In September of 2018 the NY Times published an op-ed by a person referring to himself as Anonymous. As I pointed out at the time, Anonymous claimed there was an internal resistance to President Trump which was seen as an alternative to invoking the 25th Amendment. At the time, Anonymous also claimed this resistance wanted the administration to succeed:
The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.
I would know. I am one of them.
To be clear, ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous…
Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But 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.
Today, the Times reports Anonymous has outed himself. He is Miles Taylor a former DHS official:
Mr. Taylor was also the anonymous author of “A Warning,” a book he wrote the following year that described the president as an “undisciplined” and “amoral” leader whose abuse of power threatened the foundations of American democracy. He acknowledged that he was the author of both the book and the opinion article in an interview and in a three-page statement he intended to post online.
Mr. Taylor resigned from the Department of Homeland Security in June 2019, and went public with his criticism of Mr. Trump this past summer. He released a video just before the start of the Republican National Convention declaring that the president was unfit for office and endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee.
I know what you’re thinking. Who?
Oh I guess it is true? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. That is so bleeping BEAUTIFUL I can't possibly be more thankful. I love this so much. The person that the NYT strongly insinuated was, like, the VP or WH Chief of Staff, or Cabinet Member was literally "Miles Taylor." HA HA HA
— Mollie (@MZHemingway) October 28, 2020
Should the NY Times have granted this guy an anonymous platform in the first place?
Miles Taylor is living Dwight Schrute's personal dream: he got the NY Times to describe him as a "senior administration official" rather than "assistant to the regional manager," which is more or less what he was as a mid-level functionary with zero policymaking power.
— Jeff B., who on earth is this guy?? (@EsotericCD) October 28, 2020
Should the NYT have granted anonymity as a “senior administration official” to minor DHS bureaucrat Miles Taylor? I’d say no in retrospect. Granted him a stature to attack the president that was totally unwarranted
— HowardKurtz (@HowardKurtz) October 28, 2020
Don’t let @nytimes off the hook. They purposefully misled the country into thinking a notable senior Trump admin official was plotting against him when in fact it was an unknown Obama donor, Miles Taylor, from DHS. They knew what they were doing and it’s not journalism.
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) October 28, 2020
You have got to be kidding me. Miles Taylor? That’s who the New York Times granted an anonymous editorial article? I’ve seen more exciting reveals in Scooby-Doo episodes.
What a monumental embarrassment.
— Mark Meadows (@MarkMeadows) October 28, 2020
Even Joe Scarborough is having trouble with this:
I thank Mr Taylor for his critique but question the @nytimes granting him such an anonymous elevated status. It was misleading to readers.
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) October 28, 2020
Taylor has now published a link to his own statement on Medium about why he is no longer anonymous:
I witnessed Trump’s inability to do his job over the course of two-and-a-half years. Everyone saw it, though most were hesitant to speak up for fear of reprisals.
So when I left the Administration I wrote A Warning, a character study of the current Commander in Chief and a caution to voters that it wasn’t as bad as it looked inside the Trump Administration — it was worse. While I claim sole authorship of the work, the sentiments expressed within it were widely held among officials at the highest levels of the federal government. In other words, Trump’s own lieutenants were alarmed by his instability.
Much has been made of the fact that these writings were published anonymously. The decision wasn’t easy, I wrestled with it, and I understand why some people consider it questionable to levy such serious charges against a sitting President under the cover of anonymity. But my reasoning was straightforward, and I stand by it. Issuing my critiques without attribution forced the President to answer them directly on their merits or not at all, rather than creating distractions through petty insults and name-calling.
That’s one way to justify it. Another is that he undermined the White House from within while refusing to speak on the record to avoid a) losing his job and b) taking responsibility for what he was saying.
After an endorsement of Joe Biden, the piece ends with Anonymous/Taylor lamenting the partisan divide in America. He doesn’t seem to hold himself responsible for fanning those flames.
Removing Trump will not be the end of our woes, unfortunately. While on the road visiting swing states for the past month, it’s become clear to me how far apart Americans have grown from one another. We’ve perpetuated the seemingly endless hostility stoked by this divisive President, so if we really want to restore vibrance to our civic life, the change must begin with each of us, not just with the occupant of the Oval Office.
Taylor eventually left his DHS job last year and on August 17 the Washington Post published an opinion piece he’d written under his own name. In response, President Trump criticized him on Twitter:
Here was Taylor’s response:
Alas, I’ll take the bait. Haven’t forgotten you though! I guess the only way to prove it is to tell some stories. Maybe until the election. What do you think? https://t.co/2dJhaLFNlN pic.twitter.com/m3msUsDJyZ
— Miles Taylor (@MilesTaylorUSA) August 18, 2020
A few days later Taylor was asked directly by CNN’s Anderson Cooper if he was Anonymous. Taylor denied it saying, “I wear a mask for two things, Anderson, Halloweens and pandemics. So no.”
“I wear a mask for two things, Anderson: Halloween and pandemics. So, no,” says @MilesTaylorUSA, when asked by @AndersonCooper if he is the author of the op-ed book written by someone called Anonymous. pic.twitter.com/sPjs4OoAnp
— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) August 21, 2020
Taylor also lied to Vice when asked the same question:
— Elizabeth Landers (@ElizLanders) October 28, 2020
After this, Taylor endorsed Joe Biden and was part of a group called “Republican Voters Against Trump” which was founded by Bill Kristol. Taylor has continued to appear on CNN since then. Any consequences for lying to CNN anchors and viewers on the air?
So on August 21 Miles Taylor appeared on CNN and lied when asked whether he was 'Anonymous.' Then, on September 9, CNN hired Taylor as a contributor, presumably unaware that he had lied on their air. Consequences?
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 28, 2020
So will this make Taylor more or less of a resistance hero? At best I’d say the jury is out.
Miles Taylor was a critical part of the team that decided to separated thousands of migrant kids from their parents, resulting in lifelong psychological trauma. He would like you to believe otherwise.
— Jacob Soboroff (@jacobsoboroff) October 28, 2020
Miles Taylor complained in writing about Trump’s anti-immigrant policies. But he worked as the @DHSgov secretary’s chief of staff as she helped launch family separation. Now, he wants us all to douse him in holy water. Other Trump officials will want the same. Don’t fall for it.
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) October 28, 2020
So Miles Taylor is the anonymous white guy who knows how to cash in on both sides in our booming media grifter economy.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) October 28, 2020
Yashar Ali had a tweet about him not being a hero to either side but it seems he has deleted it.
Update: CNN has decided that lying by its own contributor is not a problem.
A CNN spox just told me that Miles Taylor will remain a contributor despite lying to Anderson Cooper. CNN cannot have it both ways — slamming Trump for his lies, yet condoning a very big and blatant one by its own contributor.
— ErikWemple (@ErikWemple) October 28, 2020