Top Trump economist says bombshell NYT op-ed 'might be a fraud'

Katie Krzaczek
Associate Editor

top Trump administration economist told Yahoo Finance that the anonymous op-ed by a senior official in the Trump administration and published by the New York Times “might be a fraud.”

Calling the letter “inconsistent with the White House I know,”Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Kevin Hassett denied writing the op-ed himself and continued to doubt its legitimacy.

“In fact, one of the things that I even think, just looking at that piece, because it’s so inconsistent with the White House that I know, is that I’m just not sure that it’s a genuine piece,” Hassett said on Friday morning, later adding: “I think the letter might be a fraud. I don’t know, but it just does not look like the White House that I know.”

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett addresses reporters during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S. February 22, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The op-ed, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” appeared on the Times’ opinion page Wednesday and was written by an anonymous “senior official in the Trump administration.” The essay gives details of a White House apparently in distress.

While crediting the few successes Trump’s White House has seen, the essay adds that “these successes have come despite — not because of — the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.”

Who wrote the op-ed?

In a note attached to the top of the op-ed, the Times explained its decision for keeping the author anonymous.

“The Times today is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.”

Since its publication, the piece has caused many to question who this senior official is, and the speculation has prompted countless officials, now including Hassett, to deny having authored the piece.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a “Make America Great Again” rally in Billings, Montana U.S., September 6, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

President Trump took to Twitter to question whether there even was an scribe at all. “Does the so-called ‘Senior Administration Official’ really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source?” he tweeted.

Trump has gone as far as to call the letter treasonous in his first tweet critical of the piece.

He said the anonymous person, “if they do indeed exist,” is “GUTLESS,” and requested that “the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”

Hassett seemed to be echoing Trump’s suggestion that the essay was fraudulent.

READ MORE:  Who wrote the Times op-ed? ‘Not me,’ top White House officials say