WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Wednesday called an op-ed piece in which a high-ranking administration official harshly criticizes him anonymously in The New York Times “gutless” and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders demanded that the author “resign.”
“We have somebody in what I call the failing New York Times that’s talking about he’s part of the resistance inside the Trump administration,” Trump said during a White House meeting with dozens of sheriffs from around the country. “This is what we have to deal with. And you know the dishonest media ... But it’s really a disgrace.”
The president said that the Times piece was a “gutless editorial” and then read from a list some of what he considers to be his presidential accomplishments, claiming that “nobody has done what this administration has done in terms of getting things passed and getting things through.”
The op-ed echoes many of the claims about the inside working of the Trump administration made by veteran reporter Bob Woodward in his new book “Fear,” specifically that many of Trump’s top advisers do not trust him and are working clandestinely to prevent him from being able to implement many of his impulsive and potentially harmful ideas and decisions.
The author says that he and his fellow advisers “want the administration to succeed ... 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.”
“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 unnamed official wrote.
In a statement released shortly thereafter, Sanders said that “The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. ... This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
In the op-ed, the official – whose identity is known only to the Times’ editorial board – says that the “root of the problem is the President’s amorality,” adding that Trump’s “reckless decisions,” “erratic behavior” – in addition to what he calls the president’s “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” leadership style – is what has motivated some advisers to attempt to thwart many of his actions.
“Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” wrote the official. “Although he was elected as a Republican, the President shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people.”