President Donald Trump said Thursday that The New York Times' decision to publish an op-ed from a senior administration official describing an internal resistance to the President could be called "treason."
In an interview that is slated to be aired Friday morning on Fox News but was piped into the sound system at the rally and could be heard by reporters, Trump said the Times never should have run the piece.
Crime, law enforcement and corrections
Government and public administration
Government bodies and offices
Misc criminal offenses
New York Times Co
Political Figures - US
US federal government
"Well, number one, the Times never should have done that, because really what they've done is virtually, you know, you could call it treason, you could call it a lot of things, but to think you have somebody in all of the Cabinets -- so many people, as you know," Trump said. "They came forward, they're writing editorials, they're all saying, you know, it's got to be at a fairly low level."
The Times published an anonymous op-ed from a senior administration official Wednesday alleging there is an internal resistance to the President from his own aides. The author wrote that people within the administration are acting out of duty to the country because the "president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic."
The op-ed has set Washington alight, with gossip spreading across the capital about who the author could be. So far, more than 25 administration officials have denied being the writer. It came a day after excerpts from an upcoming book by veteran journalist Bob Woodward published, portraying a White House beset by chaos. Woodward reported at least one Trump official hid a document from the President out of fear that he would sign it.
Trump said the op-ed is "a very unfair thing" because the writer of the piece is anonymous, adding that the administration can't discredit the account without knowing the person's identity.
Trump also called the White House "a well-oiled machine" and said there is "a lot of love in the administration."
"So they take one person out of thousands, but what's unfair -- I don't mind when they write a book and they make lies, 'cause it gets discredited. We just discredited the last one. We discredit all of them because it's lies," Trump said.
"But I'll tell you, when somebody writes and you can't discredit, because you have no idea who they are, usually you'll find out it's a background that was bad. It might not be a Republican, it may not be a conservative. It may be a deep state person that's been there a long time."
In the interview, Trump also said he would be willing to shut the government down if he doesn't get enough funding for border security but wouldn't do so before the midterm elections.
"They'd rather not do it before, they'd rather do it right after the election. They don't want to do anything to upset the apple cart," Trump said of congressional GOP leaders. "And my inclination, if it were up to me? I'd shut down government over border security. In a second. And I guess when you get right down to it, it is up to me but I don't want to do anything that's going to hurt us or potentially hurt us because I have a feeling that the Republicans are going to do very well."