Opinion article published in the New York Times claims top people in the White House are working to thwart the president. According to Bob Woodward new book, WH staff defines him as a “fifth- or sixth-grader” and an idiot.
Members of President Donald Trump’s cabinet discussed using a constitutional measure to remove him from office early in his tenure because of his “instability”, according to claims by an senior official writing anonymously in The New York Times. In a rare anonymous opinion article, the official said there had been “early whispers” about invoking the 25th amendment — a complex process allowing cabinet officials to ask Congress to remove the president — but that cabinet members ultimately decided against that path because it would have sparked a constitutional crisis. Instead, the author said many senior officials were working to “frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations” due to concerns about the president’s “amorality”.
“We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous. But we believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic,” the official wrote. “That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
Mr Trump responded with a one-word message on Twitter — “TREASON?” — and then said that if the “gutless anonymous person” existed, The New York Times should turn them over to the government “at once” for national security reasons. Sarah Sanders, White House press secretary, earlier called for the resignation of the author, whom she described as a “coward”. The publication of the anonymous opinion piece came just days before the release of Fear: Trump in the White House, a critical look at Mr Trump by Bob Woodward, the veteran Washington Post journalist whose reporting with Carl Bernstein helped to lead to the resignation of Richard Nixon as US president.
According to a Washington Post account of the book, which will be released next week, Jim Mattis, defence secretary, referred to Mr Trump as a “fifth- or sixth-grader” following a meeting about North Korea. John Kelly, White House chief of staff, also reportedly described the administration as “Crazytown” and referred to Mr Trump as an “idiot” who had “gone off the rails”. Both men denied making such statements. The Woodward book described incidents in which top aides hid information from Mr Trump to prevent him from making reckless decisions. The official writing in The New York Times also painted a devastating picture of chaos inside the White House.
“Meetings with him veer off topic and off the rails, he engages in repetitive rants, and his impulsiveness results in half-baked, ill-informed and occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back,” the official wrote. Mr Trump has repeatedly referred to anonymous criticisms and leaks as being the work of the “deep state”. In The New York Times opinion article, however, the official described the senior government employees working to rein in the president as part of the “steady state”. “It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room,” the official said.
“We fully recognise what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.” Mr Trump denied on Wednesday that he was contemplating replacing Mr Mattis, who is frequently described by critics of the president as one of the “adults” in his team. The president pointed to Mr Mattis’s statement that the Woodward book was “fiction”. The Woodward book and The New York Times opinion piece are just the latest claims about chaos inside the White House. Last year, in Fire and Fury, the author Michael Wolff described a tumultuous White House and suggested Mr Trump had mental health problems — claims that prompted the president to say he is a “very stable genius”.