From Vice President Mike Pence to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a list of officials who said they didn't write the scathing, anonymous New York Times op-ed

By Maura Hohman
September 06, 2018 05:53 PM
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Credit: CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 20: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands with Republican vice presidential candidate Mike Pence and acknowledge the crowd on the third day of the Republican National Convention on July 20, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

As an explosive New York Times op-ed about President Donald Trump dominates the headlines, senior officials in the White House are denying on the record that they have any connection to the piece, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration.”

In the essay, an anonymous author claiming to be a senior official within the Trump administration asserted that top White House officials are secretly working to “thwart” the president’s “misguided impulses” and “worst inclinations.” The author also blasted Trump’s “amorality” and “anti-democratic” actions, and accused the president of attacking conservative ideals including “free minds, free markets and free people.”

“Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back,” the author wrote.

As speculation around the author’s identity continues to build — with even the president unsure of how to respond to the essay — here are the members of the president’s cabinet who, according to NBC News, have said they did not write the Times op-ed.

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE:

Some have pointed to Pence’s affinity for the archaic word “lodestar”, which is used in the op-ed, as a clue that he’s the culprit. But the vice president’s office “definitively denies” that he was the author, and his communications director tweeted that “the Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds.”

SECRETARY OF STATE MIKE POMPEO:

Pompeo said, “It’s not mine” and chastised The Times for taking “a disgruntled deceptive bad actor’s word for anything and put it in their newspaper.”

DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DAN COATS:

“Speculation that The New York Times op-ed was written by me or my Principal Deputy is patently false. We did not,” he said in a statement.

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY KIRSTJEN NIELSEN:

“Secretary Nielsen is focused on leading the men and women of DHS and protecting the homeland – not writing anonymous and false opinion pieces for the New York Times,” the agency’s press secretary, Tyler Q. Houlton, said in a statement.

DEFENSE SECRETARY JAMES MATTIS:

“It was not his op-ed,” chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White said.

DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET MICK MULVANEY:

“No, Dir. Mulvaney is not the author,” a spokesperson for Mulvaney told NBC News.

DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY BEN CARSON:

“The Secretary didn’t write the op-ed,” a spokesperson for Carson told NBC News.

TREASURY SECRETARY STEVE MNUCHIN:

“It is laughable to think this could come from the Secretary,” Tony Sayegh Jr., a spokesman for Mnuchin, tweeted.

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS SECRETARY ROBERT WILKIE:

“Neither Secretary Wilkie nor anyone else at VA wrote the op-ed,” an agency spokesperson told NBC News.

LABOR SECRETARY ALEX ACOSTA:

“The Secretary does not play these sophomoric Washington games. He is definitively not the author,” a department spokesperson told NBC News.

CIA DIRECTOR GINA HASPEL:

“No!” Haspel’s press secretary Tim Barrett said.

COUNSELOR TO THE PRESIDENT KELLYANNE CONWAY:

“Of course not,” Conway told NBC News.

EPA ACTING ADMINISTRATOR ANDREW WHEELER:

“Acting Administrator Wheeler supports President Trump 100 percent and is honored to serve in his Cabinet. He also believes whoever wrote the op-ed should resign,” an EPA spokesperson told NBC News.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY SONNY PERDUE:

“No, Secretary Perdue did not write the op-ed,” a department spokesperson told NBC News.

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION ADMINISTRATOR LINDA MCMAHON:

“Administrator McMahon is not the author,” an agency spokesperson told NBC News.

ENERGY SECRETARY RICK PERRY:

“I am not the author of the New York Times OpEd, nor do I agree with its characterizations,” Perry tweeted.

SECRETARY OF COMMERCE WILBUR ROSS:

“I did not write and am thoroughly appalled by this op-ed,” Ross tweeted.

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WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL DON MCGAHN:

McGahn told reporters, “no,” when they asked if he was the author.

TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY ELAINE CHAO

“For those who have inquired, this is to confirm that Secretary Chao is not the author of the op-ed,” a spokesperson told NBC News.

U.S. AMBASSADOR TO RUSSIA JON HUNTSMAN

“When you’re serving as the U.S. envoy in Moscow, you’re an easy target on all sides. Anything sent out by me would have carried my name. An early political lesson I learned: never send an anonymous op-ed,” Huntsman said, via a statement tweeted by a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Moscow.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY ALEX AZAR

“No, Secretary Azar did not write the op-ed,” an agency spokesperson told NBC News.

U.S. TRADE REPRESENTATIVE ROBERT LIGHTHIZER

“I did not write it. It does not reflect my views at all, and it does not reflect the views of anyone I know in the Administration,” he said via a statement to NBC News.