WASHINGTON — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted out a message on Thursday urging those who want to know the identity of the “gutless coward” who wrote a scathing anonymous New York Times op-ed about President Donald Trump to call the publication’s opinion desk. Her message included the Times’ phone number.
“For those of you asking for the identity of the anonymous coward,” Sanders said, along with a note.
The message called the Times “complicit in this deceitful act.”
Washington has been in a guessing game over the identity of the author of the op-ed, and several Trump administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, have issued denials.
The author wrote that there was a resistance working within the administration to thwart the president’s worst impulses. The author said, “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.”
Hours after the op-ed was posted to the Times website, Trump condemned it and said the publication “must” identify the author for “national security purposes.” The person was identified only as a “senior administration official,” although a tweet about the story used the pronoun “he.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that “if you’re not interested in helping the president, you shouldn’t work for the president as far as I’m concerned.”
Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader, said that “the president saying it is treason is a manifestation of his instability.”
“It probably won’t take long for us to find out who wrote it. Who has denied it already? The Vice President, that was my first thought,” she added. “By the process of elimination, it will probably come down to the butler, who probably has the most knowledge of the presidents in the White House. But it is a sad statement.”