US President Donald Trump’s Vice-President and Secretary of State have both said they did not write an anonymous column in the New York Times, which asserted that many senior officials are part of “a quiet resistance” within the administration.
- Mike Pompeo said the op-ed was the work of a “disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor”
- A spokesman for Mike Pence said it was “gutless”
- The article said senior officials have been working to frustrate parts of Mr Trump’s agenda
The opinion column, published on Wednesday (local time), prompted the Republican President to blast the anonymous writer and the news outlet, and further fuelled accusations by critics that Mr Trump was unstable and unfit for the presidency.
Many senior officials in the administration have been working from within to frustrate parts of his agenda to protect the country from his worst impulses, the anonymous Trump administration official wrote.
The op-ed sparked a guessing game in Washington about whether the author worked within the White House or a government agency, and raised questions of whether other officials may come forward, step down or be fired.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who previously served as Mr Trump’s CIA director, said he was not the author and slammed the Times for publishing the piece.
“It’s not mine,” Mr Pompeo told reporters during a trip to New Delhi, India.
“If it’s accurate … they should not well have chosen to take a disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor’s word for anything and put it in their newspaper.”
Writing on Twitter, a spokesman for US Vice-President Mike Pence’s office also criticised the Times and said Mr Pence did not write anonymous opinion columns.
Jarrod Agen tweets: “The VP puts his name on his op-eds… the nytimes should be ashamed”
Mr Trump called the anonymous writer “gutless” and raised the spectre of treason, and urged the Times to identify the person to the Government for national security purposes.
Donald Trump tweets: “The deep state and the left and their vehicle the fake news media are going crazy…”
“I’m draining the Swamp, and the Swamp is trying to fight back. Don’t worry, we will win,” he tweeted earlier.
The anonymous official wrote: “Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment,” but decided against it to avoid a constitutional crisis.
The comment is likely to resurrect talk among some Democrats about potentially impeaching the president should they take control of the US House of Representatives in November elections.
The Times said it kept the author’s name secret because the official’s job would be jeopardised by its disclosure, calling it a rare step.