Speculation: Who is the Anonymous White House Official Behind the ‘Resistance’ Op-Ed?


The New York Times dropped a bomb on the news cycle Wednesday afternoon when the paper published an op-ed from an anonymous, senior administration official that tells the story of resistance against Donald Trump within the White House. And everyone wants to know who it is.

Speculation naturally followed immediately after publication, and internet sleuthing started with the words themselves. The premise, voiced below by an MSNBC tech reporter, is that the style or choice of words will lead inevitably to the writer.

And on that line of thinking, Panoply’s Dan Bloom noted something one fairly intriguing term: “lodestar.”

That word choice brought the trail to…

Vice President Mike Pence? A theory very hard to credit, but the word choice is nevertheless almost impossible to ignore. Which then might lead one to think of Pence’s speechwriter, Stephen Ford.

Ford, you will realize, worked on the speech that Pence gave at John McCain‘s memorial, an event referenced in the anonymous op-ed.

And he’s not just a speechwriter, he’s also formerly a Koch insider and employee of Americans for Prosperity. In fact he was named in an article elaborating on how many Koch insiders were making it into the Trump administration’s upper echelons (a sort of cadre of “like-minded colleagues” if you will.) Add to that the Koch catchphrase “anti-trade” which is one of the chief criticisms of Trump in the editorial.

On Twitter, after Ford’s name was floated more than once, a turn in the other direction.

So perhaps a dead-end, or maybe “lodestar” is a favored phrase of someone who has been with Pence for a longer period of time and has influence over speeches. Or perhaps it’s the VP’s beloved turn of phrase, and a skilled speechwriter simply emulated the boss’s style.

Or perhaps the whole “lodestar” trail just goes down a rabbit hole. After all, as the Washington Post‘s David Nakamura points out, the number of people who can credibly claim to be a senior administration official is not a small one.

Of course, not everyone is hunting on the same game trail. There are other theories.

You might laugh, but still … think about it. The Trump base will certainly find this to be not only a betrayal, but a rallying cry against the “deep state” or “Never Trump” boogeyman they loathe. Just sayin’.

Everyone has a theory, or is working on one. As New York Magazine’s Yashar Ali points out, power isn’t always in the hands of the people who mug for the camera.

Whoever it is, they aren’t outted yet, but if history is a guide, it won’t be long until they are. Then the wrath, and the fallout, begin in earnest.

[Featured image via screengrab]

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