President Donald Trump sternly defended the work of his administration on Wednesday, rebuking the anonymous author of a piece in the New York Times which bluntly said that top officials were doing all they could to keep the President from making major errors in judgment.
"Can you believe it? Anonymous. Meaning gutless - a gutless editorial," the President said to reporters gathered for an event involving Mr. Trump and a group of sheriffs at the White House.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders labeled the author a 'coward,' saying the person who wrote the piece, "should do the right thing and resign."
"The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support the duly elected President of the United States," Sanders wrote in a statement sent to reporters, which echoed the President's attacks on the "failing" New York Times.
The story, which the New York Times said came from a senior administration official, tracked some of what had been reported in a new book by Bob Woodward, relating stories of staffers doing their best to keep President Trump in line.
"The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations," the anonymous person wrote about the President.
In an editor's note, the New York Times said it knew the person's identity.
"We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers."
Dropping as it did in the midst of a confirmation hearing for President Trump's pick for the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, it spurred a lengthy round of speculation on who might have written it, and why.
"SABOTEUR INSIDE WHITE HOUSE," blared the headline on the Drudge Report.
Both the President and the White House said the article was part of a broader political effort to obscure successes under the Trump Administration.
"We're doing a great job," the President told reporters. "The poll numbers are through the roof, our poll numbers are great, and guess what? Nobody's going to come even close to beating me in 2020, because of what we've done."
"We've done more than anybody ever thought possible, and it's not even two years."
Earlier, the President had blasted the Woodward book, which painted an unflattering picture of the inner workings of the White House.
"It's just more fiction," Mr. Trump told reporters. "The book is total fiction."