Senior Trump administration officials considered resigning en masse last year in a “midnight self-massacre” to sound a public alarm about President Donald Trump’s conduct, but rejected the idea because they believed it would further destabilize an already teetering government, according to a new book by an unnamed author.
In “A Warning” by Anonymous, obtained by The Washington Post ahead of its release, a writer described only as “a senior official in the Trump administration” paints a chilling portrait of the president as cruel, inept and a danger to the nation he was elected to lead.
The 259-page book – which was published by Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group, and goes on sale Nov. 19 – does not re-create many specific episodes in vivid detail, which the author writes was intentional to protect his or her identity.
At a moment when a stream of political appointees and career public servants have testified before Congress about Trump’s conduct as part of the House impeachment inquiry, the book’s author defends his or her decision to remain anonymous.
“I have decided to publish this anonymously because this debate is not about me,” the author writes. “It is about us. It is about how we want the presidency to reflect our country, and that is where the discussion should center. Some will call this ‘cowardice.’ My feelings are not hurt by the accusation. Nor am I unprepared to attach my name to criticism of President Trump. I may do so, in due course.”
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham derided the book as a “work of fiction” and its anonymous author as a “coward.”
“The coward who wrote this book didn’t put their name on it because it is nothing but lies,” Grisham wrote in an email. “Real authors reach out to their subjects to get things fact checked – but this person is in hiding, making that very basic part of being a real writer impossible. Reporters who choose to write about this farce should have the journalistic integrity to cover the book as what it is – a work of fiction.”
Earlier this week, the Justice Department warned Hachette and the author’s agents, Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn of Javelin, that the anonymous official may be violating a nondisclosure agreement. Javelin responded by accusing the administration of seeking to unmask the author.
The author’s Sept. 5, 2018, op-ed in the Times, headlined “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration,” depicted some senior officials as a bulwark protecting the country from the president’s reckless impulses. Trump denounced it at the time as treasonous.
The author describes senior officials waking up in the morning “in a full-blown panic” over the wild pronouncements the president had made on Twitter.
“It’s like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him,” the author writes. “You’re stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn’t do it every single day, his words aren’t broadcast to the public, and he doesn’t have to lead the US government once he puts his pants on.”
(c) 2019, The Washington Post · Philip Rucker ·