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The good trouble traitor: Ex Homeland Security Official Miles Taylor breaks his silence

March 27, 2018, photo provided by the Department of Homeland Security, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and then-Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor, right, meet with Honduran President Juan Hernandez, not pictured, and security ministers from the Northern Triangle countries in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Taylor, a former Trump administration official who penned a scathing anti-Trump op-ed and book under the pen name “Anonymous” made his identify public Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020.
Photographer: Tim Godbee/Department of Homeland Security via AP

Washington D.C. – Wednesday, Oct. 28, former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security Miles Taylor revealed himself as the anonymous author of a scandalous New York Times Op-Ed slamming the president. He is campaigning against Trump’s re-election, according to the New York Post.

Taylor, who worked as the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and as chief of staff for Kirstjen Nielsen, has recently revealed that he was the anonymous author of the New York Times op-ed published two years ago, stating “I was part of the resistance inside the Trump administration working to thwart Trump’s worst inclinations.”

Taylor denied being “Anonymous” until Wednesday, when he came forward in a statement to CNN, where he’s been a contributor since September, as well as in a post on Medium. In a downloadable PDF document titled “Why I’m no longer Anonymous,” Taylor gives a scathing account of his time as chief of staff at DHS that starts off by saying, “Trump sees personal criticism as subversive.”

“More than two years ago, I published an anonymous opinion piece in The New York Times about Donald Trump’s perilous presidency, while I was serving under him. He responded with a short but telling tweet: ‘TREASON?.’ I take a different view,” said Taylor.

He went on to quote former President Theodore Roosevelt, stating, “Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him [the president] or anyone else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about anyone else.”

Taylor reassured readers that he’s still a Republican who stood firmly with the party in support of Trump, wanting to see him succeed in his presidency.

“Make no mistake: I am a Republican, and I wanted this President to succeed. That’s why I came into the Administration with John Kelly, and it’s why I stayed on as Chief of Staff at the Department of Homeland Security. But too often in times of crisis, I saw Donald Trump prove he is a man without character, and his personal defects have resulted in leadership failures so significant that they can be measured in lost American lives,” said Taylor, reaffirming that he has 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.”

The New York Times reports that Taylor wrote a lengthy statement explaining why he wrote the controversial op-ed back in 2018 titled “I am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” detailing his experience working to thwart Trump’s worst inclinations. Taylor said that he wanted to force Trump to respond to the charges he was leveling without the ability to attack the messenger specifically.

“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,” Taylor wrote.

The New York Times cautioned readers that they were taking a rare step in publishing the op-ed essay anonymously, at the request of the author, who at the time was identified only as a senior official in the Trump administration. While his identity was known to the news outlet, they agreed to use the anonymous alias due to the risk that the disclosure of Taylor’s identity would pose to his career.

Taylor paints a picture of Trump as childlike, stating that efforts by White House staff to correct the president were “Just a wet Band-Aid that wouldn’t hold together a gaping wound.”

Mr. McCain, bottom right, in 1965 with his Navy squadron. While in the Navy, he was cocky and combative and resisted discipline. Credit…National Archives

Taylor reveals that the “last straw” with the president for him, which led him to assume the persona of Anonymous, was his horror at Trump’s attempt to hoist the flag on the White House above half-staff after the passing of Senator John McCain.

“President Trump, in unprecedented fashion, was determined to use his office to limit the nation’s recognition of John McCain’s legacy,” stated Taylor.

Trump responded furiously to the op-ed when it was written in 2018, and urged then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the matter, launching an internal investigation at the White House to uncover the author’s identity. This spawned months of parlor games in Washington, leaving many guessing at who was behind the op-ed based on the speech patterns and phrases used, according to the Washington Post.

Taylor also authored a book in 2019 under his anonymous alias titled “A Warning,” that, according to CNN, included details critical of the president sourced from inside the Trump administration. He wrote that members of Trump’s team considered sabotaging the president to prompt Trump to resign and that many administration officials kept their own letters of resignation in their desks or on their laptops. Taylor described the president as an “undisciplined” and “amoral” leader, according to CNN, stating that the president’s “contract shouldn’t be renewed” and that he shouldn’t be re-elected. Taylor speaks candidly about his views of the president’s “misguided impulses” as motivation for highlighting the necessity of closely examining the president’s character.

“Many reasonable people voted for Trump because they love their country, wanted to shake up the establishment, and felt that the alternative was worse,” Taylor wrote as anonymous. Taylor noted that in hindsight, he recognized that Trump’s peddling of birtherism conspiracy theories and his boasts about grabbing women’s genitals might have constituted their own kind of warning — or plausible evidence that Trump might not magically transform into the dignified statesman that Taylor so desperately wanted Trump to be, according to the New York Times.

In his book, Taylor suggested that the U.S. must “Undertake the arduous task of moral repair and restore the soul of its political system” by actively seeking to remove Trump from office, whether by invoking the 25th Amendment or pursuing impeachment proceedings. He forewarns that it would be “bad” because “we can scarcely afford further disunion,” but opines that Trump’s removal is much needed in order to restore our countries moral standing.

Taylor told the New York Times that upon leaving the administration, he wrote the book in an effort to create a character study of the president.

Photographer: Tony Cenicola/The New York Times

“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,” said Taylor.
“In other words, Trump’s own lieutenants were alarmed by his instability.”

Since leaving the Trump administration in 2019, Taylor has endorsed Democrat Joe Biden in August and co-founded a Republican group that is opposed to Trump. CNN reports that Taylor joined the outlet as a contributor in September 2020. The White House has criticized Taylor since his endorsement of Biden; Trump called him a “disgruntled employee.” Taylor said he was hopeful that more people inside the government would speak out against Trump, noting that several senior officials have done so in different ways since leaving the administration.

“I witnessed Trump’s inability to do his job over the course of two-and-a-half years inside the administration. Everyone saw it, though most were hesitant to speak up for fear of reprisals,” Taylor said, according to CNN.