WASHINGTON - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence called Sunday for the anonymous senior official carrying out inside resistance to the Trump administration to "do the honorable thing and resign."
Pence told Fox News Sunday that the official, who wrote an op-ed opinion article in The New York Times last week that called Trump amoral, was "literally violating an oath, not to the president, but to the Constitution" by seeking to undermine Trump's presidency.
Pence reiterated that he did not write the article even though it contained an unusual word — "lodestar," meaning one who serves as an inspiration — that he has used in numerous speeches. The vice president said he would agree to take a lie detector test "in a heartbeat," but said it was up to Trump to decide whether other White House officials should do the same to try to identify who wrote the article.
Pence said he does not know who wrote it. The official said he or she was part of an internal resistance "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."
"The root of the problem is the president's amorality," the official said, denouncing Trump's "impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective" leadership style.
Trump has railed against the writer, telling a political rally in Montana last week, "Nobody knows who the hell he is, or she. Unidentified deep state operatives who defy voters to push their secret agendas are truly a threat to democracy itself."
The article in the newspaper came a day after the first details were revealed from veteran investigative journalist Bob Woodward's new book, "Fear: Trump in the White House," depicting chaotic White House operations under Trump, with his own key administration officials attacking him as dangerously ignorant of world affairs.
Woodward said Trump aides at times have plucked documents off the president's Oval Office desk to keep him from signing documents the officials considered to be detrimental to U.S. national security interests. Woodward, a longtime Washington Post reporter and editor, quoted Trump chief of staff John Kelly as saying that the White House under Trump was "crazytown" and that the president was an "idiot," remarks Kelly denied uttering.
Trump and other White House officials have attacked Woodward's book as fiction. But the author told CBS on Sunday that the president's claim he does not speak the way Woodward quoted him is "wrong," saying his reporting was "meticulous and careful," backed up by hundreds of hours of interviews with current and past Trump aides.
Woodward said he has no idea who was the writer of the New York Times article, but said its vague description of White House events did not meet his own standard reporting life behind the scenes in Trump's administration.
Pence defended Trump's performance, saying the president promotes "a vigorous debate" within the White House over public policy issues, and then "he makes the decision. He's in command." Pence called him "a president of almost boundless energy."
In a Twitter remark last week, Trump assailed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for bringing criminal charges against "two very popular Republican congressmen," Chris Collins in New York and Duncan Hunter in California, just as they face re-election contests in November. Trump said, "two easy wins now in doubt.... Good job Jeff."
Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2018
Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike criticized Trump for saying that the charges should not have been brought because of the political ramifications affecting Republicans.
Pence said the serious charges against the two lawmakers "ought to be pursued," but defended Trump's criticism, saying it was aimed at not bringing charges too close to an election, so as to not impact the outcomes.