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Congress weighs in on NYT op-ed

September 6, 2018

Lawmakers on both sides of the political divide are weighing in on what the anonymous New York Times op-ed means for the Trump administration.

Top Republicans stand with the White House in denouncing the author as dishonest and called for the individual to resign from his or her position.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the author was “living in dishonesty,” but said Congress doesn’t have a role in discovering their identity.

“If you’re not interested in helping the president you shouldn’t work for the president as far as I’m concerned,” Mr. Ryan said at his weekly press conference.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy took a stronger stance against the mysterious official, who he said was “such an elitist,” and demanded their identity be revealed.

“It is traitorous that you’re serving in an administration, you’re saying you’re at a senior level, and all you’re doing is undermining the person that the American people elected President,” he said on Fox News Wednesday night.

While Republican Sen. Ben Sasse also said the op-ed undermined the White House’ ability to function efficiently, he said it was not surprising to read.

“It’s just so similar to what so many of us hear from senior people around the White House, you know, three times a week,” the Nebraska representative said in an interview with Hugh Hewit.

Mr. Sasse said the op-ed was just an example of the constant drama within the administration. He argued it was fine to disagree and challenge the president, but to do so it privately, not in the press.

“You don’t run the country as a soap opera,” he said.

For the most part, Democrats are touting the piece as proof of Mr. Trump’s inability to lead.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Thursday of Mr. Trump’s reaction, “What the president’s saying is treason is again a manifestation of his instability.”

After saying her “first thought” was that Vice President Pence authored the article, Mrs. Pelosi joked that maybe the White House butler did it.

“I guess by process of elimination, it’ll come down to the butler,” she told reporters to laughter. “Probably [he] has the most knowledge of presidents in the White House.”

She said of the anonymous article, “The president has to know that when a president speaks, his words weigh a ton. So if some in the White House think correcting this behind the scenes is a consolation, I don’t think it’s good enough.”

“It’s a sad statement, and it is a manifestation of corruption, cronyism, just having your friends around you, incompetence of some of the people who are advising him so that others -- the adult supervision has to weigh in. It’s sad,” she said.

Democrat Rep. Ted Lieu, Ms. Pelosi’s California colleague, described the op-ed as “a cry for help.” While slamming the president, Mr. Lieu also blamed Republican lawmakers.

“It also validates what 3 books and number articles have laid out: Trump is unfit to lead our great nation,” he tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

This stunning OpEd in the New York Times by a senior @realDonaldTrump official is a cry for help. It also validates what 3 books numerous articles have laid out: Trump is unfit to lead our great nation.But the GOP Congress remains complicit. You can change that. Vote this Nov https://t.co/skJTFUPYK3 Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) September 5, 2018

Hawaii Democrat Sen. Mazie Hirono, a vocal critic of the Trump administration, did not refute the claims made in the op-ed, but criticized the author for remaining anonymous.

″[They] should just step up. Put their names out there,” she said to reporters, “If they believe that the president is unfit to serve, as they obviously do, then they really should step up. That’s really saving the country from someone who isn’t up for the job.”

The New York Times stood by the op-ed, despite the backlash and controversy.

“We are incredibly proud to have published this piece, which adds significant value to the public’s understanding of what is going on in the Trump administration from someone who is in a position to know,” the newspaper said in a statement to CBS.

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