There appears to be no shortage of leakers in the chaotic and factionalized Trump administration, but whoever wrote the recently published anonymous op-ed in The New York Times definitely took the cake.
The op-ed, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” was purportedly written by a senior official from within the White House and discussed how some members of the administration – including the author – were working “diligently” to save the country from President Trump’s bad decisions and disastrous policies.
“Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of [Trump’s] agenda and his worst inclinations,” it read. “I would know. I am one of them.”
The author also clarified they are not part of the so-called “Resistance” against the commander-in-chief.
“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,” the op-ed continued. “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.”
Towards the end of the piece that detailed the president’s “erratic behavior,” his “impulsiveness” and “repetitive rants,” the anonymous writer also talked about the possibility removing Trump from the office.
“Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over,” they wrote. “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.”
Now, given that the New York Times explained that it knows the identity of the author and refrained from revealing it to protect the said person’s job, there was the usage of one particular word with in the op-ed that led many to believe the culprit behind the article is none other than Trump’s second-in-command, Vice President Mike Pence.
“We may no longer have Senator [John] McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue,” the senior White House official wrote. “Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.”
As many people were quick to point out, Pence has a history of using the term “lodestar.”
I must admist the idea of Pence having to fearfully hide in the closet does give me some sort of karmic pleasure. #lodestar— Jeremy Hooper (@goodasyou) September 6, 2018
Of course, there were receipts:
"Lodestar" just seems like an unusual word to use in general, not to mention in an op-ed that's going to be widely read. It has this whiff of sanctimony. So I search for John Kelly and James Mattis ever having used the word "lodestar." Nothing. But then...— Dan downLODESTAR Bloom (@danbl00m) September 5, 2018
Two more months later (like clockwork,) February 2018. Vice President Mike Pence speaking in Tokyo, alongside Japanese PM Shinzo Abe. Place your bets... another "lodestar." https://t.co/OGIWVf2QxV pic.twitter.com/88vJJfVamM— Dan downLODESTAR Bloom (@danbl00m) September 5, 2018
However, many believe someone used the word deliberately to frame Pence.
Perhaps the person who wrote this anonymous op-ed intentionally used the word #lodestar to put the spotlight on Pence. Perhaps it's someone who hates Pence as much as he hates Trump.— Denise Ingram (@leclemot) September 6, 2018
If that’s the case, here are a few more senior Trump officials who could have written the scathing op-ed.
1. Kellyanne Conway
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway is infamous for her ability to spin tales out of thin air when it comes to defending Trump. However, according to “The Trump White House: Changing the Rules of the Game” author Ronald Kessler, Conway is perhaps the biggest leaker with in the White House.
2. Don McGahn
White House counsel and assistant to the president, Don McGahn, who will be leaving his position in fall is also a possible contender. He has a history of having disagreements with Trump and has reportedly cooperated with special counsel Robert Mueller and could be a potential witness in the ongoing investigation into whether the commander-in-chief obstructed justice.
3. Jeff Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been on the receiving end of Trump’s angry rants and temper tantrums ever since he recused himself from the Mueller probe. Not only has the president publicly insulted Sessions, he has also said he wouldn’t have picked the Alabama Republican for the job had he know he would recuse himself.
So, it won’t be far-fetched to assume Sessions could have written the New York Times op-ed.
4. Paul Ryan
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s relationship with Trump has been off-and-on in terms of how well they treat each other. In the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign, for instance, Trump tweeted out his disappointment in Ryan on several occasions, especially since the speaker had tried to distance himself from the GOP nominee after leaked audio of him confessing to sexual abuse was made public.
Earlier this year, Ryan told the New York Times Magazine Trump frequently called him a “boy scout.” Although the president was using the term in a disparaging way, Ryan said he thought he was being praised.
5. Dan Coats
Despite being the director of national intelligence, Dan Coats doesn’t appear to have much of a say in Trump’s decisions.
For instance, Coats was in the middle of a live interview when he was told about Trump’s decision to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House – and his reaction said it all.
“Say that again,” Coats asked hesitantly after NBC News' Andrea Mitchell broke the news. “Did I hear you, did I hear you?” he added when the host began to repeat her statement, drawing laughter from the crowd.
When Mitchell confirmed Coats had indeed heard her correctly, he responded with, “OK. That's gonna be special.”
6. John Kelly
Rumors of tension between President Donald Trump and Chief of Staff John Kelly have been making rounds for several months. Despite several reports, the White House has denied reports the president is looking for a replacement for Kelly. However, it is important to mention the two have reportedly clashed on prominent issues several times.
To put it honestly, Kelly also doesn’t seem to be a fan of Trump’s penchant for insulting world leaders.
7. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner
Like most people in the list, Trump is reportedly not on good terms with his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, either. As for the president’s eldest daughter and favorite child Ivanka, it might sound a little improbable but she does have a history of disagreeing with her father on core issues – even if she does so in a rather subtle manner.
For instance, she slammed the white supremacists who staged the deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, after her father failed to do so. The senior White House adviser also said she was sad about the Trump administration policy that separated thousands of families on the U.S.-Mexico border earlier this year.
Other honorable mentions include, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis, presidential adviser Fiona Hill and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Yuri Gripas