A former official of the US homeland security department injected new drama into a tumultuous presidential race on Wednesday by revealing himself as the “Anonymous” author of a bombshell 2018 Op-Ed chronicling deep disaffection among senior members of the Trump administration.
Miles Taylor, a former chief of staff to the secretary of homeland security, owned up to the controversial piece and a subsequent book — A Warning — that further chronicled the chaos in a blog on Medium. He left the administration last fall, joined Google and is now on leave.
He has been a strident critic of the president as a TV commentator.
Trump slammed him as a “sleaze bag” and a “low life” at a campaign rally in Arizona and said, “This guy, in my opinion, he should be prosecuted.”
More vitriol followed from the Trump campaign, which called the disclosure “the least impressive, lamest political ‘reveal’ of all time”.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany slammed Tyler as “this low-level, disgruntled former staffer … a liar and a coward”.
In an Op-Ed in the New York Times in 2018, the “Anonymous” author, who was described as a “senior administration official”, had written of a widespread “resistance” by senior officials to frustrate parts of the president’s agenda they found disagreeable and his “worst inclinations”.
In the blog post on Medium, Taylor conceded writing the Op-Ed anonymously may have been problematic for some, especially because of the seriousness of his assertions, but said by remaining anonymous he “forced the president to answer them (his assertions) directly on their merits … rather than creating distractions through petty insults and name-calling”.
Taylor’s reveal added a new and dramatic element into the race that is now in the final stages in which more than a third of eligible voters — 75 million — have already cast their ballot through early in-person voting or by mail in an unprecedented turnout before Election Day on November 3.
Trump held two rallies in Arizona in an effort to hold on to a traditionally Republican state that he had won in 2016, by a reduced margin than the Republican nominee before him, but where he has been trailing his Democrat challenger Joe Biden by a slim but steady margin.
Biden, who cast his vote with his wife in Wilmington, Delaware on Wednesday will be campaigning in Florida Thursday, as will be Trump.
Florida is a key battleground state that no successful presidential candidate has not won in recent memory.
Trump squeaked through with 1.2% victory margin in 2016, but he now trails Biden by 2 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls and 1.5 point in the FiveThirtyEight average.
The race itself may be slipping out of the president’s grip as he trails his Democrat challenger by a margin that has held steadily over past months.
He is behind Biden by 7.5 percentage points in the RealClearPolitics average of polls and 8.9 points in the FiveThirtyEight weighted average of polls.