US Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been forced to deny they are the authors of an anonymous column asserting there is “a quiet resistance” against President Donald Trump.
The column, published in the New York Times on Thursday (AEST) claimed many senior officials in the Trump administration had been working from within to frustrate parts of the President’s agenda to protect the country from his worst impulses, the anonymous Trump aide wrote.
The column has prompted a furious response from Mr Trump, who on Friday morning (AEST) tweeted that: “The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do.”
Its publication also sparked a guessing game in Washington about whether the author worked within the White House or a government agency, and raised questions of whether other officials may come forward, step down or be fired.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who previously served as Mr Trump’s CIA director, said he was not the author and slammed the NYT for publishing the piece.
“It’s not mine,” Mr Pompeo told reporters during a trip to New Delhi, India.
“If it’s accurate … they should not well have chosen to take a disgruntled, deceptive, bad actor’s word for anything and put it in their newspaper.”
A spokesman for US Vice President Mike Pence’s office also criticised the NYT and said Mr Pence does not write anonymous opinion columns.
“The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds. The nytimes should be ashamed and so should the person who wrote the false, illogical, and gutless op-ed. Our office is above such amateur acts,” spokesman Jarrod Agen said on Twitter.
Mr Trump on Thursday called the anonymous writer “gutless” and raised the spectre of treason, and urged the NYT to identify the person to the government for national security purposes.
“I’m draining the Swamp, and the Swamp is trying to fight back. Don’t worry, we will win!” he said earlier on Twitter.
In the NYT column. the anonymous official wrote: “Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the Cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment,” but decided against it to avoid a constitutional crisis.
The comment is 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.
The NYT said it kept the author’s name secret because the official’s job would be jeopardised by its disclosure, calling it a rare step.