Trump says ex-staffer who penned 'Anonymous' op-ed should be 'prosecuted'

President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE on Wednesday lashed out at former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Miles Taylor, dismissing the author of an anonymous New York Times op-ed criticizing him as a “low-level staffer” and a “sleazebag.”

Trump also said Taylor should be “prosecuted” for penning the op-ed. 

“It turned out to be a low-level staffer, a sleazebag, who has never worked in the White House," Trump said at a rally in Goodyear, Ariz., reacting to the news that Taylor, who has been publicly critical of Trump since he left the administration, had revealed himself as the author behind the September 2018 Times op-ed and subsequent book.

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"Anonymous was a nobody, a disgruntled employee who was quickly removed from his job a long time ago for, they tell me, incompetence,” Trump told the crowd.

Trump mused that he thought the author of the op-ed could have been Hope HicksHope HicksThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records UPDATED: McEnany, Fox News talks on pause MORE or his son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel tees up Trump executive privilege fight in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE, two of his senior aides, or Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeEconomy adds just 235K jobs in August as delta hammers growth Lawmakers flooded with calls for help on Afghanistan exit Afghanistan fiasco proves we didn't leave soon enough MORE (R-Utah) or Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulSenate lawmakers let frustration show with Blinken Rand Paul: 'Hatred for Trump' blocking research into ivermectin as COVID-19 treatment Masks and vaccines: What price freedom? MORE (R-Ky.), both of whom were in the audience.

“This guy is a low-level low life,” Trump said. “I have no idea who he is.”

“He worked with the — listen to this — the fake news New York Times, and he is an employee of Google, he works for Google,” Trump continued. “The whole thing was just one more giant hoax from the Washington swamp and a corrupt special interest group. I’ll tell you what. This guy, in my opinion, he should be prosecuted.”

The president’s remarks prompted loud chants of “drain the swamp” from the crowd.

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Taylor, who served at DHS from 2017 to 2019 and for a period of time was former DHS Secretary Kirstjen NielsenKirstjen Michele NielsenEx-Trump official: 'No. 1 national security threat I've ever seen' is GOP Left-leaning group to track which companies hire former top Trump aides Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' MORE’s chief of staff, revealed in a Medium post on Wednesday that he penned the op-ed that prompted buzz around Washington when it was published in September 2018. Taylor left the administration last year and has been sharply critical of the president, offering damaging firsthand accounts of his time in the administration and Trump’s behavior. He has endorsed Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE for president.

"I witnessed Trump’s inability to do his job over the course of two-and-a-half years. Everyone saw it, though most were hesitant to speak up for fear of reprisals," Taylor wrote Wednesday.

"So when I left the Administration I wrote A Warning, a character study of the current Commander in Chief and a caution to voters that it wasn’t as bad as it looked inside the Trump Administration — it was worse," he wrote.

The revelation puts to rest a lingering question in Washington as to the anonymous author’s identity. White House aides were quick to dismiss Taylor when he revealed he penned the op-ed.