In a shocking new op-ed for The New York Times, an anonymous author claiming to be a senior Trump administration official asserts that there’s a resistance movement against President Donald Trump from within his own White House.
In the essay, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” the author claims that many senior White House officials are secretly working to “thwart” the president’s “misguided impulses” and “worst inclinations” until he is out of office.
The author blasted Trump’s “amorality” and “anti-democratic” impulses, 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.
The White House did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
The president addressed the op-ed at an event in the East Room on Wednesday, saying, “He’s part of the resistance within the Trump administration. 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.”
“When you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who’s failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons — no,” Trump continued. “And The New York Times is failing. 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 in about six and a half years from now, The New York Times and CNN and all these phony media outlets will be out of business, folks. They’ll be out of business because there will be nothing to write and nothing of interest.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also 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.”
Earlier, NBC’s Peter Alexander said Sanders had no initial comment on the op-ed and wouldn’t say whether Trump had been briefed.
The op-ed said the dissenting officials do not align themselves with the “popular ‘resistance’ of the left” because they “want the administration to succeed.”
“But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic,” the author wrote.
“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality,” the author continued. “Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.”
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The op-ed also said that concerned cabinet members at first considered invoking the 25th Amendment to remove 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 said, 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.”
In a note attached to the op-ed, the Times said that it knew the author’s identity but agreed to publish the essay anonymously so as not to jeopardized the official’s job.