In his first television appearance since revealing himself to be Anonymous, the author of anti-Trump writings, Miles Taylor told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday why he lied about his identity during an August interview with Anderson Cooper.
Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff, joined CNN as a contributor in September. Since Taylor admitted he was Anonymous on Wednesday, President Donald Trump has called upon the news network to fire Taylor. Cuomo called Taylor out for lying to Cooper during the Wednesday interview.
“When asked by Anderson whether I was Anonymous during that time period, I said what I was going to do,” Taylor said. “I temporarily denied it. But I’ve always said I would ultimately come out under my own name.”
“That said, I owe Anderson Cooper a beer, I owe him a mea culpa, and the same thing for other reporters who at the same time period asked me, ‘Are you Anonymous?’ and I said no,” Taylor added.
During his August interview with Cooper, Taylor denied that he was Anonymous. “I wear a mask for two things, Anderson,” Taylor said. “Halloween and pandemics. So, no.”
Taylor’s book A Warning, which was released in 2019, purported to reveal some of the inner workings of the Trump administration. Taylor claimed that many of Trump’s cabinet members attempted to prevent Trump from carrying through with detrimental policies. While writing under the Anonymous pen name, Taylor was described as a “senior administration official,” prompting some observers to guess at Anonymous’s true identity. Taylor said Wednesday that he released the book without attribution in order to force Trump to respond to his allegations.
“We have seen over the course of four years that Donald Trump’s preference is to find personal attacks and distractions to pull people away from criticisms of his record,” Taylor said. “I wrote that work anonymously to deprive him of that opportunity and to force him to answer the questions on their merits.”
At a Wednesday campaign event in Arizona, Trump claimed that Taylor had never worked in the White House. “Anonymous was a nobody, a disgruntled employee who was quickly removed from his job a long time ago for, they tell me, incompetence,” the president said.
“I’ll tell you what,” he added, “this guy, in my opinion, he should be prosecuted.”
After leaving the DHS in April 2019, Taylor accepted a position as Google’s head of national security policy engagement. Google faced criticism for hiring Taylor from some members of the U.S. House of Representatives who took issue with Taylor’s past support of both a Muslim travel ban and an immigration policy that separated migrant children from their families.
Although professing to still be a Republican, Taylor took a leave of absence from the tech company in August in order to campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.
Newsweek reached out to the Trump re-election campaign for comment.