An anonymously authored New York Times op-ed criticizing President Donald Trump is “the intersection of arrogance and ignorance,” according to senior counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway.
Allegedly written by a “senior administration official” claiming to be “working diligently” from within the Trump administration to “frustrate” some of the chief executive aims and tendencies, the op-ed prompted Conway to ask host Chuck Todd on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” why “are we imbuing credibility and authority to somebody who hasn’t earned it?”
She described the anonymous author as “an anti-Trump messenger.”
Conway particularly challenged one assertion in the op-ed — which was titled “I Am Part of the Resistance inside the Trump Administration” — that declared the administration’s successes have come “despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty, and ineffective.”
Conway also appeared Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” telling host Jake Tapper she has no idea who may be on a now-narrowed list of people who might have penned the op-ed.
In a series of tweeted responses Thursday and Friday, President Trump described the op-eds writer as, if not “another phony source” of the “Failing New York Times,” as “gutless,” and he suggested that its content could constitute “treason.”
Trump also claimed the Times “must, for national security purposes, turn him/her over to the government at once.”
Conway described the op-ed writer as “motivated by conceit and deceit” on CNN’s “State of the Union.” She added a prediction, in her interview on “Meet the Press,” that ultimately the op-ed writer will be revealed.
“And that person is going to suss out himself or herself because cowards, like criminals, always tell the wrong person. They always confess their crime to the wrong person.”
Conway included a cautionary note for the president in her interview with Todd.
“I think the president should have real concerns about having large meetings where sometimes there are people included or who are substituted for other people that maybe he doesn’t know well,” she said.
Conway pointed out, when Todd asked her why the president called the op-ed treason, that the anonymous writer could be someone who has access to national security information, a point she also echoed in her interview with Tapper.
“How do we know they haven’t promised other things?” Conway asked Todd, noting that it might be a mistake to take the four corners of the op-ed as the sum total of what its anonymous writer is willing to offer from a privileged vantage point within the administration.
“How do we know they’re not taking other documents?” she added.
“Nobody’s investigating an op-ed,” said Conway in response to Todd’s question about whether Trump had ordered an investigation.
She then quickly declined to answer whether the president had ordered an investigation of the op-ed writer. She added that the president had already said “he thinks that we should find out who this person is.”
In a Saturday interview with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the former chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Committee, expressed doubt that the op-ed was written by anybody in the federal government.
“I have my doubts. But you can see with each of the Cabinet members’ making it very clear it wasn’t them. We have a long way to go to make it clear it wasn’t anyone at a high level, but it could be a person in what we could say ‘the New York Times’ has made the deep state,” Issa told Pirro.
Conway told Todd that she did not try to stop the president from speaking to Bob Woodward when he was preparing his latest book, which was coincidentally released almost simultaneously with the op-ed.
Woodward’s book — “Fear: Trump in the White House” — presents an image of Trump’s administration in continuous turmoil, marked by disorganization and unpredictability. The veteran Washington Post journalist told CBS Morning News Sunday that “you look at the operation of this White House and you have to say, ‘Let’s hope to God we don’t have a crisis.’”
“I brought the request back, and it was rejected,” Conway told NBC’s Chuck Todd Sunday on “Meet the Press,” clarifying that she did not bring the request directly to the president.
Trump described the book as “boring” and “total fiction.”
He also suggested it created a picture of him that was the “exact opposite of fact,” and asked why Washington politicians didn’t change libel laws.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.