In an opinion-editorial published by the New York Times Friday, Republican House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy lambasted the anonymous senior White House official subverting President Trump’s America First agenda, demanding the saboteur be “exposed and fired.”
McCarthy’s piece is a direct response to the author of an anonymous op-ed released by Times, who claims to be “working diligently from within” to blunt President Trump’s “worst inclinations,” as a member of the “resistance.”
The alleged official claimed, “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.”
“We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous,” the senior White House official wrote, adding, “the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic.”
In his own piece, McCarthy describes the anonymous op-ed as “shocking,” albeit unsurprising as a “permanent political class” desperately attempts to regain its waning power in the Trump era. “He should be exposed and fired,” the top Republican wrote of the author. “But we cannot be shocked to learn that this is going on. It has been clear for many years that there is a permanent political class in Washington that believes that it has a divine right to rule the American people. You could even call it a Deep State.”
He then chided the “political class” for claiming to support democracy, while assiduously working against a democratically-elected president and the will of millions who voted for new, bold leadership. “Donald Trump was elected because he promised to secure our borders, renegotiate trade deals to benefit American workers and rebuild our military. Adversaries like China can only be strengthened in trade discussions if they believe that some of our officials are undermining the American negotiating position.”
McCarthy predicted the op-ed’s publication will have far-reaching consequences, blaming the Times for sowing further public distrust of the news media. “It was this very feeling of distrust that led to Mr. Trump’s election in the first place,” the lawmaker writes.
“Whatever else the anonymous essay accomplishes, its ultimate effect will be to erode the legitimate authority of the president, in this and subsequent administrations,” the Republican House Majority concluded. “That is the real tragedy of this story. The government official who wrote this essay seems to believe he is preventing a constitutional crisis. In reality, he may be provoking one.”
Aboard Air Force One Friday, President Trump called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate who authored the anonymous op-ed. “I think it’s national security — I would say Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it’s national security,” the president said of the matter.
In an interview with Fox & Friends, President Trump criticized the New York Times for publishing the essay, suggesting it was an act of treason. “It’s treason, you could call it a lot of things,” he said. “What’s unfair, I don’t mind when they write a book and they make lies because it gets discredited,” later adding “[W]hen somebody writes and you can’t discredit because you have no idea who they are.”
Releasing a statement shortly after the op-ed’s released, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called on the official to “do the right thing and resign” from his or her post. “The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States. He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign,” Sanders said in a statement.
Speculation is swirling over the op-ed’s author, with top Trump administration officials — ranging from Vice President Mike Pence to Defense Secretary James Mattis — have issued statements denying their involvement.