It wasn’t me.
Or so claimed Vice President Mike Pence’s deputy chief of staff and communications director Jarrod Agen on behalf of his boss on Thursday morning.
The denial was in reference to the publication of an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon that reportedly came from a senior Trump administration official. The Opinion Section piece detailed a chaotic White House that appears to largely corroborate the findings of Bob Woodward’s new book, Fear.
While a frenzy erupted after it was published to determine the source, many latched onto one particular word that appeared in the piece: “lodestar.” Some analysts pointed to the fact that Pence had used the somewhat unusual word in at least two speeches he gave last year.
But Agen quickly sought to quash this notion, writing on Twitter that “The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds” and chastising the Times for publishing the article. “Our office is above such amateur acts,” he added.
Pence’s denial closely followed a similar denial by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who reprimanded the Paper of Record for taking the word of a “disgruntled deceptive bad actor,” noting that he “come[s] from a place where if you’re not in a position to execute the commander’s intent, you have a singular option, that is to leave.”
“It’s not mine,” Pompeo added.
For his part, President Trump lashed out in numerous directions between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. He variably questioned whether the op-ed was treasonous, and accused the “Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media” of “going Crazy.” After questioning the authenticity of the source, Trump also called on the Times to “turn him/her over to government at once!” as, to him, a matter of national security.