Miles Taylor, the former Trump administration official who penned an anonymous New York Times opinion piece criticizing the president, is no longer working at Google, according to a company document seen by BuzzFeed News.
Taylor, who served as both deputy chief of staff and chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, was hired last year by Google following his departure from the Trump administration. His hiring inspired backlash within the company as Google employees questioned why the search and advertising giant employed an individual who defended government policies its own executives had opposed.
Last week — when Taylor revealed he was the person behind the anonymous 2018 Times op-ed and a subsequent book — a Google spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that he was still an employee, but on unpaid leave. The spokesperson said last week that the company was previously unaware of his role as the unnamed Times op-ed writer and that it only found out via media reports.
Taylor was active in backing former Vice President Joe Biden for the presidency, joining former Trump administration officials in condemning President Dnoald Trump.
“We can confirm that Miles is no longer an employee of Google,” a company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in a statement. “He’s been on personal leave since August, and has decided to pursue his other interests outside the company.”
Taylor did not respond to a request for comment.
Taylor — who previously argued in favor of what he called a “tough” but “tailored” version of a controversial Trump administration rule that barred visitors from six Muslim-majority countries — joined Google following heavy criticism of the travel ban from the company’s senior leadership and cofounders. In January 2017, following the announcement of the original travel ban, Google cofounder Sergey Brin joined protesters at San Francisco International Airport to protest the policy, while Google CEO Sundar Pichai pointedly voiced his displeasure on Twitter and in an email to staff.
After a BuzzFeed News story on Taylor’s hiring as head of national security policy engagement, Google executives attempted to assuage employees’ worries. During an all-hands meeting at Google’s Mountain View, California headquarters last year, Vice President of Public Affairs and Public Policy Karan Bhatia spoke to employees. Ahead of that discussion, the company removed inquiries about Taylor from an internal system that allows employees to ask questions of their leaders.
“I’ll say that the press reports that you will have seen contain a number of important inaccuracies in them,” Bhatia said, appearing to reference BuzzFeed News’ earlier reporting. “First of all, he was not involved in the formation of the travel ban — the Muslim ban. He was not in the administration when the ban was issued.”
BuzzFeed News did not report that Taylor had helped to draft the travel ban, which barred visitors from six majority-Muslim countries in early 2017. Instead, it noted his public defense of a subsequent iteration of the policy as a DHS official later that year.
Taylor was part of a group close to then DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
Nielsen’s tenure at DHS oversaw massive upheavals of the immigration system, including efforts to deny permanent residency to immigrants who officials believe are likely to use public benefits, a “zero tolerance” policy at the border that led to families being separated, and pushing asylum-seekers into Mexico during immigration proceedings, known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
Last year, BuzzFeed News obtained internal emails through the Freedom of Information Act that showed Taylor’s key role in coordinating the messaging of family separation efforts with Nielsen and Chad Wolf, now the acting head of DHS. In one May 2018 email, Nielsen asked Taylor and Wolf to provide “narratives” days after a caravan of Central American immigrants had made its way to the US–Mexico border in Tijuana.
An internal document seen by BuzzFeed News confirming his departure noted that “Miles Taylor’s hiring at Google caused headlines and internal controversy.”