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‘Crazy town’ for Trump White House and a growing American political crisis

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Sep 12, 2018 - 3:52:03 PM

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WASHINGTON—In just one week in late August, President Donald J. Trump saw his former campaign chairman and his former personal lawyer convicted of more than a dozen tax and bank fraud felonies; he was publicly shamed at the funeral of former Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who specifically instructed that Mr. Trump not be invited; while his legal liability deepened in court cases involving hush money payments to an adult film star and to a Playboy model.


Omarosa Manigault Newman, the fired former top Black aide in White House, released a tell-all book about her former boss: “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”

Many observers noted that was Mr. Trump’s worst week since taking office.

Then September rolled around. Widely respected Watergate journalist Bob Woodward released a book—“FEAR: Trump in the White House”—reinforcing months of previous reports about chaos in the Trump administration. The book describes an out-of-control operation, with Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly calling the White House a “crazy town.”

Just two days later, The New York Times published an anonymous op-ed it says was written by a senior administration official claiming that a “quiet resistance” is underway seeking to constrain Mr. Trump’s worst impulses, from folks inside the White House. In the extraordinary op-ed, the unnamed official writes, “Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

That may have been Mr. Trump’s worst, worst week.

And there appears to be no end in sight to the scandals and possible constitutional crises facing the president, especially if Democrats win back control of Congress in November. The Robert Mueller Special Counsel investigation into his possible collusion with Russian agents to fix the 2016 vote, and his alleged obstruction of justice to cover up the fraudulent scheme have Mr. Trump busy defending himself rather than governing the country.

“Trump lives on Earth 2,” Dr. Clarence Lusane, chair of the Department of Political Science at Howard University, said in an interview. “When he talks about his response, first of all he lies; then he declares that he’s running in 2020 and he’s going to win. So, he has absolutely no sense whatsoever, that he is in the kind of danger, at least publicly, that he really is in.”

Current Republican members of the Senate, former U.S. presidents, even psychiatrists are now all warning that there are valid reasons for the public to fear that Mr. Trump is—as the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan predicted he would—taking this country “to hell on a rocket ship.”

“I think he’s a disaster,” former President Jimmy Carter told The Washington Post. “In human rights and in treating people equal,” the 39th president said before his wife, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, jumped in to say: “The worst is that he is not telling the truth, and that just hurts everything.”

“Now, some of you may think I’m exaggerating when I say this November’s elections are more important than any I can remember in my lifetime,” former President Barack Obama said about what’s at stake if Republicans continue to have majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate.

“But just a glance at recent headlines should tell you that this moment really is different. The stakes really are higher. The consequences of any of us sitting on the sidelines are more dire. And it’s not as if we haven’t had big elections before or big choices to make in our history. The fact is, democracy has never been easy, and our Founding Fathers argued about everything. We waged a civil war. We overcame depression. We’ve lurched from eras of great progressive change to periods of retrenchment,” Mr. Obama said Sept. 7 in an address to the University of Illinois.

Mr. Trump’s aides say they are worried Mr. Obama might get into the president’s head before the upcoming midterm elections, causing him to commit a pre-election-day blunder, as Mr. Trump views Mr. Obama as much more of a threat than other Democrats, this according to Politico. The president is insecure about Mr. Obama’s more positive media coverage and “adulation,” which only further fuels his belief that he is unfairly treated by the press.

Politico reports that an anonymous New York Times op-ed is also fuelling the president’s paranoia by handing him proof that members of his own team are working against him, according to interviews with more than a dozen Republicans, including nine senators. “It kind of reinforces his message out there that there’s a bunch of folks here embedded in the Washington bureaucracy that are out to get him. I’m not sure it accomplishes what the folks behind it think it does,” said Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of GOP leadership.

