- The White House is doubling down attacks of the anonymous staffer who criticised President Donald Trump in a New York Times op-ed.
- White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the author a “gutless loser” in a Thursday statement.
- The statement included the phone number to the “failing New York Times” for reporters speculating about the writer’s identity to call.
- A number of high-profile administration officials have so far publicly denied writing the piece, which the Times says was written by a “senior official.”
The White House is doubling down on its attacks of the senior official who wrote a scathing anonymous op-ed in the New York Times published Wednesday that described the internal efforts of staffers to contain the impulses of an “adversarial, petty and ineffective” President Donald Trump.
“The media’s wild obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward is tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump. Stop,” press secretary Sarah Sanders wrote in a Thursday statement.
“If you want to know who this gutless loser is, call the failing NYT,” she added, providing the phone number for the opinion desk. “They are the only ones complicit in this deceitful act.”
The new statement follows an initial response from Wednesday in which Sanders called the op-ed “pathetic, reckless, and selfish” and demanded the Times apologise for publishing it.
In the aftermath of the op-ed’s publication, a number of high-level officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions all publicly denied speculation that they wrote the piece when asked by members of the press.
The Times’ opinion editor, Jim Dao, confirmed that he has remained in contact with the op-ed’s author since the piece’s publication on Thursday’s episode of the New York Times podcast “The Daily.”
Trump also referred to the author as “gutless” in a Wednesday tweet in which he called for the Times to “turn over” the staffer to his administration “for national security purposes,” followed by a tweet simply reading “TREASON?” in all caps.
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