Senior aides to Donald Trump scrambled on Thursday (September 6) to disown a New York Times column written by an unnamed administration official that slammed the leadership style of the U.S. president as impetuous, petty and ineffective.
The unsigned opinion piece, derided by Trump as “gutless”, drew disavowals from at least 11 top advisers to the president, all of whom denied any responsibility for its authorship.
Trump seethed about the piece and framed it as a jab from critics in denial about his successes, while Washington was consumed with speculation about who wrote it.
“Is it subversion? Is it treason? It’s a horrible thing,” he told supporters during a Rally in Billings, Montana.
Published on Wednesday, the column appeared days after the release of excerpts from a book by famed reporter Bob Woodward that portrayed Trump as prone to impulsive decision-making. The excerpts said aides sometimes tried to limit what they saw as damaging behaviour by disregarding his instructions.
The Times op-ed, and Woodward’s book, which is to be published next week, followed many news articles during Trump’s 19-month presidency that have depicted turbulence inside the White House under his leadership.
The former New York businessman and reality TV star has had an unusually high level of staff turnover and has sometimes publicly criticized his top aides.
The critical spotlight on Trump’s leadership comes two months before elections in which his fellow Republicans will try to hold their majorities in both chambers of Congress. The November vote will be widely seen as a referendum on Trump.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
“The latest act of resistance is the op ed published in the failing New York Times by an anonymous really an ominous gutless, coward, you just look. Nobody knows who the hell he is or she although they put he, but probably that’s a little disguise that means that she, but for the sake of our national security, the New York Times should publish his name at once. I think their reporters should go and investigate who it is that would actually be a good scoop…that would be a good scoop.”
“I mean you look at the Washington Post or The New York Times, I can never get a good story. I mean you look at this horrible thing that took place today it’s really is it subversion? Is it treason? It’s a horrible thing. Even, you know the good thing about that? Even liberals that hate me say that’s terrible what they did. And it is really terrible.”
“This election, you aren’t just voting for a candidate, you’re voting for which party controls Congress, very important thing, very important thing. I don’t even bring it up because I view it as something that, you know, you don’t like to use the Impeach word. Impeach Trump, Maxine Waters… we will impeach him. But he didn’t do anything wrong. It doesn’t matter we will impeach him! We will impeach him, but I say how do you impeach somebody that’s doing a great job, that hasn’t done anything wrong? Our economy is good. How do you do it? How do you do it? How do you do it? We will impeach him! But he’s doing a great job! It doesn’t matter, remember that line. He’s doing a great job. That doesn’t matter. We’ll impeach him.”
“So, I beat all these senators, all these governors, all these brilliant political minds, then I beat the other side and then I listen…Is he competent? I think I’m pretty competent, right? Is he competent?”
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