Uncovering 'Anonymous' in the White House

In swamp news, deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is reportedly being pinned by senior officials in the Trump administration as the so-called "Anonymous," the hideous little operative deep within the Trump administration who claimed to be the anti-Trump "resistance" on the inside, brazenly writing an essay in the New York Times to "assure" us that the Trump administration is full of such people.

Here's the Daily Mail's summary:

  • Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates may be reassigned to a position in the Department of Energy from the National Security Council
  • In recent weeks, it has been rumored that Coates is author of anonymous op-ed
  • The infamous op-ed was published in the New York Times in September 2018 
  • Last year, the same Anonymous person published tell-all book called, A Warning
  • Despite the rumors about Coates, she isn't known to disagree with the president's foreign policies, which doesn't make her a good fit for Anonymous 

Since I have known Victoria since the heyday of the early blog years, blogger-to-blogger; have since visited her in Washington; and have seen her around on social media since, I find the whole thing shocking.  Based on what I know of Victoria, I don't believe it.

First, there is the main reason cited by the Daily Mail: that she doesn't disagree with President Trump on foreign policy.  That's true, and she doesn't, not even in private.  She would have to then secretly disagree, I guess, which, based on what I know, isn't her. 

Second, there's the explicit denial from the literary agency that she's Anonymous.  That says something.

Here's the bitter little bureaucrat's "Anonymous" essay, something that doesn't even sound like Victoria, who, unlike this person, is a smooth and elegant writer.

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.

But we believe 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.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

Oh, the piety about country first, John McCain's slogan.  This person hates Trump on stylistic grounds, the hallmark of a NeverTrump, deluding himself he's concerned about "morals."  Sure enough, he praises John McCain as the model anti-Trump he really wants.  McCain?  Victoria has never brought up McCain; he was never in her intellectual orbit.  She's an art historian, not a McCain-booster. 

Beyond McCain, this person writing sounds as though he longs for the good old days of President Bush, the neocon stuff, the American power thing.  That's not something Victoria is associated with much, either.  Victoria was never one of those people, a die-hard Bushie.  She comes from the Ted Cruz branch of Republicanism and prior to that was an art historian.  She had an earlier connection with Donald Rumsfeld, who left the Bush administration with some acrimony. 

Last time I visited Victoria in Washington in late 2016, Trump was about to be elected, she was confident it would happen, and she was thrilled about it.  She had no offhand sniggers and no superiority complex about setting him straight the way the Washington elites did, and I met plenty of those.  She never so much as hinted she wanted to save Trump from himself, as the essay-writer said he was about.  She seemed to be a fierce loyalist to Trump, with no eye-rolling, well before he was elected, and she understood well why he was going to get elected.

Then there's the Russia-Russia-Russia obsession of this writer, and note that it was brought up in that so-very-recognizable way of Democrats who at the time were bruiting around the Steele dossier and claiming that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.  That in turn morphed into getting a special prosecutor to investigate Trump, and then morphed again into impeaching Trump after the previous efforts failed.  This was the world of Eric Ciaramella, Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill, and that best friend of Ciaramella's in Adam Schiff's office.

To speak of Russia, the last time I saw Victoria, in late 2016, I actually brought up the Russians and asked her if she agreed with Trump's position that it would be a good thing if U.S.-Russian relations improved. In those early days she smiled and said 'sure - it was worth trying,' she would be all in for it if Trump wanted to try it. It didn't sound like it was a terribly interesting topic to her, number one, and two, she wasn't anti-Russia in that hardened, calcified sense you find in many Capitol Hill circles. She was focused on other matters. The Russia stuff was just idle news talk at the time.

This Anonymous character, on the other hand, is intensely focused on Russia, with a Vindman-like obsession, a country which, objectively speaking, is a rival with which the U.S. often has conflicting interests, but cooperates with too, or at least picks up the phone, and doesn't seem to be an imminent war risk. Compared to Iran, China or North Korea, Russia is a lesser league on the danger frontThe Russia-obsesssed Anonymous writer seemed to using Russia as a crutch in his quest to protect America from Trump, an odd thing for someone who's supposed to be all so very informed about national security. 

