As many speculate over the identity of the anonymous alleged “senior official in the Trump administration” who authored a scathing New York Times op-ed about President Donald Trump, some are focusing on a one-word clue that points to Vice President Mike Pence as the culprit. In the essay, the author hails the late Arizona Sen. John McCain as “a lodestar for restoring honor to public life and our national dialogue.” The archaic word—which Merriam-Webster defines as “a star that leads or guides” or a person who “serves as an inspiration, model, or guide”—happens to be one that Pence uses often, as evidenced by a compilation video making the rounds on Twitter.
Pence’s communications director has taken the surprising step of openly shutting down the wide speculation that the vice president is behind the op-ed. “The Vice President puts his name on his Op-Eds,” Jarrod Agen tweeted. “The @nytimes should be ashamed and so should the person who wrote the false, illogical, and gutless op-ed. Our office is above such amateur acts.”
But some on Twitter are not convinced.
The “lodestar” hashtag is trending after audio producer Dan Bloom explained his suspicions about Pence in a Twitter thread.
Others believe the clue could be a red herring—or even a frame job.
Business Insider pointed out that one anonymous White House leaker told Axios earlier this year that “to cover my tracks, I usually pay attention to other staffers’ idioms and use that in my background quotes. That throws the scent off me.”