Melania Trump has broken her silence about the controversial New York Times op-ed alleging there's a "resistance inside the Trump administration"

By Nick Maslow
September 06, 2018 01:52 PM
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Melania Trump has broken her silence about the controversial New York Times op-ed alleging there’s a “resistance inside” President Donald Trump‘s White House, saying the anonymous alleged senior official who wrote the piece is “sabotaging” the U.S.

“Freedom of speech is an important pillar of our nation’s founding principles and a free press is important to our democracy,” the first lady, 48, says in a statement obtained by PEOPLE on Thursday. “The press should be fair, unbiased and responsible.”

Mrs. Trump continued: “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. 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.”

Supporting her husband’s sentiment about the Times op-ed, Mrs. Trump concluded her statement, “To the writer of the oped — you are not protecting this country, you are sabotaging it with your cowardly actions.”

Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty

In the Times‘ op-ed published Wednesday with the title “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” — the anonymous author claimed that many senior White House officials are secretly working to “thwart” the 72-year-old president’s “misguided impulses” and “worst inclinations” until he is out of office.

The author blasted Mr. 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.

Additionally, the op-ed claimed that concerned cabinet members at first considered invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office but ultimately decided against it because “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.”

“So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over,” the author wrote, later adding: “It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”

President Trump has several theories regarding the identity of the senior administration official.

The president responded to Wednesday’s headline-making Times op-ed on Twitter, claiming the famed publication made up their anonymous author.

“Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?” Mr. Trump wrote.

He went on to say that the author’s identity should be revealed, after first suggesting that if the person were real, he or she would be committing “treason.”

“If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!” President Trump added on Wednesday night.

Earlier, President Trump had addressed the op-ed to reporters at the White House’s East Room. He tweeted partial video of his address.

“This is what we have to deal with. And, you know, the dishonest media — because you people deal with it as well as I do — but it’s really a disgrace,” Mr. Trump said. “When you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who’s failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons — no.”

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“The New York Times is failing,” the former Celebrity Apprentice host added. “If I weren’t here, I believe The New York Times probably wouldn’t even exist. And someday when I’m not president, which hopefully will be about 6½ years from now, The New York Times and CNN and all of these phony outlets will be out of business. Because there will be nothing to write and there will be nothing of interest.”

He continued: “They don’t like Donald Trump and I don’t like them because they are very dishonest people.”

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement calling on the author of the op-ed to resign.

“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States,” Sanders said. “He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”