“What this person did is badly hurt the effort to rein in Trump and it will make him crazy,” a Republican close to the White House told Politico. “Now, if you say to the president, ‘I see where you’re heading, but I’m not sure about that’ he’s going to think, ‘Ah, you wrote that.’ ”

“I don’t have any desire to beat this president up, but it’s pretty clear that this White House is a reality-show, soap-opera presidency,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” running through a list of the more incendiary reports that have put the White House on the defensive in recent months, including several anonymous accounts detailing dissent and subversion in the administration.

Meanwhile, thousands of mental health professionals agree with Mr. Woodward and the New York Times op-ed author that Mr. Trump is dangerous, this according to Bandy X. Lee, assistant clinical professor, Yale School of Medicine, in an article for The

“None of this is a surprise to those of us who, 18 months ago, put together our own public service book, ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President,’ ” Professor Lee wrote. Mr. Woodward’s new book, “Fear,” describes a “nervous breakdown of Trump’s presidency.” Earlier this year, Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury” offered a similar portrayal. Now, things are getting worse, the mental professionals feel.

“My current concern is that we are already witnessing a further unraveling of the president’s mental state, especially as the frequency of his lying increases and the fervor of his rallies intensifies. I am concerned that his mental challenges could cause him to take unpredictable and potentially extreme and dangerous measures to distract from his legal problems,” Prof. Lee wrote.

“We really are in a crisis, where all of those folks, we really do have a dysfunctional, dangerous administration, and someone who’s in charge who, all of the adjectives that people have said—he’s impulsive, and vindictive, and kind of all of that—continues to be in power,” said Dr. Lusane. “So, I think this anonymous letter, for whatever personal elements might be there—and I think it probably is someone trying to make sure they cover themselves.

“It is a cry for help. It is like an alarm bell saying the country is on a dangerous footing. Now one of the issues about why did they release this at this particular time, I suspect it may be Trump’s willingness to do something so extreme, that this was to put him on notice, and have some pushback.

“As Woodward reports in his book, time and time and time again, his staff—and these are Trump people. These are not Pelosi types. These are Trump people, so shocked and so scared that they intervened to stop him at all costs. I think that it may be that Trump was getting ready to do something so large, so extreme, so dangerous, that there was a push to get this letter out, and to expose, what had already been rumored out there, that there are people in the administration,” said Dr. Lusane.

In the op-ed, the unnamed official writes, “Many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.” The author goes on to write, “Ours is not the popular ‘resistance’ of the left. 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 op-ed’s author calls Mr. Trump impulsive, erratic, ill-informed and reckless, with “half-baked” ideas. The author claims members of the President’s Cabinet discussed invoking the constitution’s 25th Amendment but later decided against it. The amendment allows for the removal of a president who’s unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office.

The cascade of defections and betrayals of this president by his own senior staff may be a sign that the end is near, just as happened among Nazis in Germany toward the end of World War II, according to Dr. Lusane.

“Now in 1944, in Germany, as it was clear that the allies were winning, there were people in Hitler’s camp who started leaking information to the Allies. And this was so that when the trials came—because they saw the end game—that they would have some plausible excuse. So I think some of that is going on.

“People see,” said Dr. Lusane. “They know more than you and I know what’s going on in the White House, and how dangerous and mentally unstable this president may be. And it’s not going to end well.

“So, if you’ve been in there and you’re looking for a way to sort of save your legacy, I think that might be some of what is going on as well. But these are not people who are part of the left resistance against Trump by any stretch at all, but they’re alarmed by just the dangerousness of this guy.”

Critics of the administration seized on the latest issues as more proof that Donald Trump is unfit for office. Others criticized The New York Times for taking the rare step of publishing an anonymous op-ed and said the unnamed official should step forward publicly. Journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept tweeted, “The irony in the op-ed from the NYT’s anonymous WH coward is glaring and massive: s/he accuses Trump of being ‘anti-democratic’ while boasting of membership in an unelected cabal that covertly imposes their own ideology with zero democratic accountability, mandate or transparency.”