'Anonymous' revealed: Former aide Miles Taylor says he wrote scathing opinion piece on Donald Trump

David Jackson, USA TODAY
·6 min read

WASHINGTON – Former administration official Miles Taylor revealed himself Wednesday as the anonymous author of a scathing opinion piece and book about President Donald Trump, stepping forward six days before the election to endorse Democratic challenger Joe Biden.

"This election is a two-part referendum: first, on the character of a man, and second, on the character of our nation," said Taylor, a former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security.

In a written statement, Taylor added: "That’s why I’m also urging fellow Republicans to put country over party, even if that means supporting Trump’s Democratic opponent."

Writing under the pen name "Anonymous," Taylor authored a 2018 newspaper column and 2019 book that attacked Trump's leadership and described utter dysfunction within his administration.

Responding in a tweet, Trump said he didn't know Taylor and "never even heard of him. Just another @nytimes SCAM - he worked in conjunction with them." Noting that Taylor sometimes appears on CNN, Trump said, "they should fire, shame, and punish everybody."

Trump also attacked Taylor during a campaign rally in Goodyear, Arizona, calling him a "sleazebag" and "low-level lowlife" who should be "prosecuted." (Taylor broke no laws with his writings.)

In a tweet of his own, Taylor responded to Trump: "That’s too bad. I remember you, all too well. And I will continue shining a light on your failed presidency through the election – and beyond."

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany described Taylor as a "low-level, disgruntled former staffer," as well as "a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading."

In the book, entitled "A Warning," the self-proclaimed member of the "resistance" said Cabinet members considered mass resignations or invoking the 25th Amendment as possible ways to remove Trump from office.

The author also suggested that Trump might refuse to leave office, even if he is defeated for reelection. The author said that is why Trump talks about "coups," saying he is "seeding the narrative for his followers" that he is being unfairly being forced from office.

“He will not exit quietly – or easily,” Anonymous wrote.

President Donald Trump walks to speak to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is traveling to North Carolina and Florida. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
President Donald Trump walks to speak to members of the press on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md. Trump is traveling to North Carolina and Florida. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Some Republicans noted that Taylor, one of several ex-staffers to speak out against Trump in recent months, publicly endorsed Biden back in August – and at the time denied he was "Anonymous." They also described him as a little-known staffer seeking to make a name for himself at Trump's expense.

"I had never heard of Miles Taylor, but did ask around and heard back that he was a major self-promoter," said Brendan Buck, a former spokesman for GOP House Speakers John Boehner and Paul Ryan. "Makes sense now."

Trump himself has described the then-unknown author as a "gutless coward."

Taylor's book compared Trump to "a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport."

The book was a follow-up to a New York Times column of September 2018 in which Anonymous claimed to "part of the resistance inside the Trump Administration."

Book by 'Anonymous': Author warns that Trump 'will not exit quietly,' even if defeated or impeached

Key claims from book: Some of the key claims from the book 'A Warning' by 'Anonymous' on the Trump administration

The author wrote 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."

White House officials disputed the author's characterization of Trump, and assailed his long-running efforts to shield his identity.

Former Indiana Congressman Joe Walsh, a Republican turned independent and a Trump critic, said the author should have come forward sooner, at least before early voting in various states.

"70m people have already voted," Walsh tweeted. "There are just too damn many of us who lost EVERYTHING over the past few years publicly opposing this unfit monster in the White House. I don’t give a damn anymore about 'anonymous.'"

Throughout the election, a few former administration officials have spoken out against the president on various issues, leading to speculation that they were "Anonymous."

They included former White House chief of staff John Kelly, former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Olivia Troye, former coordinator of the coronavirus task force.

Taylor, who resigned from the Department of Homeland Security in June of 2019, spoke out against the president in a video released Aug. 17 by an organization called Republican Voters Against Trump.

Taylor said Trump would give illegal orders to DHS and “didn’t want us to tell him it was illegal anymore because he knew that … he had ‘magical authorities."

In subsequent interviews, Taylor denied he was Anonymous – until Wednesday.

In his statement, Taylor repeated his assertion that his New York Times column was wrong in one respect: "The country cannot rely on well-intentioned, unelected bureaucrats around the President to steer him toward what’s right. He has purged most of them anyway."

Nor can Congress, he said; it is up to voters to make the final judgment on Trump.

"He doesn’t deserve a second term in office," Taylor wrote, "and we don’t deserve to live through it."

"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 said.

When "A Warning" was published, then-White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said it was "nothing but lies."

"Real authors reach out to their subjects to get things fact-checked – but this person is in hiding, making that very basic part of being a real writer impossible," she said.

Vice President Mike Pence disputed one of the book's major claims: That staff members believed Pence would have joined them in a bid to invoke the 25th Amendment, which outlines the process for removal and succession of a president who is deemed disabled.

“I never heard anything in my time as Vice President about the 25th Amendment. And why would I?” Pence told reporters after the book's publication.

'I am part of the resistance': Anonymous senior Trump official blasts president as erratic and amoral

The vice president called the book's claims "appalling."

"A Warning" says that staff members considered a mass resignation in 2018, but decided it would only further destabilize an already struggling government.

In the book, Anonymous says the column was wrong about the "quiet resistance" within the Trump administration.

"Unelected bureaucrats and cabinet appointees were never going to steer Donald Trump the right direction in the long run, or refine his malignant management style," the author wrote. "He is who he is.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Miles Taylor says he wrote 'Anonymous' op-ed criticizing Donald Trump