Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly’s presence in the White House could be the only thing standing between President Donald Trump and nuclear war, according to an MSNBC report.
The explosive allegations came during an episode of The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, which aired on Wednesday. O’Donnell conducted an in-depth interview with special correspondent Gabriel Sherman, of Vanity Fair, who broke the original story.
According to Sherman, White House sources close to the president told him that Trump had become so unstable that even staunch Trump supporter and former White House strategist Steve Bannon warned him that he could be ousted under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution. The 25th Amendment allows the president to be removed from office, without impeachment, if it is decided he is unfit to perform his duties.
The unnamed sources reportedly also told Sherman that Trump’s mental capacity had worsened to the point where the president was calling people in the middle of the night with rambling conversations, where he constantly repeated himself. The report also cited sudden, angry outbursts from Trump, in addition to a deteriorating relationship with Kelly.
There is now conjecture that Kelly could be next on Trump’s chopping block, although the retired general said that he is not being fired and has no plans to leave his post, during a press conference on Thursday. Kelly’s rare appearance conducting his own press conference seemed aimed more at addressing his White House tenure than reports of a president in the throes of approaching insanity.
Kelly did, however, refer to his position as “the hardest job I’ve ever had. This is, in my view, the most important job I ever had.”
Sherman said there was speculation that Kelly and Mattis would “tackle” Trump if he tried to order a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea. Sherman also suggested during the interview that a situation could arise where the president might need to be physically restrained. One member on the panel of MSNBC commentators even alluded to Trump himself being a risk to national security, due to his alleged erratic behavior.
This incredible report comes during a time of heightened saber-rattling between the U.S. and North Korea. The hermit nation recently said that Trump “lit the wick of war,” in reference to statements the president made during a September address to the United Nations General Assembly.
If these reports are accurate, this would be the first time in known recent history that the possibility of removing a sitting president on grounds of mental instability has been floated. In fact, the last known instance of an action to remove a president by means other than impeachment was the alleged coup attempt on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
There has also been a clear splintering among key Republican members of Congress over support for the Trump Administration’s agenda. The latest rift opened between Trump and the chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).
Corker accused Trump of trying to start World War III with his continuing threats against North Korea. Corker’s defection is the latest among a growing list of Republican congressmen who have signaled a break with the White House, for one reason or another.
Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake have publicly broken ranks from the Trump White House, with McCain being instrumental in killing a GOP attempt at revamping the Affordable Care Act. Other high-profile members who have opposed Trump include Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has crossed swords with the president on occasions.
Despite the divergence of several Republican congressmen over Trump policies, he is not without powerful supporters of his own, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Trump also continues to enjoy a huge amount of support from his considerable base.
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