Nielsen denies she's behind anonymous New York Times op-ed

Nielsen denies she's behind anonymous New York Times op-ed
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Homeland Security Secretary Kirsten Nielsen denied Thursday that she was behind an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times that details efforts within the Trump administration to push back against the president’s impulses.

"Secretary Nielsen is focused on leading the men & women of DHS and protecting the homeland — not writing anonymous & false opinion pieces for the New York Times," Tyler Houlton, press secretary for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said in a statement.

"These types of political attacks are beneath the Secretary & the Department's mission," he added.

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Nielsen took over as head of DHS  after John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE left to serve as chief of staff in July 2017. She has endured criticism from President TrumpDonald John TrumpJustice Department preparing for Mueller report as soon as next week: reports Smollett lawyers declare 'Empire' star innocent Pelosi asks members to support resolution against emergency declaration MORE during her tenure over the administration's immigration policy, but he has publicly praised Nielsen in recent months.

Nielsen became the latest Cabinet official to distance themselves from the op-ed, joining Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Graham clashed with Pentagon chief over Syria | Talk grows that Trump will fire Coats | Coast Guard officer accused of domestic terrorism plot Sean Spicer joins 'Extra' as 'special DC correspondent' Trump, Pompeo: Alabama woman who joined ISIS cannot return to US MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsOvernight Defense: Graham clashed with Pentagon chief over Syria | Talk grows that Trump will fire Coats | Coast Guard officer accused of domestic terrorism plot Trump says he hasn't considered replacing Coats as his top intel official Talk grows that Trump will fire Dan Coats MORE.

The New York Times published the op-ed on Wednesday in which an anonymous senior administration official described coordinated efforts from staff to "thwart" Trump's worst instincts.

The official, whose identity is known to Times opinion editors, bashed the president's "amorality" and praised the work of "unsung heroes" who push back against him.

"We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous," they wrote. "But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic."

The op-ed set off immediate speculation over who the author could be.

Trump and the White House have ripped the Times for publishing the piece. The president called on the newspaper late Wednesday to turn the author over to the government for "national security purposes."