trump administration who does use it frequently: Mike Pence.

Is Mike Pence the author of the NYT op-ed?

Twitter users, including Dan Bloom, Audio Producer for Panoply, said: The @nytimes just published an anonymous op-ed from a "senior administration official." I'd like to posit a guess as to who wrote it. Getting my @ashleyfeinberg on began with a single word that jumped out at me…’

Bloom went on to explain that ‘lodestar’ being used to describe McCain rules out the likes of Stephen Miller and Dan Scavino, but as a word that is not commonly used, it ‘has this whiff of sanctimony’ and a search revealed that Pence had used the word in a speech at the UN in 2017.

Pence’s concluding remarks at the September 2017 event were: ‘So let us rededicate ourselves to the mission upon which this body was founded -- the first words of the U.N. Charter, “to maintain international peace,” must again be our lodestar, our ideal, and our aspiration.

‘Through reform of our efforts and reform of this institution, through renewed courage to speak and act whenever and wherever the unalienable rights of innocent people, or the peace of the world, is at risk we will create, as our President said, a more safe and peaceful future for all mankind.’

Months later, the Vice President used the word again, this time at the Jack Kemp Leadership Award Dinner, referring to ‘Jack’s lodestar was his unwavering belief in the fundamental equality and dignity of every person. It inspired everything that he stood for.’

Bloom then brings another example to the attention of his followers, when Pence spoke with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in February 2018 during his trip to Tokyo.

‘But we will not repeat the mistakes of the past. As President Trump has said, “Past experience has taught us that complacency and concessions only invite aggression and provocation.” And so vigilance and resolve will be our lodestar,’ he said.

An hour later, Bloom continued the thread and addressed those who had questioned his theory, especially those who believed that the author of the NYT op-ed may be Pence’s speechwriter Stephen Ford, to which he said that the earliest use of the word ‘lodestar’ was found in 2001.

‘The Times piece begins with a disclaimer that describes the author as: "a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure." Pence is basically the only WH employee that cannot be fired, but…

‘as i read it, the language "job would be jeopardized" is rather broad. Even if Vice President Mike Pence can't be fired, if this were to go public, Pence's influence and effectiveness would certainly be jeopardized.’

He added: ‘This is important: I could be totally wrong. This is a speculative, unconfirmed theory (based on words that came out of Vice President Mike Pence's mouth,) but keep your skepticism & critical thinking in tact.’

Later, after speaking with a speechwriter, Bloom explained that while it is possible that Stephen Ford had written it, the speechwriter may not have been ‘speaking as him or herself. More likely, written on behalf of or with Pence.

‘Just too well written for a principal who likely has a hell of a lot more work on their plate than would allow for this to be produced within 24 hours of the Woodward news." That said, he raised a nuanced point that I hadn't previously considered…

‘The fact that Pence has been using the word a ton going back to his radio show suggests it’s him. If the speechwriter is putting that into his speeches it’s only because he (or she) has picked up on the fact that Pence loves the word.

‘...plus the way the op ed is written suggests it’s by someone with actual influence. A speechwriter to the VP ain’t that person." Smart analysis from my speechwriter contact who has real insight into this world. #lodestar,’ Bloom’s speechwriter contact revealed.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

You may also like