Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday said he would take a lie detector test as part of a potential White House effort to identify the anonymous writer of a New York Times op-ed describing an alleged “resistance” movement within the Trump administration.
During an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Pence doubled down on his calls for the unnamed author, a senior official in the Trump administration, to resign. He said he did not know the writer’s identity, but would agree to being polygraphed about the op-ed “in a heartbeat and would submit to any review [by] the administration.”
“Every senior official in any administration takes an oath to the Constitution,” Pence said. “The Constitution of the United States vests all executive power in the president of the United States.”
He continued: “To have an individual who took that oath ― literally say that they work every day to frustrate the president advancing the agenda he was elected to advance ― is undemocratic. It’s not just deceitful, but it’s really an assault on our democracy. And that person should do the honorable thing, step forward and resign.”
In the explosive op-ed, published Wednesday, the unnamed author describes being one of several staffers under President Donald Trump working to undermine his agenda.
Trump on Friday urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate the Times op-ed as a matter of “national security.”
A day earlier, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) raised eyebrows when he told reporters that the White House should require officials with security clearances to take a polygraph test, also known as a lie detector test, to help determine who wrote the incendiary op-ed.
“I think if you have a security clearance in the White House, I think it would be acceptable to use a lie detector test and ask people whether they are talking to the media against the policy of the White House,” Paul said.
There has been unrelenting speculation about the author’s identity since the op-ed’s publication last week. Some readers have suggested Pence wrote the piece, which includes the word “lodestar” ― an uncommon term frequently used by the vice president.
Pence has vehemently denied writing the op-ed. When asked Sunday if he believed the anonymous author used “lodestar” to set him up, Pence said he “wouldn’t know.”
“It’s all an effort to distract attention from this booming economy and from the president’s record of success,” he said.