'Anonymous' White House author comes forward

What's surprising is that "Anonymous" turned out to be someone we already recognized as a notable Trump detractor from within the administration.
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Storm clouds gather above the White House on April 9, 2020.Oliver Contreras / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

On Sept. 5, 2018, the New York Times published an extraordinarily unusual op-ed. It was written by someone identified only as "a senior official in the Trump administration," and while the newspaper explained to readers that its editors were aware of the author's identity, they decided to publish the piece anonymously in order to "deliver an important perspective."

And as we discussed at the time, it was quite a perspective. The unnamed author explained in the piece that he was one of "many" in the Trump administration who were "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of [the president's] agenda and his worst inclinations." He characterized Donald Trump as an ignorant and erratic leader, unfit for leadership, whose decisions needed to be contained and curtailed by those around him.

Trump World did not take this well. The White House entered "total meltdown" mode and officials launched a "frantic hunt" to identify the author. The president sought a Justice Department investigation, before arguing that the New York Times may have written its own op-ed, essentially perpetrating an elaborate fraud, in order to malign him.

That wasn't true. In fact, today, the mystery was resolved.

Miles Taylor, the former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff who stepped forward in August to blast President Donald Trump's leadership, said Wednesday he's "Anonymous," the senior administration official who wrote a scathing op-ed and book about the Trump White House.

Taylor explained his perspective in a rather lengthy Medium post, published this afternoon.

A lot of people love a mystery, so it's understandable that there was ample speculation about who "Anonymous" might be. What's surprising is that it turned out to be someone we already recognized as a notable Trump detractor from within the administration.

Indeed, if Miles Taylor's name sounds familiar, it's not your imagination: a Republican political appointee who served as chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Taylor wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in August, explaining that he can attest with first-hand knowledge that the United States is "less secure as a direct result" of Donald Trump's actions.

The op-ed coincided with the release of a video from Republican Voters Against Trump, in which Miles reflected on personally witnessing the president's corruption and ineptitude.

"A lot of times the things he wanted to do not only were impossible, but in many cases, illegal," he said at the time. "He didn't want us to tell him it was illegal anymore because he knew, and these were his words, he knew that he had 'magical' authorities.... What we saw week in and week out, for me, after two and a half years in that administration, was terrifying. We would go in to try to talk to him about a pressing national security issue -- cyberattack, terrorism threat -- he wasn't interested in those things. To him, they weren't priorities."

What we didn't know at the time is that we'd already seen Miles' concerns, just under a pseudonym.