Trump downplays NYT op-ed, says the White House is running like a well-oiled machine

  • "So they take one person out of thousands," Trump said, before adding: "But what's unfair, I don't mind when they write a book and they make lies because it gets discredited."
  • In the op-ed published in the NYT, a writer identified only as a "senior official" in Trump's administration wrote that "many Trump appointees" were working to impede the president's agenda.
  • The article set off a wave of intense speculation about the author's identity, with Trump administration officials from across the federal government racing to issue denials and condemn the newspaper for publishing the piece.
President Donald Trump
Kevin Lamarque | Reuters
President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump sought to play down an explosive opinion piece published in the New York Times this week, saying it appeared to be written by a "fairly low-level" individual.

Speaking to Fox, in an interview published Friday, he said that the White House was running like a well-oiled machine and criticized the anonymity of the NYT piece.

"So they take one person out of thousands," Trump said, before adding: "But what's unfair, I don't mind when they write a book and they make lies because it gets discredited."

"I'll tell you, when somebody writes and you can't discredit because you have no idea who they are ... it is a very unfair thing," he said.

'Gutless editorial'

In the op-ed published in the NYT, a writer identified only as a "senior official" in Trump's administration wrote that "many Trump appointees" were working to impede the president's agenda in order to "preserve our democratic institutions."

The paper said it took the unusual step of publishing the opinion piece under an agreement to keep the author's name a secret. It said the Trump official's job would have been jeopardized by its disclosure.

The article set off a wave of intense speculation about the author's identity, with Trump administration officials from across the federal government racing to issue denials and condemn the newspaper for publishing the piece.

Trump described the op-ed as a "gutless editorial" and later tweeted he believed it may have been treasonous.

The NYT piece appeared days after the publication of excerpts from a new book by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward. The excerpts accuse Trump of being prone to making impulsive decisions and describes senior aides as taking dramatic measures to limit what they perceive to be damaging behavior.

In a statement released on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary said Woodward's book was "nothing more than fabricated stories."