My Top 5 Candidates For the Author Of The New York Times OpEd.
Guessing who wrote the blistering New York Times editorial about “the resistance” in the Trump Administration is Washington’s most popular game right now. There’s no reason why I can’t play. In making my guesses I applied the following criteria for the ideal candidate for the anonymous author.
1. The author is a very high official. There are not, as Kellyanne Conway asserts, “thousands” of people this could be. It would have to be someone very high up or the New York Times would not have run his editorial. In the words of CNN, “The Times simply wouldn’t do what it did for anything short of a major figure in Trump world.” In short, it’s a big name, one you will know when you hear it, and I think you will hear it soon. This criteria alone reduces the candidates to probably around 50 people.
2. It’s someone who has been in the administration from the beginning. People are over looking this, but the OpEd talked about how “The Resistance” considered invoking the 25th Amendment early in the Administration. Quote:
“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.”
That means this person was there early on and privy to secret cabinet level discussions. Given the incredible turnover of the Trump Administration, application of this criteria winnows the field of candidates considerably.
3. The author probably has background, or is currently involved in, military/foreign affairs issues. This is based on the subject matter discussed on the OpEd.
4. The author probably deeply respected John McCain and may have known him well. In strong language, the OpEd held McCain up as an example of the kind of leader America needed. Again, quoting from the OpEd:
“Senator John McCain put it best in his farewell letter. All Americans should heed his words and break free of the tribalism trap, with the high aim of uniting through our shared values and love of this great nation. We may no longer have Senator McCain. But we will always have his example — a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue. Mr. Trump may fear such honorable men, but we should revere them.”
There are things, some are considering, that I don’t give much weight to.
- I think the whole “lodestar” thing is over emphasized. It was only used once in the OpEd. It’s an unusual word, but it’s not as if it is never used by educated people. I am willing to consider that it might be Pence, but he only barely makes my Top 5.
- I don’t give much weight to the increasing list of denials from various candidates. Whoever this person is, he is obviously living a lie, and has been for awhile. He’s not an honest person, so denials don’t mean much.
Overall, in order of my guess as to most likely, I think these are the Top 5 candidates for the anonymous New York Time editorialist.
- Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats. Scores very high based on all four criteria above. Served in Senate and was close to McCain. Coats’ cringing response on national television, to Trump’s surprise Twitter announcement of his meeting with Putin, moves Coats to the top of the list.
2. Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis. Scores very high on all four criteria above. Mattis has publicly disagreed with various Trump policies on the kinds of military and foreign policy issues discussed in the OpEd.
3. Chief of Staff, John Kelly. Scores high on the first three criteria. I’m not aware of any particular connection to McCain, though McCain strongly endorsed Kelly when he was nominated by Trump. Kelly has not denied (yet) being the anonymous writer, but I think he will soon. Still, I don’t give that much weight. He has denied things claimed about him in Woodward’s book.
4. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions. Scores high in all four criteria, except #3. Is a lawyer who would be familiar with the word “lodestar” (there is a method for calculating attorney fees called the “lodestar method”), but I don’t give that much weight. Sessions arguably has the least to lose because Trump is going to fire him after the midterms anyway. On the other hand, he arguably has more to lose because, if outed, this would give Trump an indisputably valid excuse to fire him, and perhaps bring down the whole Mueller investigation.
5. Vice President, Mike Pence. It just doesn’t sound like him to me but he does score high in the first two criteria. There is the “lodestar” thing, which I am willing to give some consideration, but I don’t give much weight to. I think Pence would have the most to lose from this if outed, to include a possible future ascension to the Presidency. Most importantly, I think Pence is a milquetoast, who likes to play things safe.