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Anonymous author of Trump ‘resistance’ op-ed to publish a tell-all book

Starlings fly out of a bush and over the West Wing at the White House at sunset. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
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The author of an anonymous column in the New York Times in 2018, who was identified as a senior Trump administration official acting as part of the “resistance” inside the government, has written a tell-all book to be published next month.

The book, titled “A Warning,” is being promoted as “an unprecedented behind-the-scenes portrait of the Trump presidency” that expands upon the Times column, which ricocheted around the world and stoked the president’s rage because of its devastating portrayal of Trump in office.

The column described Trump’s leadership style as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective,” and noted that “his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back.”

The author of the column, which was headlined “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” and published Sept. 5, 2018, was known to the Times but identified only as a senior official in the Trump administration. The person has still not been publicly identified.

Trump lashed out at the anonymous author after the column’s publication. The president questioned both whether the author existed and whether the author had committed treason. He also demanded on Twitter that the Times turn over “the GUTLESS anonymous person” to the government “at once.” The Times did not.

The forthcoming book will list the author as “Anonymous.” Although the person does not reveal their identity in the book, they will discuss the reasons for their anonymity, according to people involved in the project.

“Picking up from where those first words of warning left off, this explosive book offers a shocking, firsthand account of President Trump and his record,” according to a statement about the book’s release.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham mocked the forthcoming book and its author, saying in a statement, "It takes a lot of conviction and bravery to write a whole book anonymously."

The book will be published Nov. 19 by Twelve, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group. It comes during a treacherous period for Trump, as the House continues its fast-moving impeachment inquiry into allegations that the president abused his power.

The author is being represented by Matt Latimer and Keith Urbahn of Javelin, the same literary agents who represented fired FBI director James B. Comey and former White House aide Cliff Sims — still a Trump ally — for their memoirs from their time in the Trump administration. The book was acquired by Sean Desmond, Twelve’s publisher.

People involved in the project said that both Twelve and Javelin have verified that the book’s author is the same person who wrote the Times column but would not share the author’s identity with The Washington Post.

“There obviously will be those who want the author to reveal themselves publicly, but there are good reasons for that not to happen,” Latimer said. “The author feels their identity is almost irrelevant because there is scarcely a sentiment expressed in this book that is not shared by numerous others who have served and continue to serve this administration at its highest levels.”

There is no modern historical parallel for a firsthand account of a sitting president written in book form by an anonymous author. Many senior government officials, including some who served in the Trump administration, have written books under their own names. Many more have shared information with journalists on the condition of anonymity, perhaps most famously the official known as Deep Throat who was a key source for Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s reporting in The Post on the Watergate scandal.

The 1996 publication of “Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics” caused a sensation in part because of the anonymity of its author, who was later revealed to be columnist Joe Klein. The book was a work of fiction, although its characters and events mirrored Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign.

Latimer said the anonymous author of “A Warning” did not take an advance and intends to donate some of the royalties to nonprofit organizations that focus on government accountability and supporting truth-tellers in repressive countries, including the White House Correspondents’ Association.

“The author could have received a seven-figure advance for writing this book,” Latimer said. “But ‘A WARNING’ was not written for financial reasons. The author sees this as an act of conscience and of duty, which is why the author refused any advance and is donating a substantial portion of any royalties to charities that protect those seeking the truth around the world.”