The author of the explosive new book on the Trump administration has claimed that “the 25th Amendment is a concept that is alive every day in the White House”.
Journalist Michael Wolff’s searing assessment of Donald Trump’s presidency has raised questions about the President’s fitness to serve, and prompted some to consider a “25th Amendment solution”. The amendment allows for the removal of a president if the vice president and a majority of the cabinet deem him physically or mentally unable to perform his duties.
Mr Wolff said members of the Trump White House speak openly about the option, saying things like: “We’re not at a 25th Amendment level yet,” or “Ok, this is a little 25th Amendment”.
“This, is I think, not an exaggeration and it’s not unreasonable to say: This is 25th Amendment kind of stuff,” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd.
Mr Wolff’s book, Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, paints an unflattering portrait of Mr Trump, claiming the President’s staff – and even his family members – regard him as “like a child”.
Asked by Mr Todd if he omitted positive anecdotes about the President from his book, the author replied: “If I left out anything, it’s probably stuff that was even more damning.”
Mr Wolff, however, maintained that it was not his initial intention to write a book critical of Mr Trump.
“I would have been delighted to have written a contrarian account here: Donald Trump, this unexpected President is actually going to succeed,” Mr Wolff said. ”Ok, that’s not the story. He’s not going to succeed. This is worse than everyone thought.”
Mr Wolff says his book is based on more than 200 interviews with the President and his senior staff over an 18-month period. The White House has repeatedly denied this, with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders claiming the author “made up a lot of stories to try to sell books”.
Stephen Miller, a White House policy adviser, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that the President is “a political genius”.
Even Steve Bannon, the former White House strategist who is quoted extensively in the book, walked back his comments calling a Trump campaign meeting with a Russian lawyer “unpatriotic” and “treasonous” on Sunday.
“My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate,” he told Axios, referring to the former Trump campaign manager. “He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr.”
Mr Trump slammed Mr Bannon after his negative comments surfaced last week, claiming the former top aide has “lost his mind”. He did not respond to Mr Bannon’s apology on Sunday, but did lash out again at Mr Wolff and his book.
“I’ve had to put up with the Fake News from the first day I announced that I would be running for President. Now I have to put up with a Fake Book, written by a totally discredited author,” he tweeted. “Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I!”
Mr Trump previously defended himself on Twitter as a “very stable genius” and “like, really smart”.
British Prime Minister Theresa May dismissed concerns about Mr Trump’s mental state after the book’s publication, saying the President would still be visiting the UK in the future.
“I deal with President Trump. What I see is somebody who is committed to ensuring he is taking decisions in the best interests of the United States,” Ms May told BBC’s Andrew Marr.
But the conversation around the 25th Amendment has circulated on Capitol Hill even before the book’s publication. Congress members summoned an Ivy League psychiatrist to Washington to discuss Mr Trump’s mental fitness last month, according to Politico. The psychiatrist, Yale University psychiatry professor Bandy X Lee, told legislators that the President is “going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs”.
Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin has proposed a bill to set up a Congressional body to evaluate the President’s fitness for office. The bill now has 56 co-sponsors.
After Mr Trump tweeted about having a bigger “nuclear button” than North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, more than 100 medical professionals signed a letter saying they were “deeply concerned” about the President’s “psychological aberrations”.
“We urge that those around him, and our elected representatives in general, take urgent steps to restrain his behaviour and head off the potential nuclear catastrophe that endangers not only Korea and the United States but all of humankind,” they wrote.
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