After the New York Times committed a flagrant act of … something by publishing this anonymity by a claimed member of the Trump administration, everyone wants to know, and is now speculating upon, the identity of the writer.
Jim Geraghty says:
The writer is a traditional Republican, referring to “ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people.”
The writer is particularly informed about, and concerned about, the president’s views on Russia:
On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better — such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable.
The writer looked up to John McCain: “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.” The writer may well have been compelled to write this op-ed after McCain’s passing and the eulogies and reaction at his memorial service.
The writer did not work on the campaign — obviously, he holds Trump in low regard — but he’s probably been around the administration a while: “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.”
The writer must understand that being uncovered would end his career in GOP politics and torpedo any hopes of running for the Republican nomination someday. This is probably the last stop of his career. He probably considers himself to be part of a knowledgeable bipartisan consensus policy establishment and is worried about how his current work for Trump is perceived and will be remembered. This person is probably worried about his reputation and whether or not working for Trump will tarnish his legacy.
Traditional Republican, focused on Russia, inspired by McCain, been around a while, no future ambitions, part of the establishment. There is more than one figure in the administration who fits these criteria, but not many.
But I notice the recent article, “Aside from his father, Huntsman Jr. had ‘no greater mentor’ than McCain,” August 27, in the Desert News:
“Aside from my own dad, there’s been no one more impactful in my life,” [U.S. Ambassador to Russia] Jon Huntsman told the Deseret News from Moscow after initially declining to comment on his relationship with the Arizona senator, who died Saturday after battling brain cancer.
“It was the highest honor to associate with him. He was a mentor in many ways. Country first and bipartisanship were deeply ingrained due to his influence,” Huntsman said of his longtime friend.
Representatives of our foreign service, civil service, military and intelligence services have neither the time nor inclination to obsess over politics, though the issues of the day are felt by all. Their focus is on the work that needs to be done to stabilize the most dangerous relationship in the world, one that encompasses nuclear weapons, fighting terrorism, stopping bloodshed in Ukraine, and seeking a settlement of the seemingly intractable Syrian crisis. Their dedication to service to their country is above politics, and it inspires me to the core. It is my standard. (Emphasis added.)
I have taken an unscientific survey among my colleagues, whom you reference, about whether I should resign. The laughter told me everything I needed to know. It also underscores the fragile nature of this moment.
The unnamed official who wrote the New York Times op-ed concludes, “There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first.”
Just a theory.
The mystery writer of The New York Times op-ed that claims to be a member of the “Trump Resistance” while serving as a “senior official” in the administration has sparked a lot of speculation as to who it might be. One popular theory: Vice President Mike Pence.
The theory, which Pence’s office has adamantly denied, stems from the presence of one word in the piece that Mike Pence frequently uses, a word not in common use. Step aside “Rosebud,” the mystery word of today is “lodestar.”
According to Merriam-Webster, lodestar refers to “a star that leads or guides” or a person who “serves as an inspiration, model, or guide.” The mystery writer uses the word at one point in reference to the late Sen. John McCain, calling him “a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.”
Vice President Mike Pence, apparently, has a penchant for the word. …
Another explanation for the use of the word “lodestar” could be that the mystery writer wanted to throw off people’s scents and make Mike Pence a suspect, a pretty low thing to do in a narcissistic stunt.
In a statement on Thursday, the Vice President’s office denied the charge and agreed with Trump that the mystery writer is “gutless.”
I wrote yesterday wondering about the Times’ motivation given that the Times has opposed every Trump policy since he was elected, when the writer does not oppose Trump policy, but believes Trump is too unstable to be president. If you were Deep Trump, and you believed Trump shouldn’t be president but Trump’s policies should continue, would you do the seemingly principled thing and loudly resign, or would you stay in, hope Trump left the White House, but seek to continue working with President Peice? Of course Shapiro’s theory makes that unlikely if Deep Trump did throw out “lodestar” to cast suspicion on the writer’s potential future boss.
The New York Post reports:
Vice President Mike Pence – and “the field” – lead offshore bookmaking picks as the White House mole behind the anonymous bombshell New York Times op-ed blasting President Trump.
Pence was listed at 2-to-3 odds on the site MyBookie as the fifth column official who claims to be working behind the scenes to stop some of Trump’s policies that they find wrongheaded.
The biggest favorite, at 1-3 odds, is “the field,” someone not listed among the 18 administration officials listed by the Costa Rica-based operation.
At 2-to-3 odds, a winning bettor investing $1 would profit 66 cents. At 1-to-3, a gambler wagering $1 would net 33 cents with a win.
“What tipped us off was ‘lodestar,’ “ MyBookie head oddsmaker David Strauss said of Pence. “When you search members of the administration (who have used that word) only one name comes up – and that name is Mike Pence. He’s used in multiple speeches this year.”
The other 17 named potential moles, listed by MyBookie, are: Education Secretary Betsy Devos (2-to-1), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (4-to-1), Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin (4-to-1), chief of staff John F. Kelly (4-to-1), Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (5-to-1), Attorney General Jeff Sessions (5-to-1), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke (6-to-1), Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (6-to-1), Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (7-to-1) Labor Secretary Alex Acosta (7-to-1), HHS Secretary Alex Azar (8-to-1), HUD Secretary Ben Carson (8-to-1), VA Secretary Robert Wilkie (8-to-1), Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen (10-to-1), Ivanka Trump (12-to-1) and Jared Kushner (12-to-1).
Hours after MyBookie posted numbers, Canada-based Bovada issued its own Trump-leak odds and listed embatted AG Sessions as its favorite at 5-to-2.
He was followed by Pence (3-to-1), Kelly (4-to-1), Mattis (4-to-1), UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (10-to-1), “Javanka” (15-to-1), Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats (15-to-1), White House counsel Don McGahn (15-to-1), Melania Trump (50-to-1) and White House counselor Kellyanne Conway (50-to-1).
Bovada listed President Trump, himself, as the potential mole and Times writer at 25-to-1.
As for the last sentence: Readers my age or thereabouts might remember the original TV series “Dallas” and the worldwide speculation over who shot J.R. Ewing in a season-ending cliffhanger episode.
After the next-season opener revealed J.R.’s shooter, another show revealed that the producers had filmed several characters shooting J.R. so the cast wouldn’t know who actually shot J.R. until the next season, including actual shooter Kristin Shepherd, brother-in-law and archrival Cliff Barnes, J.R.’s wife Sue Ellen, and even J.R.’s father Jock and mother Miss Ellie.
And one more: