First lady Melania Trump fired back at the anonymous source that stunned the White House with an unsigned op-ed on Wednesday in The New York Times — mincing no words in her takedown of both the nature of the op-ed and its unknown author.
“Freedom of speech is an important pillar of our nation’s founding principles and a free press is important to our democracy. The press should be fair, unbiased and responsible,” she told CNN in a statement on Thursday. “To the writer of the op-ed — you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions.”
“Unidentified sources have become the majority of the voices people hear about in today’s news. People with no names are writing our nation’s history. Words are important, and accusations can lead to severe consequences,” she added.
She also said, “If a person is bold enough to accuse people of negative actions, they have a responsibility to publicly stand by their words and people have the right to be able to defend themselves.”
The op-ed author was identified as a “senior Trump administration official” who says he or she is part of an internal “resistance” working quietly to thwart parts of Trump’s agenda — expressing doubts about President Donald Trump’s fitness to lead, along with concerns over his “erratic” governing style.
Some theorized that Vice President Mike Pence might be the op-ed’s author, but Pence senior staffer Jarrod Agen slapped that idea down in blunt terms, blasting The New York Times for even publishing the piece in the first place.
“The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds,” Agen tweeted. “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.”
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.
— Jarrod Agen (@VPComDir) September 6, 2018
Terming the op-ed “gutless,” Trump said on Wednesday, “We have somebody in what I call ‘the failing New York Times’ that’s talking about he’s part of the resistance inside the Trump administration. This is what we have to deal with. And you know the dishonest media … But it’s really a disgrace.”
Related: 10 Outrageous Claims in Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed — You Have to See This
The president also tweeted Thursday, “Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”
Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
See Trump’s remarks in the video below.