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 TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points 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 PompeoBritain and Europe need to step up their support for Hong Kong Take China seriously, not literally Sunday shows preview: Leaders weigh in as country erupts in protest over George Floyd death MORE and Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsGerman lawmaker, US ambassador to Germany trade jabs Intelligence agencies have hired outside consultants to improve communication with Trump: report Senate confirms Ratcliffe to be Trump's spy chief 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."