"Many of the senior officials in [Trump's] administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations. I would know. I am one of them," says the writer. Trump responded with one word, "TREASON?"
Many senior officials in US President Donald Trump's administration have been working from within to frustrate parts of his agenda to protect the country from his worst impulses, an anonymous Trump official wrote in an opinion column published by the New York Times on Wednesday.
The op-ed titled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration" claimed the president's own staff see him as a danger to the nation.
"The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making."
TRT World's Christine Pirovolakis has more.
In the piece, the official described "early whispers" among members of Trump's cabinet to take steps to remove him as president, but added they decided against it to avoid a constitutional crisis.
Trump responded, saying it was a "gutless editorial" and "really a disgrace," and his press secretary called on the official to resign.
In the article, the official stressed they were committed to the Republican agenda and did not side with opposition Democrats.
But, the official wrote, "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."
"Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations," the official wrote.
"I would know. I am one of them."
"It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room," the author wrote.
The Failing New York Times! pic.twitter.com/SHsXvYKpBf— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
Asked about the column during a White House event, Trump called it a "gutless editorial," bashed the New York Times as "failing," and ticked off economic achievements that he said were proof of his leadership.
Staring into the cameras, he said: "Nobody is going to come close to beating me in 2020 because of what we've done."
TREASON?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
In another tweet, he said: "If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!"
Lionel Donovan spoke to TRT World about how long it might take lawmakers to take a serious look at all the accounts of dysfunction in the White House.
First came the 'Post,' then came the 'Times'
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the author had chosen to "deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States." She also accused the individual of putting himself or herself ahead of the will of the American people.
Sanders also says the Times should apologise for publishing it.
The Times took what it called the rare step of publishing an opinion column by the official under an agreement to keep the author's name secret. It said the senior administration official's job would be jeopardised by its disclosure.
"We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers," it wrote.
The article further fuelled accusations by critics that Trump was unstable and unfit for the presidency, and seemed 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.
There was an immediate guessing game in Washington about who wrote the article and whether it came from someone within the White House or in another government agency.
The opinion piece followed publication on Tuesday of the first excerpts from a book by famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward describing chaos in the White House.
Woodward reported that Defense Secretary James Mattis rejected a recommendation from Trump for the US military to kill Syrian leader Bashar al Assad, according to excerpts published by the Washington Post.
Mattis dismissed the book as "a uniquely Washington brand of literature," and Trump has called it "total fiction."
In the Times piece, the official wrote: "Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president.
"But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until – one way or another – it’s over," the author added.
Under the 25th Amendment, adopted in 1967, the vice president and a majority of either cabinet officials or "such other body as Congress may by law provide" may declare in writing that the president "is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."
It has never been used to strip a president from power and would be a complicated process.
"We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous," the writer said. "But 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."