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President Donald Trump, sitting next to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, speaks during a working lunch with ambassadors of countries on the UN Security Council and their spouses on Monday, April 24, 2017, in the State Dining Room of the White House. File/Susan Walsh/AP

WASHINGTON — United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley denied involvement Friday in the recent New York Times op-ed by an anonymous senior Trump administration official and slammed the unknown author for publicly criticizing President Donald Trump.

In an op-ed, the former South Carolina governor said the mysterious official is sowing mistrust within the government, distracting from the administration's work and taking a "cowardly" approach by withholding their identity.

Haley, who has occasionally differed with Trump herself on issues like Russia policy and treatment of alleged sexual assault victims, said she enthusiastically supports most of the administration's decisions and takes any disagreements she has directly to Trump.

"If the author is frustrated by an inability to persuade the president, then he or she is free to resign," Haley wrote.

Haley's commentary sought to end speculation from some publications in recent days that she could have been behind the explosive New York Times piece, which suggested that officials within the administration are secretly working to thwart the president's prerogatives.

Adding to the speculation, the anonymous op-ed specifically mentioned foreign policy, contrasting Trump's openness to Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un with the more aggressive way other Trump administration agencies have handled them.

"From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions," the anonymous Trump administration official wrote. "Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims."

Many other top administration officials have denied writing the op-ed in the past two days, and it has drawn bipartisan condemnation.

In a speech Friday in Illinois, former President Barack Obama said having people inside the White House secretly disobey the president is not a proper check on power. 

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“That’s not how our democracy’s supposed to work," Obama said. 

Like many other Republican officials, Haley's cooperation with Trump in the first two years of his administration has marked a sharp turn from the criticism she directed at him during the 2016 GOP presidential primary.

As Haley begins her month as president of the United Nations Security Council, she has emphasized that she is working closely with the president to advance his goals.

"As a former governor, I find it absolutely chilling to imagine that a high-ranking member of my team would secretly try to thwart my agenda," Haley wrote Friday. "That is not the American way. It is fundamentally disloyal, not just to the chief executive, but to our country and our values."

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

Jamie Lovegrove is a political reporter covering the South Carolina statehouse and congressional delegation. He previously covered Texas politics in Washington for The Dallas Morning News and in Austin for the Texas Tribune.