Miles Taylor, the former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff who stepped forward in August to blast President Donald Trump’s leadership, said Wednesday he’s “Anonymous,” the senior administration official who wrote a scathing op-ed and book about the Trump White House.
In a post on Medium entitled “Why I’m no longer Anonymous,” Taylor said he wrote the op-ed as a way to get the White House to focus on what he was saying about the danger he thought Trump posed to the country, instead of focusing on him.
“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,” Taylor wrote. “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.”
Trump tweeted on Wednesday that Taylor was a “fraud.” “Who is Miles Taylor? Said he was ‘anonymous’, but I don’t know him – never even heard of him,” he said in one of two tweets.
He continued the tirade against the CNN contributor at a campaign rally in Goodyear, Ariz., where he called Taylor a “sleazebag who never worked in the White House,” a “nobody” and “a low-level lowlife.”
“In my opinion, he should be prosecuted,” Trump said. He didn’t say for what.
In the original New York Times op-ed, Taylor wrote that “many of the senior officials in his own administration” were working against Trump from within “to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
“We will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over,” the unnamed author wrote. “We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.”
Trump accused the writer of treason and demanded that then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions find out the identity of the writer.
At DHS, Taylor was chief of staff to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen when she signed her decision memo in early May 2018 to refer families to the Department of Justice for prosecution and separation. In media appearances since then, he’s pushed back on their culpability for the results of the policy, described by Physicians for Human Rights as “torture” and “government-sanctioned child abuse” by the American Academy of Pediatrics, blaming DOJ and Trump for pressuring Nielsen into signing off on it.
“People like me should have done more,” he told Noticias Telemundo in August.
Taylor first spoke out publicly against Trump in August, endorsing Joe Biden for president in an ad that aired during the Democratic National Convention. In a concurrent essay published in the Washington Post, he claimed that “the country is less secure as a direct result of the president’s actions.” Trump lashed out at Taylor in a tweet, calling him a “real ‘stiff'” while also claiming to have “never heard of him.”
Taylor, who left the administration in July of last year, denied he was Anonymous in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper in August. “I’ve got my own thoughts about who that might be,” but “I wear a mask for two things – Halloweens and pandemics. So no,” he said.
Taylor wrote on Wednesday that he was stepping forward now in hopes of inspiring others. “That’s why I’m writing this note — to urge you to speak out if you haven’t. While I hope a few more Trump officials will quickly find their consciences, your words are now more important than theirs. It’s time to come forward and shine a light on the discord that’s infected our public discourse,” he wrote.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany denounced Taylor in a statement later Wednesday, saying “This low-level, disgruntled former staffer is a liar and a coward who chose anonymity over action and leaking over leading.”
Trump campaign press secretary Hogan Gidley called Taylor’s announcement “the least impressive, lamest political ‘reveal’ of all time. I worked with DHS officials while I was in the White House, and even I had to research who Miles Taylor was. He’s just another standard-issue arrogant, Washington, DC swamp bro.”
Today’s announcement by Mr. Taylor demonstrates that he was clearly pursuing a self-serving, self-promoting agenda while at the Department of Homeland Security rather than pursuing an agenda aimed at securing the Homeland,” said acting Homeland Secretary Chad Wolf.
“This charade is another sad reminder that not all who pursue public service are doing so for the public good,” he said.
Hallie Jackson contributed.