Speaker Paul D. Ryan joined a handful of lawmakers from both parties who have decried a New York Times op-ed author for publishing a Wednesday criticism of the president anonymously.
The Wisconsin Republican called for the author to vacate his or her job.
“If you’re not helping the president, you shouldn’t work for the president,” Ryan said Thursday.
The speaker echoed sentiments shared earlier in the day from Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and others.
Watch: Ryan Calls for Op-Ed Writer to Leave Administration, Pelosi Decries Lack of Congressional Oversight
“Anybody serving at [the president’s] pleasure should do so faithfully. When they feel they no longer can, they should resign and speak in their own name so the country can evaluate their insights with a full understanding of where they are coming from,” Rubio tweeted Thursday.
“Proper guardrails on any president isn’t staff subterfuge, it’s elections and our constitutional checks,” he said.
That desire for a public discussion about the merits of the anonymous official’s concerns resonated with a number of Democrats.
“It’s in the best interest of the American people for the author and other like-minded individuals to declare themselves publicly, resign, and refuse to allow this president and his lies to continue,” Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington said in a statement.
Some Democratic House members, including Jayapal and New Jersey Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, want any disaffected senior White House personnel to publicly air their concerns about Trump’s fitness for office at a congressional hearing.
“Whoever these people are, these senior-level members of the Trump team have an obligation to come before Congress,” Watson Coleman said on Sirius XM radio Wednesday.
Other Republicans who called on the anonymous writer to resign were more critical of his or her intentions and echoed Trump’s call for the Times to “turn [the writer] over to the government at once.”
“This man is a coward,” House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said of the anonymous op-ed writer to Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “The idea that this person has a taxpayer’s job ... is supposed to be serving the president, who the taxpayers elected, but he thinks he is such an elitist that they think they know better than the voters?”
“I agree with the president — I think it is a real problem, that they should come forward and say who this person is,” McCarthy added.
At least one Democrat remained critical of the author, but for different reasons.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California retweeted the liberal-leaning Brookings Institute senior fellow Benjamin Wittes, who wrote that he had “no respect for someone who would say these things — of whose truth I have no doubt — in an anonymous oped, rather than in a public resignation letter copied to the House Judiciary Committee.”
The Times describes the op-ed writer as “a senior official in the Trump administration” who granted the editorial board permission to publish the essay only on the condition of anonymity.
The Times assented to that “rare” step, it said, because “publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers.”
The anonymous scribe wrote that many of the senior officials in the president’s own administration “are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”
“I would know,” the author wrote. “I am one of them.”
The official was scathing in his review of the president’s character and said the issues of his presidency are rooted in his “amorality.”
“Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making,” the official wrote. Trump acts in a way that is “detrimental to the health of our republic.”
The official also attacked Trump’s leadership style, which he described as “impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.” It has not had any positive effect on the administration or led to any of its successes. Instead, the administration has made strides domestically and abroad “despite” the president’s leadership.
In one of the most shocking claims, the official wrote that after staffers witnessed Trump’s instability in office, there were “early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment.”
But, the author said, no one wanted to plunge the country into a “constitutional crisis.”