Vice President Mike Pence's office denies he wrote 'lodestar' Trump resistance op-ed for The New York Times

  • Vice President Mike Pence's office is denying that he is the senior administration official behind an extraordinary, anonymous opinion essay describing a "resistance" against President Trump.
  • The New York Times' publication set off a wave of intense speculation about the author's identity.
  • Observers seize on the essayist's use of the word "lodestar," which Pence often uses in his speeches and statements, as possible evidence the op-ed came from the vice president or among his top staff.

Vice President Mike Pence's office is denying that he is the senior administration official behind an extraordinary, anonymous opinion essay describing a "resistance" against President Donald Trump within his own administration.

The article's publication in The New York Times set off a wave of intense speculation about the author's identity. Observers seized on the essayist's use of the word "lodestar," which Pence often uses in his speeches and statements, as possible evidence the op-ed came from the vice president or among his top staff.

The vice president's office "definitively denies" that he wrote the piece for the Times, according to NBC News.

A top Pence communications official on Thursday also rejected the notion. "The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds," Jarrod Agen wrote on Twitter.

Several high-ranking Trump officials denied writing the essay. "It's not mine," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in India, after ripping the Times for publishing the piece. Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, meanwhile, said Defense Secretary James Mattis wasn't behind it, either.

There was also speculation that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats might be the writer, who has been dubbed "Lodestar" by some in the Beltway. Coats memorably shot back at Trump in July, after the president appeared to take Russian President Vladimir Putin's side over the U.S. intelligence community's findings that Russia meddled in the 2016 election.

A former longtime Coats aide pushed back on the notion that the DNI was the author. "I doubt it. Not his style. He's the kind of guy who will share news in private, but at the end of the day, he's really focused on what's best for the country. Sounds trite, but he'd make his feelings known to POTUS and stay out of the fray," this person told CNBC.

Coats himself called speculation that he wrote it "patently false."

The op-ed, which the Times published Wednesday afternoon, describes a coordinated effort within the administration to undermine Trump, who he or she described as "amoral," and "frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." The author also wrote that this internal resistance wants the administration to succeed, while praising some policy victories, such as a broad tax cut package last year.

The Times, in turn, defended its rationale for running the column by saying, "publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers."

The official who wrote the piece described talk among Cabinet members about possibly using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. The amendment went into effect in 1967, four years after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, as a way to clarify constitutional lines of succession in the event a president dies or is incapacitated.

A White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNBC there was never any talk of the 25th Amendment inside the Cabinet, and that the White House has no concerns about command and control of the administration.

The official also told CNBC there was no specific meeting to discuss "Lodestar" on Wednesday night.

Trump responded to the piece by lashing out at the media and the anonymous author. NBC News reported that several of the president's aides and allies have described his mood as "volcanic."

On Wednesday night, one of his tweets said "TREASON?"

The president continued venting his rage and frustration Thursday morning on Twitter.

-CNBC's Amanda Macias contributed to this report.

Click to show more