WASHINGTON – Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, was the anonymous author of the New York Times Op-Ed article in 2018 whose description of President Donald Trump as "impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective" roiled Washington and set off a hunt for his identity, Taylor confirmed Wednesday.
Taylor was also the anonymous author of "A Warning," a book he wrote the following year that described the president as an "undisciplined" and "amoral" leader whose abuse of power threatened the foundations of American democracy.
Taylor resigned from Homeland Security in June 2019 and went public with his criticism of Trump this past summer. He released a video just before the start of the Republican National Convention declaring that the president was unfit for office and endorsed Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.
But Taylor, who had repeatedly denied being Anonymous, did not reveal himself to be the author of the opinion article and book at the time. Confronted with Taylor's public criticism in August, the president wrote on Twitter that he was a "DISGRUNTLED EMPLOYEE named Miles Taylor, who I do not know (never heard of him)."
The Op-Ed pages of the Times are managed separately from the news department, which was never told of Anonymous' identity.
Taylor served for two years as a top aide to Kirstjen Nielsen, Trump's third homeland security secretary, and wrote in the Times that he was part of a cadre of officials around Trump who were quietly working to "frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations."
As a senior administration official, Taylor often interacted with the president at the White House, particularly on issues related to immigration, cybersecurity and terrorism. He left government after Nielsen was fired and later became the head of national security relations for Google. He has been on personal leave from the company for the past several months after endorsing Biden and has been organizing other Republicans to campaign against Trump's re-election.
The disclosure of Taylor's identity is likely to renew the debate over his motives and raise questions about whether his position in the Trump administration was senior enough to justify the decisions by the Times' Opinion desk and the book's publisher to keep his identity secret.
Taylor's decision to assail the president anonymously in the Times article created a sensation in Washington because of its claims about the president's lack of character and inability to govern. In the book, Taylor described Trump as a "12-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway."