UPDATE, 9:26 PM PT: Miles Taylor appeared on Chris Cuomo’s CNN show and explained why he lied to Anderson Cooper in August about being Anonymous, the Trump administration figure who wrote a scathing New York Times op ed and book.
“Why should CNN keep you on the payroll after lying like that?” Cuomo asked Taylor, who has been a CNN contributor since August.
“It’s a great question, and I will just give you the blunt truth,” he said. “When I said in A Warning, I said in the book that if asked, I would strenuously deny it, that I was the author. And here’s the reason, because the things I said in that book were ideas that I wanted Donald Trump to challenge on their merits. We have seen over the course of four years that Donald Trump’s preference is to find personal attacks and distractions to pull people away from criticisms of his record. I wrote that work anonymously to deprive him of that opportunity.”
Cuomo also asked him of The New York Times characterization of him as a “senior administration official” when he was serving as deputy chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security at the time he wrote the op ed in September, 2018. Taylor said that he would leave it up to the Times to make that judgment, but said that “almost every outlet” characterized him in that way in their reporting, including CNN.
PREVIOUSLY, 12:38 PM PT: The administration insider who authored a New York Times op ed and a book anonymously is Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security.
“Donald Trump is a man without character. It’s why I wrote ‘A Warning’..and it’s why me & my colleagues have spoken out against him (in our own names) for months. It’s time for everyone to step out of the shadows,” Taylor wrote on Twitter (read it below).
Taylor already had come forward publicly as a former administration official and critic of the president, and has been a CNN contributor. But this is the first time that he has identified himself as “Anonymous.”
Taylor wrote in an essay, “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.”
He added, “Issuing my critiques without attribution forced the President to answer them directly on their merits or not at all, rather than creating distractions through petty insults and name-calling. I wanted the attention to be on the arguments themselves. At the time I asked, ‘What will he do when there is no person to attack, only an idea?’ We got the answer. He became unhinged. And the ideas stood on their own two feet.”
Taylor’s New York Times op ed was published in 2016, and it was a scathing attack on Trump that he responded to as possible “treason.” In the op ed, Taylor wrote that “from the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims. The Times identified him only as a senior administration official.
“Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.”
Taylor followed it up with a book earlier last year called A Warning. Taylor served in the Department of Homeland Security from 2017 to 2019, including a tenure as chief of staff to secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and acting secretary Chad Wolf. Taylor came forward with his criticisms of Trump in August, when he wrote in The Washington Post that the president “has tried to turn DHS, the nation’s largest law enforcement agency, into a tool used for his political benefit.”
He has endorsed Joe Biden and appeared in an ad for Republican Voters Against Trump, but he denied in a CNN interview last summer that he was anonymous. A CNN spokesperson said that he will remain as a contributor on the network and will appear on Chris Cuomo’s show on Wednesday night.
Taylor certainly not the first “anonymous” to trigger a guessing game among Washington insiders and media. During the 1990s, the political novel Primary Colors was published anonymously, with similarities to Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign. Columnist Joe Klein eventually disclosed that he wrote the book.
The identify of “Deep Throat,” one of Bob Woodward’s sources as he and Carl Bernstein uncovered the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration, was kept secret until 2005. That was when Mark Felt, who had a top post at the FBI, disclosed that he was the source.
In response to Taylor’s disclosure, White House communications director Alyssa Farah wrote on Twitter, “I rolled my eyes so hard I nearly tipped backwards. To paraphrase Andy Warhol: In the future, everyone will be a Senior Admin Officials for 15 minutes.”
Donald Trump is a man without character. It’s why I wrote “A Warning”…and it’s why me & my colleagues have spoken out against him (in our own names) for months. It’s time for everyone to step out of the shadows. My statement: https://t.co/yuhTgZ4bkq
— Miles Taylor (@MilesTaylorUSA) October 28, 2020
Trump later tweeted, “Who is Miles Taylor? Said he was “anonymous”, but I don’t know him – never even heard of him. Just another @nytimes SCAM – he worked in conjunction with them. Also worked for Big Tech’s @Google. Now works for Fake News @CNN. They should fire, shame, and punish everybody associated with this FRAUD on the American people!”
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