President Donald Trump initially wrote just one word in response to the member of his administration who wrote an anonymous op-ed for the New York Times on Wednesday. And he didn’t even seem sure that it was the right word.
That word is “TREASON,” which Trump punctuated in his tweet with a question mark.
TREASON?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
The Times op-ed, written by a Republican official, lauds efforts of the administration to move conservative policy forward while blasting Trump as a “reckless” leader.
But despite Trump’s gut reaction, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) quickly pointed out that the piece does not actually qualify as treason under the Constitution’s definition.
Lindsey Graham just responded to Trump's treason tweet on CNN: "This is not treason under the Constitution."— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 5, 2018
Vox confirmed this with an in-depth explainer. Basically, to be treasonous, the op-ed author would have had to levy war against the U.S. or provide help to a foreign entity already at war with the U.S., neither of which were accomplished by the essay.
Twitter, meanwhile, has already appropriated “TREASON?” for various meme purposes.
The President of the United States yells “TREASON?” into an uncaring void.— Narrated President (@NarratedPOTUS) September 5, 2018
TREASON? pic.twitter.com/ANXpNfuaPH— 70s Dinner Party (@70s_party) September 5, 2018
Treason? pic.twitter.com/zYOELlOIrT— Ryan Sloane (@RyanFSloane) September 5, 2018
data scientist: well actually, I've never really done any sort of data analysis or data engineering – all of the files were cleaned, structured, and reformatted for me— 👩💻 Paige Bailey #BlackLivesMatter (@DynamicWebPaige) September 5, 2018
TREASON? pic.twitter.com/TM4gHtPznw— Amanda Guinzburg (@Guinz) September 5, 2018
Trump followed up his “TREASON?” tweet with another questioning whether the op-ed author was really just a “phony source.” If not, he demanded, the author must come forward “for National Security purposes.”
Does the so-called “Senior Administration Official” really exist, or is it just the Failing New York Times with another phony source? If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018