A former Trump administration official who penned a scathing anti-Trump op-ed and book under the pen name “Anonymous” revealed himself on Wednesday as a former chief of staff in the Department of Homeland Security.
The official, Miles Taylor, came forward six days before election day to criticise President Donald Trump as “a man without character”. He said he hoped other former administration officials will “find their conscience when they wake up tomorrow” and speak up, too.
Taylor has been an outspoken critic of Trump in recent months and had repeatedly denied he was the author of the column and subsequent book – even to colleagues at CNN, where he has a contributor contract.
He left the Trump administration in June 2019 and endorsed Democrat Joe Biden for the presidential race earlier this year.
Trump and White House officials moved quickly to describe Taylor as someone with little standing and clout.
“This guy is a low-level lowlife that I don’t know. I have no idea who he is, other than I got to see him a little while ago on television,” Trump told his supporters at an election campaign rally in Arizona.
“Anonymous was a nobody, a disgruntled employee who was quickly removed from his job a long time ago, for they tell me incompetence. I don’t know what for. But they tell me incompetence,” he said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 28, 2020
As the DHS chief of staff, Taylor was in many White House meetings with the president on his border policy and other major Homeland Security issues.
During Taylor’s time as the chief of staff, Trump threatened to shut down the border and his administration developed the policy to force asylum seekers to wait across the US-Mexico border.
The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, called Taylor’s revelation “a monumental embarrassment”, tweeting, “I’ve seen more exciting reveals in Scooby-Doo episodes.”
During a CNN appearance with Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night, Taylor said he did not unmask himself earlier because the story would have disappeared within 48 hours.
“No one would pay attention and they wouldn’t care,” he said.
“Right now, Americans are reviewing the president’s resume, his record and his character, and it is mission-critical that people like me, but others, come out now when the voters are listening and tell them who this man really is.”
Taylor’s anonymous essay was published in September 2018 by The New York Times, infuriating the president and setting off a frantic White House leak investigation to try to unmask the author.
In the essay, the person, who identified themselves only as a senior administration official, said they were part of a secret “resistance” force out to counter Trump’s “misguided impulses” and undermine parts of his agenda.
The author wrote, “Many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
The Times identified the author as a “senior official” in the administration and received some criticism online on Wednesday for inflating Taylor’s credentials.
The newspaper, which said it had granted Taylor anonymity because his job would be jeopardised if his identity was revealed, on Wednesday confirmed Taylor was the author because he has waived his right to confidentiality, and had no other comment.