The New York Times published an anonymous Op-Ed article by an administration official on Wednesday that called U.S President Donald Trump ‘erratic’. The article stated that there was a ‘quiet resistance’ among the cabinet members who had whispered about taking steps to remove him from office.
The move by the newspaper has been seen as highly unusual and exceedingly rare. However, James Dao, the editor of the page’s Op-Ed defended the action in an interview by saying that the material in the essay was important enough to the public interest to merit an exception.
“This was a very strongly, clearly written piece by someone who was staking out what we felt was a very principled position that deserved an airing,” Dao said.
News channels cited special reports and the White House aides were in a frenzy 90 minutes after the article was published. Immediately, Trump went on live television and discredited the author, essay and the news organization.
“We have somebody in what I call the failing New York Times talking about he’s part of the resistance within the Trump administration — this is what we have to deal with,” Trump said.
Calling the essay ‘gutless’, he said the author was ‘probably here for all the wrong reasons’. White House secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a statement in which she called the essay ‘pathetic, reckless and selfish,” and said, “This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
A spokeswoman of Times, Eileen Murphy said, ““We are incredibly proud to have published this piece, which adds significant value to the public’s understanding of what is going on in the Trump administration from someone who is in a position to know.”
The article had been submitted through an intermediary to the opinion editors last week, Dao explained. “It was clear early on that the writer wanted anonymity, but we didn’t grant anything until we read it and we were confident that they were who they said they were,” he said.
He, however, did not enclose further details of the internal discussions, saying that the author’s identity needed to be protected.
This comes after 300 U.S newspapers decided to run editorials in August defending freedom of the press in response to President Donald Trump calling some media organizations ‘enemies of the American people’, Reuters reported. The Boston Globe first published an editorial, joined by the New York Times and a number of smaller newspapers headquartered in states that Trump had won during the 2016 Presidential election.