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 Trump as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective” roiled Washington and set off a hunt for his identity, Mr. Taylor confirmed Wednesday.
Mr. 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. He acknowledged that he was the author of both the book and the opinion article in an interview and in a three-page statement he posted online.
Mr. Taylor resigned from the Department of Homeland Security in June 2019, and went public with his criticism of Mr. 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 he endorsed Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee.
But Mr. Taylor, 33, who had repeatedly denied being Anonymous, did not reveal himself to be the author of the opinion article and book at the time.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump claimed not to know who Mr. Taylor is, despite the fact that there are numerous pictures of the president with Mr. Taylor in meetings.
“Who is Miles Taylor? Said he was ‘anonymous’, but I don’t know him — never even heard of him,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Just another @nytimes SCAM — he worked in conjunction with them. Also worked for Big Tech’s @Google. Now works for Fake News @CNN. They should fire, shame, and punish everybody associated with this FRAUD on the American people!”
The Op-Ed pages of The Times are managed separately from the news department, which was never told of Anonymous’s identity.
Mr. Taylor served for two years as a top aide to Kirstjen Nielsen, Mr. Trump’s third homeland security secretary, and wrote in The Times that he was part of a cadre of officials around Mr. Trump who were quietly working to “frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
As a senior administration official, Mr. Taylor often interacted with the president at the White House, particularly on issues related to immigration, cybersecurity and terrorism. He left government after Ms. 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 Mr. Biden and has been organizing other Republicans to campaign against Mr. Trump’s re-election.
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“More than two years ago, I published an anonymous opinion piece in The New York Times about Donald Trump’s perilous presidency, while I was serving under him. He responded with a short but telling tweet: ‘TREASON?’” Mr. Taylor wrote in his statement.
“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 added.
The disclosure of Mr. 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’s Opinion desk and the book’s publisher to keep his identity secret. As chief of staff to a cabinet secretary, Mr. Taylor was one of the top political officials in the sprawling, 240,000-person department, with frequent access to Mr. Trump and other senior White House officials.
At the time, The Times published the essay with a note that said: “The Times is taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous Op-Ed essay. We have done so at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose job would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.”
Mr. 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, Mr. Taylor described Mr. 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.”
Mr. Taylor’s essay has had less impact over time as an array of onetime Trump administration officials have come forward with names attached to publicly criticize the president’s leadership and character, among them the former defense…