Anonymous, in that neverTrump fashion, is also status-obsessed. Notice how on the cover of his book, "A Warning" he identifies himself (O.K., it could be 'herself' but I think it's a guy) as a "senior Trump administration official." Victoria is down to earth and would never do that. She would view that as classless and tacky.

I am not privy to Victoria's exact assignment at NSC, but I know she went to work on Israel stuff instead when got her job on the National Security Council in 2017. I kind of felt bad for her for getting that assignment, since I thought she'd be better for Russia or China or one of the bigger portfolios. Nope, Israel, and it was clear she was interested in that. 

The Anonymous writer talks again and again about steadying the ship, and saving Trump from his worse impulses, but think about what went on in the Israel desk during these past three years -- the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the U.S. peace plan for Palestine, the Syria pullout -- radical projects that the foreign policy establishment howled about with a passion, crying that the wolf was at America's door and a whole edifice would tumble and World War III was around the corner. She was clearly on the other side of that because she's the one who enacted such things -- as President Trump wanted, for one -- seemingly the Stephen Miller of the Israel stuff, very successfully, which is why she was promoted.

Here's another thing: She's not a leaker. Since going on the National Security Council she's never spoken to me even once, returned no phone calls, only contact an occasional "like" on social media. If she were going to be one of those, I'd probably be a great person to leak to, but she doesn't do that, she's actually someone who errs on the side of caution.

Now she's accused of being Anonymous? It just makes no sense. More likely, some swamp thing, maybe Anonymous himself, has planted this idea to knock her out. Maybe there are things not being reported, but based on what I know, this makes no sense. Victoria has always been the most loyal and capable of Trump's lieutenants and I have some severe doubts about any talk of Victoria being involved in this at all. More likely, it was a swamp thing out to get her.

In swamp news, deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates is reportedly being pinned by senior officials in the Trump administration as the so-called "Anonymous," the hideous little operative deep within the Trump administration who claimed to be the anti-Trump "resistance" on the inside, brazenly writing an essay in the New York Times to "assure" us that the Trump administration is full of such people.

Here's the Daily Mail's summary:

  • Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates may be reassigned to a position in the Department of Energy from the National Security Council
  • In recent weeks, it has been rumored that Coates is author of anonymous op-ed
  • The infamous op-ed was published in the New York Times in September 2018 
  • Last year, the same Anonymous person published tell-all book called, A Warning
  • Despite the rumors about Coates, she isn't known to disagree with the president's foreign policies, which doesn't make her a good fit for Anonymous 

Since I have known Victoria since the heyday of the early blog years, blogger-to-blogger; have since visited her in Washington; and have seen her around on social media since, I find the whole thing shocking.  Based on what I know of Victoria, I don't believe it.

First, there is the main reason cited by the Daily Mail: that she doesn't disagree with President Trump on foreign policy.  That's true, and she doesn't, not even in private.  She would have to then secretly disagree, I guess, which, based on what I know, isn't her. 

Second, there's the explicit denial from the literary agency that she's Anonymous.  That says something.

Here's the bitter little bureaucrat's "Anonymous" essay, something that doesn't even sound like Victoria, who, unlike this person, is a smooth and elegant writer.

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.

But we believe 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.

That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump's more misguided impulses until he is out of office.

The root of the problem is the president's amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets and free people. At best, he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst, he has attacked them outright.

Oh, the piety about country first, John McCain's slogan.  This person hates Trump on stylistic grounds, the hallmark of a NeverTrump, deluding himself he's concerned about "morals."  Sure enough, he praises John McCain as the model anti-Trump he really wants.  McCain?  Victoria has never brought up McCain; he was never in her intellectual orbit.  She's an art historian, not a McCain-booster. 

