Susan Zirinsky to replace David Rhodes as first female head of CBS News
MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace: Anonymous NYT op-ed describes 'a coup'
"In other countries ... they sometimes call this a coup," Wallace said on MSNBC's "Deadline: White House," referring to the article's claim that there is a "resistance" made up of administration officials who are working to "thwart" Trump's "worst inclinations."
The Times identified the op-ed's author only as a senior Trump administration official and said its rare step not to attach a name was done at the request of the author.
"The author diagnoses the root of the rot, and that's the president's lack of character," Wallace said, adding the op-ed "is describing someone ... who does not appear to meet the basic standard of fitness for the office."
"The question I would really pose for the author of this piece, whoever he or she may be, is: is writing an op-ed like this enough?" reporter Matt Miller said on MSNBC in response to Wallace. "Certainly, you have a duty if you're inside the government to try to prevent the president from acting irrationally and prevent him from doing things that would harm the country."
"But is your duty to the country not just to constrain him, but also to blow a whistle to the American public?" Miller added. "Anonymously is one way, but should you be offering testimony to Congress?"
The author of the op-ed, titled "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration," also claims White House officials are working to stave off Trump's "misguided impulses."
"To be clear, ours is not the popular 'resistance' of the left," the op-ed reads. "We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous."
"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 anonymous official wrote, describing a "two-track presidency" where Trump proposes a certain action while aides work around him to do another.
Wallace said she is concerned the media has been "too timid" in naming the president's "lack of fitness for office."
The Washington Post's Ashley Parker on MSNBC told Wallace that the official's account is similar to what she has heard from inside the White House.
"It's that this official has chosen to take this approach, which is not outing themselves, not going before Congress, writing an op-ed," Parker told Wallace. "But I do have to say that everything in there ... does track with what I'm sure you've been hearing ... all along, from people inside this White House."
"There is a sense that people will privately tell you, 'You don't know the tweets I've prevented from being sent, you don't know the decisions I've prevented from being made, you don't know how bad it is,' " Parker added.
Following the article's publication on Wednesday, Trump lashed out at the Times, calling the piece "gutless."
"When you tell me about some anonymous source within the administration, probably who's failing and probably here for all the wrong reasons, and The New York Times is failing," Trump said at a White House event.