WASHINGTON — The New York Times took the highly unusual step Wednesday of publishing an op-ed by an anonymous senior official who wrote that "many of the senior officials in his own administration" are working against President Donald Trump from within "to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."
The administration official also confirmed reports that there were once internal Cabinet discussions about removing Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment, but said in The Times that now "we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it's over."
The Times explained in a note to readers why it published an anonymous op-ed article.
"We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure," The Times said. "We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers."
The senior administration official explained in the op-ed article how administration officials had derailed Trump's instincts when he didn't want to sanction Russia.
"This isn't the work of the so-called deep state," the author wrote. "It's the work of the steady state."
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Trump himself quickly attacked The Times.
The author of op-ed, he told reporters Wednesday afternoon at a White House event, is someone "probably who is failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons."
"An anonymous editorial. Do you believe it? Gutless editorial," the president said.
"I'm not president, which hopefully will be in about six and a half years from now, The New York Times and CNN and all of these phony media outlets will be out of business, folks," he added. "They'll be out of business because they'll be nothing to write and nothing of interest. So nobody has done what this administration has done. I agree, it's different from an agenda which is much different than ours and it's certainly not your agenda, that I can tell you."
Later, the president tweeted one word in all caps: "TREASON?"
Soon after, he questioned the report. "Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?" he tweeted. "If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!"
In the op-ed, the senior official said that administration officials were acting against Trump out of their patriotic duty.
"It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room," the official wrote. "We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won't."
The official suggested why things have been troubled in the White House.
"The root of the problem is the president's amorality," the official wrote. "Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders called on whoever wrote the op-ed to resign.
"We are disappointed, but not surprised, that the paper chose to publish this pathetic, reckless, and selfish op-ed," Sanders said in a written statement. "This is a new low for the so-called 'paper of record,' and it should issue an apology, just as it did after the election for its disastrous coverage of the Trump campaign. This is just another example of the liberal media’s concerted effort to discredit the President.
"The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States," Sanders added. "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."