Washington DC is abuzz with theories about the identity of the anonymous senior White House official who wrote a Trump bashing op-ed in the New York Times, with numerous names put forward as possible suspects.
The article describes the president as ‘impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective’ and says the author is part of an organized ‘resistance’ whose goal is ‘to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting [President] Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.’
The Times’ description of the writer as a ‘senior official’ could encompass anyone among hundreds of White House staff, given that there are more than 1,000 Senate-confirmed positions alone. But sleuths have been honing in on one word – ‘lodestar’.
This term, armchair language analysts pointed out, is a favorite of Vice President Mike Pence, who regularly uses it in speeches. Yet others suggested the word – which means the guiding star of a ship – could have been deliberately included to throw journalists off the scent.
If the use of lodestar was not a trick, others said, then perhaps suspicion could fall on Pence’s speechwriter, Stephen Ford.
One major clue about the writer’s identity appeared to have been dropped by the Times itself in a tweet, which described how ‘he and others’ had been working together behind the scenes of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
A Times spokeswoman later told Business Insider that the pronoun was a mistake that shouldn’t be read as a tip-off.
‘Senior opinion editors know the identity of the official, as we pointed out in our editor’s note,’ Danielle Ha said in an email. ‘The tweet was drafted by someone who is not aware of the author’s identity, including the gender, so the use of “he” was an error.’
Trump has called the op-ed ‘gutless’ and suggested its author could be guilty of treason.