Trump slams anonymous NYT op-ed at rally: 'Is it treason?'

Trump slams anonymous NYT op-ed at rally: 'Is it treason?'
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE went after The New York Times on Thursday night for publishing a blistering op-ed by an anonymous senior Trump administration official who blasted the president.

“You look at this horrible thing that took place, is it subversion, is it treason?" Trump said during a campaign-style rally in Billings, Mont., aimed at boosting Republican Senate candidate Matt Rosendale.

"It is really terrible,” Trump continued, blasting the author of the piece as “an anonymous, gutless coward.”

Some Republicans have pushed back on Trump's suggestion that the official who penned the op-ed committed treason.

"I don't think that this person has committed treason as the president has said, and no, The New York Times should not turn him or her over,” Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeGrassley agrees to second Kavanaugh hearing after GOP members revolt Murkowski echoes calls for Kavanaugh, accuser to testify Kavanaugh, accuser to testify publicly on Monday MORE (Ariz.), himself a vocal Trump critic, told Hill.TV on Thursday.

The White House has furiously worked to identify the official behind the anonymous op-ed, who lambasted Trump's "amorality" and described a group of White House staffers working against Trump’s “misguided impulses.”

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“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” the op-ed stated. 

“Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back,” the author added.

During his rally Thursday night, Trump called on The New York Times to release the name of the author on national security grounds.

“For the sake of our national security, The New York Times should publish his name at once,” he said.

He also argued that the op-ed was proof of a so-called "deep state" of government officials working to undermine his agenda.

“Unelected deep-state operatives…are truly a threat to democracy itself,” Trump said.

The White House came out swinging against the op-ed after its publication on Wednesday afternoon, with press secretary Sarah Sanders calling on the "coward" behind the piece to resign.

Various Trump administration officials, including several Cabinet members, raced to denounce the op-ed on Thursday, saying they had not written the article and criticizing whoever had authored the piece.

The impact of the op-ed was only compounded by excerpts from veteran journalist Bob Woodward’s upcoming book on the inner workings of the Trump White House. 

Included are anecdotes in which Trump insults Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill’s 12:30 Report — Kavanaugh accuser willing to testify | Kavanaugh denies allegations, says he’s willing to testify | 50 days from the midterms Ken Starr backs Mueller, says president 'must be held accountable' The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE as “mentally retarded” and White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE calls Trump an “idiot.” 

Trump and Kelly have both denied the quotes attributed to them in the book, while the White House has called the book a work of fiction.