The identity of the Trump official who wrote an immensely self-serving op-ed in the New York Times about “resisting” Trump from inside the administration has spurred a lot of theories on who it might be, and as expected, driven the president batshit. So, who is it?
Here’s one guess that is boring, but makes quite a bit more sense than any of the high-profile grifters in Trump’s cabinet who might otherwise have written the essay: Andrew Bremberg, an assistant to the president and director of the Domestic Policy Council, an under-the-radar body which “supervises the development, coordination, and execution of domestic policy in the White House,” and which has virtually no internet presence in Trump’s White House.
Earlier this week, Twitter user @blippoblappo (who, along with @crushingbort, made up the media criticism blog Our Bad Media, which brought light to plagiarism by Fareed Zakaria and Malcolm Gladwell) posted a Twitter thread on why they believed Bremberg was the anonymous writer.
Bremberg started in the role the day Trump was inaugurated, but congruent with the stated beliefs in the Times op-ed, is pretty firmly in the establishment wing of the Republican Party: He was a former top aide to Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), an advisor for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, an HHS official in the Bush administration, and served as the policy director for the Republican Party’s platform in 2016, according to a February 2017 profile of Bremberg by the Hill, which described him as Trump’s “details man.”
The first big clue that it might be Bremberg comes from none other than Omarosa:
Of the four, Bremberg’s potential departure has been reported far more than anyone else on the list. The rest don’t seem to be going anywhere: Nick Ayers, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, was reported to be a potential successor to John Kelly in June; John DeStefano, a former aide to John Boehner, got a nice writeup by Politico earlier this year for “cultivating friends and allies” in the White House; and when White House political director Bill Stepien was picked for Politico’s 50 last year, he was described by multiple people as being loyal to Trump.
On the contrary, Bremberg’s been much fussier in the press about wanting to leave the White House. In November, Politico reported that Bremberg had “told associates that he plans to leave the administration in January.” The next month, the Weekly Standard wrote that Bremberg “has expressed frustration and may be looking to leave soon.”
And in July, ABC News reported that Bremberg—along with White House counsel Don McGahn and legislative affairs director Marc Short—would stay through the end of the Kavanaugh confirmation. Bremberg was described as having a “minor role” in the process.
If all of this is true, then Bremberg has been unhappy for quite some time and appears to finally be nearing the exits. And as a staunch Catholic whose work involves helping the Supreme Court confirmation of a fellow staunch Catholic happen smoothly, taking the Kavanaugh hearings out of the news cycle and replacing it with another “Trump is losing it” story wouldn’t be the worst way to do it.
The White House press office refused to give up Bremberg’s direct contact information and insisted we route questions for him through them. We will update if he or anyone responds.
No matter who wrote the op-ed, it’s clear that it was the opening salvo in the Republican Party’s fight to rebuild its reputation post-Trump. That should not happen. And no matter how dishonorable or unstable the writer of the op-ed might find Trump, the fact is that they were willing to overlook Trump’s worst impulses in order to achieve the conservative movement’s goals.