WASHINGTON (AP) – An opinion piece in The New York Times by an anonymous senior administration official claiming to be part of a “resistance” working “from within” to thwart President Donald Trump’s “worst inclinations” has set off a wild guessing game on the author’s identity.
In an extraordinary move, Trump tweeted Wednesday that if “the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
White House officials didn’t immediately respond to a request to elaborate on Trump’s call for the writer to be turned over to the government.
Two people familiar with the matter say Trump has demanded that aides identify the leaker. The two were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has denied writing the piece.
Pompeo spoke to reporters after a Thursday meeting in New Delhi with top Indian officials and said, “It’s not mine.”
He says “It shouldn’t surprise anyone” that the New York Times chose to print “such a piece.” He says if the piece actually was written by a top U.S. official “they should not well have chosen to take a disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor’s word for anything.”
Pompeo accuses the media of trying to undermine the Trump administration and says he finds it “incredibly disturbing.”
The Times says publishing the essay anonymously is “the only way to deliver an important perspective” to its readers.