On Wednesday, Taylor said he felt a duty to voters to drop the pseudonym and end one of the major lines of criticism levied against his writings.
“Issuing my critiques without attribution forced the President to answer them directly on their merits or not at all, rather than creating distractions through petty insults and name-calling,” Taylor wrote in a statement posted on Medium. “I wanted the attention to be on the arguments themselves.”
Under the Anonymous moniker, Taylor penned a 2018 New York Times op-ed claiming to be “part of the resistance inside the Trump administration,” an essay that set off a torrent within the White House and other parts of the federal government to root out the individual and other members of the so-called Deep State.
After the editorial was first published, Trump called the author “gutless” for doing so under the cloak of anonymity and unleashed a series of attacks against Anonymous and the newspaper for publishing it, including floating the idea that the person was treasonous.
Taylor as Anonymous later parlayed that into a book released last year titled “A Warning,” which quickly became a bestseller. Trump officials shrugged off the book prior to its release as merely a collection of previously reported episodes. But its impact was blunted by critical reviews — including in The Times — and diminished in importance as a constellation of disaffected former aides and others in Trump’s orbit have published scathing accounts of their experiences without cloaking their names.
Guessing Anonymous’ true identity became a political parlor game in some circles, echoing the speculation of the author of the 1996 roman à clef “Primary Colors” and Watergate informant Deep Throat. (They have since been revealed to be political reporter Joe Klein and Associate FBI Director Mark Felt, respectively.)
However, the guessing game and amateur sleuthing put unwanted attention on a number of top officials whom some suspected to be the author. Cabinet secretaries and others publicly denied being Anonymous.
As Anonymous, Taylor said the pivotal event that turned him off of Trump was when the president balked at ordering the American flag to be lowered to half-staff after Sen. John McCain died in August 2018. (They later were, in tribute to the senator and war hero.)
In his statement on Wednesday, Taylor denied using anonymity as a way to gin up sales interest in his writings — one of the charges frequently levied against Klein and his fictionalized account of the Bill Clinton campaign — saying he “declined a hefty monetary advance and pledged to donate the bulk of the proceeds.
“I’ve tried to convey as best I can — based on my own experience — how Donald Trump has made America less safe, less certain of its identity and destiny, and less united,” Taylor wrote.