© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
PUZZLE: Did US VP, Mike Pence write an anonymous editorial criticising Trump?
IF there is one puzzle the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, would give anything to unravel, it is who is behind an anonymous editorial published by New York Times, roundly criticising the Trump administration.
The editorial was authored by a “senior official” within the Trump administration, who said that there are many of them within the administration who are working to frustrate many of Trump’s agenda.
“Many of the senior officials in his (Trump’s) own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations,” the author writes.
“I would know. I am one of them.
“To be clear, ours is not the popular ‘resistance’ of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous.”
The author, who said that he/she is not a liberal operative, noted that he agrees with many of the policy goals of the Trump administration, but added, however, that those goals are being achieved in spite of – and not because of – the president.
The author further added that some senior officials of in the administration have thought about invoking the 25th Amendment, a constitutional provision that allows the vice-president and a majority of the Cabinet secretaries to vote to remove a president who is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”.
President Trump, in a Tweeter post, described the article as “treason”, saying that NYT “must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!”
Since the editorial was published, there have been several denials by many of Trump’s senior officials with regards to who wrote it, but speculations are rife that Vice President Mike Pence may have authored the editorial.
Pence denies the allegation, with his spokesman saying that the NYT, as well as the author of such “false, illogical, and gutless” article, should be ashamed of themselves. “Our office is above such amateur acts,” wrote Jarrod Agen, Pence’s communications director.
Did pence author the article?
The BBC ran both manual and computerised analyses of the article and concluded that, to a large extent, the writing style, technique and usage of words of whoever wrote the NYT editorial, was consistent with several articles authored by Mike Pence in the past.
“For a start, the average length of the sentences in the column is very low compared with government statements: only 19.3 words per sentence…. There is one Trump administration official whose statements and speeches are always shorter than the others – sometimes significantly. His name is Michael Richard Pence, the vice-president of the United States of America,” the BBC wrote.
Before arriving at this conclusion, analysts studied Pence’s recent statements and speeches, as well as his works in the 1990s when he was a radio broadcaster.
Also, the anonymous author used one unusual word – “lodestar” – which the Vice President has been known to use.
Similarly, the analysts pointed out that government statements tend to prefer using the active voice than the passive voice, and this has been consistent with almost all government officials except for all of Pence’s statements. The anonymous editorial was written in the passive voice.
The analysts say they are still comparing more statements with the anonymous NYT editorial to see if there are more clues as to whom the author could be.