The anonymous author of a New York Times op-ed piece last month who claimed to be part of a secret resistance to undermine President Donald Trump’s agenda remained anonymous after the White House went on the hunt to identify the writer, according to The Associated Press Friday.
The op-ed piece was the hottest news of the time, helping paint the picture of a staff that tried to protect the country from Trump’s unpredictable impulses, which were also highlighted in Bob Woodward’s book Fear, the news service stated. The book was released at roughly the same time.
The op-ed author, described as a senior administration official of the president, claimed in the New York Times piece that “Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
Business Insider reported that after the op-ed piece was published, White House aides allegedly launched their own mission to unmask the writer.
“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected president of the United States,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary said after the op-ed was published, according to the Wall Street Journal.
“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,” she added.
Trump himself used the word treason in describing the actions of the writer.
“You look at this horrible thing that took place,” Trump said then, per the AP. “Is it subversion, is it treason? It really is terrible.”
Since then, other priorities in the administration have taken higher importance. Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court Brett Kavanaugh became mired in sexual misconduct charges. That led to an additional hearing with one of his accusers, Christine Blasey Ford, and a supplemental background check by the FBI.
Trump has also taken to the road to hold rallies around the country stumping for various Republican candidates ahead of next month’s midterm elections.
White House officials told the AP that White House chief of staff John Kelly, communications director Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a series of closed-door meetings related to a cursory leak search but has turned up nothing.
While Trump has continued to complain about leaks in the White House, officials there have yet to conduct an extensive search for the op-ed culprit, the news service said.