Anonymous New York Times Op-Ed Gives Paranoid Trump Supporters Ammo for Their Deep State Conspiracy Theory

The anonymous op-ed written by a "senior administration official" and published by The New York Times has added fuel to a long-running conspiracy theory among supporters of President Donald Trump regarding the so-called "deep state" working against him.

According to the deep state theory, pernicious Washington insiders and operatives run the administration in pursuit of their own goals and agenda, despite the wishes of whomever is elected, in a kind of undemocratic shadow government.

Many Trump diehards think this hidden bureaucracy is undermining the president and his policies. The president even believes this theory himself, having tweeted several times about the "deep state."

In the op-ed, the unnamed insider admitted that some aides are "working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations," and that most senior officials "are working to insulate their operations from his whims."

But their motivation is to "preserve our democratic institutions" from Trump's "amorality," "reckless decisions" and "erratic behavior" because "our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic."

They also praised the administration, which they "want to succeed," for policies that "have already made America safer and more prosperous," such as "effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more."

The writer even addressed the deep state theory directly. "This isn't the work of the so-called deep state. It's the work of the steady state," they wrote.

To some of the most vocal Trump supporters, however, the op-ed is not testament to a responsible administration smoothing the edges of the spiky president leading it. Instead, it is compelling evidence that a deep state is indeed working against the president and his agenda.

Charlie Kirk, founder of the Trump-supporting student conservative group Turning Point USA, said the op-ed proved him right about the deep state.

"Since the inauguration of @realDonaldTrump I have been warning about the deep state working against Trump from within," Kirk tweeted. "There are countless anti-Trump operatives working in the president's orbit daily. Fire them all. Punish the leakers. Rebuild the core team with loyal patriots."

Fox News host and arch–Trump supporter Sean Hannity has long pushed the idea that there is a deep state working to oust the president. On his show Wednesday night, Hannity blamed "deep state actors" for trying to "destroy" Trump from inside the White House.

"Whoever this anonymous superpatriot is who wrote the anti-Trump hit piece The New York Times I would argue dangerously published," Hannity said, "is nothing more than a swamp sewer creature who can't stand that there is a new sheriff in town."

On the same show, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the op-ed "tells you what people mean when they talk about the swamp and they talk about the deep state."

Sebastian Gorka, formerly a national security adviser to Trump and now a Fox News analyst, was also on the Hannity show. "For a year and a half, we've been talking about the deep state, the deep state, the deep state, and CNN and everybody else says it's bogus, it doesn't exist," Gorka said.

"What happens today, Sean? We have the op-ed in The New York Times, we have the article in The Washington Post, where they say 'Yes, we are the deep state, we are proud of it.'

"And I'd like all your viewers to look up the word sedition in their dictionary.… It is the overt or covert subversion of a constitutional lawful authority. And that's what these people are doing. They must be rooted out, they must be fired."

Jacob Wohl, a young prominent supporter of Trump's on social media, wrote on Twitter: "If the Deep State tries to remove Trump using the 25th Amendment, there will be a civil war in this country."

Jack Posobiec, a right-wing conspiracy theorist and Trump supporter, tweeted: "To be clear. A senior White House official has admitted there is a deep state 'resistance' that has infiltrated the Trump Administration and seeks to thwart the president's agenda. Let that sink in."

But a flavor of the type of subversion by senior Trump officials is given in a new book by investigative journalist Bob Woodward called Fear.

Based on hundreds of hours of interviews with a range of officials working in Trump's White House, it tells the story of a chaotic, poisonous administration struggling to manage the eccentricities of a narcissistic president who does not appear to comprehend issues fully or understand how the world around him works.

In one alleged act of defiance, Defense Secretary General James Mattis ignored Trump's order to assassinate Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, drawing up his own plan to respond to a chemical attack by the regime that targeted civilians.

"Let's fucking kill him! Let's go in. Let's kill the fucking lot of them," Trump is said to have told Mattis in a phone call after hearing news of the chemical attack.

Mattis told Trump that he would get on it, according to Woodward's book. But he allegedly then told a senior aide: "We're not going to do any of that. We're going to be much more measured."

Both Trump and Mattis deny the book's claims.

Donald Trump deep state
President Donald Trump waits outside a Hispanic Heritage Month event in the East Room of the White House, on October 6, 2017. A senior Trump aide wrote an anonymous op-ed in The New York Times saying officials are working to undermine the president. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images