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White House on NYT anonymous essay author: Resigning is the right thing to do

In the past few days, a new book suggested that top advisers were taking documents off President Trump's desk, and an incendiary essay in the New York Times claims that senior officials are thwarting the commander in chief. White House Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp tells John Yang that it’s because of the president’s leadership that the country is more prosperous.

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  • John Yang:

    And now for the view from the White House, we're joined by Mercedes Schlapp, director of strategic communications, who's on the White House North Lawn.

    Mercedes, thanks so much for joining us.

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    Thank you for having me.

  • John Yang:

    In the past three days, two days, we have had a book come out saying that top advisers to the president were taking documents off his desk to keep him from signing them. We now have this essay in The New York Times from someone claiming to be a senior official saying that they are thwarting the president.

    Is this presidency, is this administration under threat from within?

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    No, absolutely not.

    I think those individuals, those of us who spend time with the president on a daily basis are completely focused on pushing forward his policy, his vision for America. And obviously we're seeing the victories.

    And the victories there are very clear. We just saw the manufacturing productivity index come out, the best we have seen in 14 years. We're exceeding expectations in terms of job creation, and as well as wage increases.

    I mean, we're having a winning agenda for America. And so while you have this coward source deciding to write this piece about the president, someone who obviously doesn't have a good understanding of how the president makes his decisions and putting his interests and his ego above the interest of the American people, is just incredibly troubling.

    I have to tell you, I have worked for two presidents.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • John Yang:

    The essay did acknowledge that there were achievements on the economic side and on deregulation by the president and on getting the economy working.

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    Right. And those achievements are from the president.

  • John Yang:

    Right.

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    That's what's so telling, is that you have an individual who this — who has made this decision not to reveal his name, and then basically saying, yes, America is more safe. Yes, America is more prosperous.

    Well, guess who did that? It was because of the work of President Trump. It's because of his leadership and because of his administration and those individuals who are working for him every day.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • John Yang:

    And, last night, last night, the president said that this — the author of this essay must for national security purposes be turned over to the government at once.

    What are — the national security threat present or exemplified by this essay?

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    Well, there's always concern about whether there's classified information being sent out or being leaked.

    At this point, the — the — the organization that knows who this person is, is The New York Times. Obviously, they're — they're the ones that know who this individual is. I think what we need to be looking at right now is the fact that for individuals who are every day working and supporting this president, who know that what his vision is for America, what his accomplishments have been thus far, which has been incredibly successful, it is an honor and — to serve this president, to work for the American people.

    And if you don't believe in this president, then don't work for him. Resign. It is the right thing to do.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • John Yang:

    If there is a national security threat, if there is this threat, as you say, of disclosing classified information, what is the administration doing inside the White House to try to find out who this person is?

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    Look, I'm not going to get into any internal deliberations. And I'm not going to go into hypotheticals.

    All I can say is it's The New York Times who knows who this anonymous is, who this coward is, who this individual who obviously is more concerned about their interest and pretending like they have this moral high ground, without truly understanding what the president is doing day in and day out.

    For those of us who are with the president, who get to see him in action, working with the Republican leadership, working with our coalitions, working with the different Cabinet members, these — we're committed to making sure that the president has the support he needs to make sure that his policies and his agenda are delivered.

    And it has come with great success.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • John Yang:

    You have raised this possibility of classified information being disclosed. I mean, that seems like that's a real threat. And you ought to be — it seems to be the administration would want to find this person.

    Has the president given any directives about trying to find this person?

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    Look, I'm not going to go into any internal deliberations.

    I think, at the end of the day, call The New York Times. Call their opinion page editor. Obviously, the media is very obsessed about who this individual is. They're calling around and trying to see who's denying, who's not denying.

    And so — but this is why they have investigations. And so they will — they will look. The media is going to be one of them to look into it to see if they can find out who this individual is.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • John Yang:

    The denials that came out today, the long list of people who put out statements, was that done for the president's benefit?

    Did he want — was that done so people would let the president know it wasn't them?

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    We were with the president.

    And certain news organizations were reporting that the president was looking at these denials, which is completely false reporting. The president has been in meetings all day. He's been meeting with his staff on a variety of issues, including North Korea.

    And, quite frankly, it was something that we were like, this is not true. And so there is a lot of this false reporting out there on what is — if the president is looking at denials or not, which is absolutely inaccurate.

  • John Yang:

    Very good.

    Mercedes Schlapp at the White House, I'm sorry. We have got to go. We're out of time.

    Thank you very much for coming on.

  • Mercedes Schlapp:

    Thank you so much.

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