The Trump administration isn't as loyal to the president as he would like to believe. (Image via The Daily Herald)

The Search for the New York Times Op-Ed Author Has Become a Witch Hunt

Place your bets — could the op-ed author be either Vice President Mike Pence or first lady Melania Trump?

Thoughts x

Place your bets — could the op-ed author be either Vice President Mike Pence or first lady Melania Trump?

This article isn’t so anonymous. My name is right up there in the byline. But you’ve probably heard of an op-ed whose writer wanted to remain just a bit more hidden from the public.

A few days ago, the New York Times published an opinion piece titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”

In the piece, an anonymous conservative senior official details their ongoing plan with others in the White House to quietly subvert some of Trump’s more damaging and controversial policies. The content itself, though, isn’t so groundbreaking; there have been more than a few hints over the past several months that some officials are taking actions such as these.

The author, in one section of the op-ed, said, “The dilemma — which [the president] does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

“I would know,” the author continued. “I am one of them. To be clear, ours is not the popular ‘resistance’ of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.

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. That is why 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.”

Content aside, what’s really shocking about the whole affair is the fact that the Times decided to publish the piece anonymously, a move that is extremely rare for the publication.

However, it’s the question of the author that most people seem fixated on. A witch hunt of sorts has been started by the president himself, who called the writer “gutless” and a “coward” and said, “It’s very unfair to our country and to the millions of people that voted really [sic] for us.”

Many close to Trump have vehemently denied penning the op-ed and have joined him on his obsessive search to uncover the person behind it.

Politicians and readers alike have called upon the Times to reveal the author, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“The media’s wild obsession with the identity of the anonymous coward is recklessly tarnishing the reputation of thousands of great Americans who proudly serve our country and work for President Trump,” she wrote, posting her message in the form of an image on Twitter.

“Stop. If you want to know who this gutless loser is, call the opinion desk of the failing [Times] at 212-556-1234, and ask them. They are the only ones complicit in this deceitful act. We stand united together and fully support our President Donald J. Trump.”

Although many are claiming that it’s unwarranted and unfair for the Times to keep the source a secret, it doesn’t seem like the paper is willing to come clean any time soon.

“It is difficult to imagine a situation where The Times could be forced to disclose the author’s identity,” wrote Jim Dao in a Q&A with the Times.

“The First Amendment clearly protects the author’s right to publish an essay criticizing the president, and absolutely nothing in the Op-Ed involves criminal behavior. We intend to do everything in our power to protect the identity of the writer and have great confidence that the government cannot legally force us to reveal it.”

But with the whole country demanding answers, it seems to me like everyone could have a name by the end of the week.

Writer Profile

Cameron Andersen

New York University
Cultural Anthropology and Gender & Sexuality

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