Trump Unleashes New Attack on Book Critical of His Presidency

Andrew Harrer-Pool  Getty Images FILE

Andrew Harrer-Pool Getty Images FILE

On Wednesday, The New York Times published an op-ed from an anonymous senior Trump administration official who argued that the president's actions are "detrimental" to the health of the nation.

Amid intense speculation on who the mystery author is, on Thursday four top White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, said they were not the author and slammed the Times for publishing it.

Her statement addressed the anonymous writer of the New York Times op-ed directly: "You are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions".

"I will say that it has not been our practice to do anonymous op-eds for the reason that kind of goes along the lines of.if you are making an argument, you should have the wherewithal and the belief in putting your name to that argument", Marcus said".

Trump has spoken and written about the piece several times since its publication Wednesday.

The former NY businessman and reality TV star has had an unusually high level of staff turnover and has sometimes publicly criticized his top aides. They argued that the op-ed underscored the president's assessment that the establishment is seeking to block his agenda with tactics that do not appeal to average voters.

"We have a president who's there, but he is not capable of doing the job or living up to the responsibilities".

It was Trump's latest broadside against author Bob Woodward's new book, Fear: Trump in the White House, excerpts of which first appeared Tuesday, with countless anecdotes painting Trump as dangerously ignorant of world affairs and his White House devastatingly beset by internal feuds.

As Newsweek suggested, the senior official references "we" in the context of "Trump appointees", suggesting the author could be a cabinet member. Vice President Mike Pence's office said it was "above such amateur acts".

Under its editorial guidelines, the Washington Post - the Times' chief rival and perhaps one of the only other newspapers that could have landed the anonymous official's op-ed - might well have passed. "It's not clear to us anyway that it's someone in the White House".

Dao would not expand on the definition of "senior official" and said only a "very small number" of people at the New York Times knows the author's identity. "I am into fiction like General Mattis, so maybe I'll take a look at this one".

Mattis' spokeswoman Dana White offered a similar denial: "It was not the secretary's op-ed", she said in an email.

They claimed that early on in the presidency there was talk of trying to remove the president by invoking the 25th Amendment, but that this was dismissed as potentially triggering a constitutional crisis.

President Donald Trump prepares to sign three Executive Orders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Jan. 23, 2017.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement in which she described the piece as "a new low for the so-called paper of record'".

"We fully recognize what is happening", the anonymous author said.

Sanders tweeted that the media's "wild obsession" with the identity is "recklessly tarnishing" the reputation of thousands of "great Americans".

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