The President known for his fear of being poisoned has found new episode to fuel his paranoia: The administration has a “resistance” mole.
According to reports from The Washington Post, The New York Times and Politico, the hours following the publication of the Times op-ed, penned anonymously by a senior official who self-identified as a thwarter of President Trump’s most “misguided impulses,” catapulted the already tumultuous White House into a state of “total meltdown.”
Trump’s “volcanic” anger and “absolutely livid” (in the Post’s words) reaction to the op-ed sent top aides, like chief of staff John Kelly, scuttling to sniff out the renegade, according to the Times, which reported that aides have already produced a list of at least six possible culprits. Some believe the defector works in the administration, but not the actual White House, while two people familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump is convinced the turncoat is involved in national security or a member of the Justice Department.
“It’s like the horror movies when everyone realizes the call is coming from inside the house,” one former White House official who remains in contact with ex-colleagues told the Post.
The publication of the anonymous note of dissension has only added to Trump’s increased “sense of paranoia,” according to the Post, and has pushed the President — who was already feeling vulnerable following reports on Bob Woodward’s new book filled with anonymously sourced palace intrigue — to question his closest allies. Only his children remain trusted confidantes, a Trump friend told the Post.
“He’s surrounded by strangers,” one former Trump campaign official told Politico.
Whoever the op-ed author may be, they hold late-Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in a high regard, a note that ruffled Trump’s feathers further.
“The column reignited Trump’s frustration with last week’s remembrances of McCain and the widespread adulation of his life,” in the Post’s words.
Those close to the administration also are speculating about the timing of the op-ed’s publication, according to Politico. A former official told Politico that the release was politically motivated, designed to support Democrats’ efforts to re-take the House. Two other former administration officials disputed those assessments, suggesting the episode would blow over like most other White House scandals.
Another disagreed, calling it “open season on the President.”