Beyond McCain, this person writing sounds as though he longs for the good old days of President Bush, the neocon stuff, the American power thing.  That's not something Victoria is associated with much, either.  Victoria was never one of those people, a die-hard Bushie.  She comes from the Ted Cruz branch of Republicanism and prior to that was an art historian.  She had an earlier connection with Donald Rumsfeld, who left the Bush administration with some acrimony. 

Last time I visited Victoria in Washington in late 2016, Trump was about to be elected, she was confident it would happen, and she was thrilled about it.  She had no offhand sniggers and no superiority complex about setting him straight the way the Washington elites did, and I met plenty of those.  She never so much as hinted she wanted to save Trump from himself, as the essay-writer said he was about.  She seemed to be a fierce loyalist to Trump, with no eye-rolling, well before he was elected, and she understood well why he was going to get elected.

Then there's the Russia-Russia-Russia obsession of this writer, and note that it was brought up in that so-very-recognizable way of Democrats who at the time were bruiting around the Steele dossier and claiming that Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election from Hillary Clinton.  That in turn morphed into getting a special prosecutor to investigate Trump, and then morphed again into impeaching Trump after the previous efforts failed.  This was the world of Eric Ciaramella, Alexander Vindman, Fiona Hill, and that best friend of Ciaramella's in Adam Schiff's office.

To speak of Russia, the last time I saw Victoria, in late 2016, I actually brought up the Russians and asked her if she agreed with Trump's position that it would be a good thing if U.S.-Russian relations improved. In those early days she smiled and said 'sure - it was worth trying,' she would be all in for it if Trump wanted to try it. It didn't sound like it was a terribly interesting topic to her, number one, and two, she wasn't anti-Russia in that hardened, calcified sense you find in many Capitol Hill circles. She was focused on other matters. The Russia stuff was just idle news talk at the time.

This Anonymous character, on the other hand, is intensely focused on Russia, with a Vindman-like obsession, a country which, objectively speaking, is a rival with which the U.S. often has conflicting interests, but cooperates with too, or at least picks up the phone, and doesn't seem to be an imminent war risk. Compared to Iran, China or North Korea, Russia is a lesser league on the danger frontThe Russia-obsesssed Anonymous writer seemed to using Russia as a crutch in his quest to protect America from Trump, an odd thing for someone who's supposed to be all so very informed about national security. 

Anonymous, in that neverTrump fashion, is also status-obsessed. Notice how on the cover of his book, "A Warning" he identifies himself (O.K., it could be 'herself' but I think it's a guy) as a "senior Trump administration official." Victoria is down to earth and would never do that. She would view that as classless and tacky.

I am not privy to Victoria's exact assignment at NSC, but I know she went to work on Israel stuff instead when got her job on the National Security Council in 2017. I kind of felt bad for her for getting that assignment, since I thought she'd be better for Russia or China or one of the bigger portfolios. Nope, Israel, and it was clear she was interested in that. 

The Anonymous writer talks again and again about steadying the ship, and saving Trump from his worse impulses, but think about what went on in the Israel desk during these past three years -- the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, the U.S. peace plan for Palestine, the Syria pullout -- radical projects that the foreign policy establishment howled about with a passion, crying that the wolf was at America's door and a whole edifice would tumble and World War III was around the corner. She was clearly on the other side of that because she's the one who enacted such things -- as President Trump wanted, for one -- seemingly the Stephen Miller of the Israel stuff, very successfully, which is why she was promoted.

Here's another thing: She's not a leaker. Since going on the National Security Council she's never spoken to me even once, returned no phone calls, only contact an occasional "like" on social media. If she were going to be one of those, I'd probably be a great person to leak to, but she doesn't do that, she's actually someone who errs on the side of caution.

Now she's accused of being Anonymous? It just makes no sense. More likely, some swamp thing, maybe Anonymous himself, has planted this idea to knock her out. Maybe there are things not being reported, but based on what I know, this makes no sense. Victoria has always been the most loyal and capable of Trump's lieutenants and I have some severe doubts about any talk of Victoria being involved in this at all. More likely, it was a swamp thing out to get her.