TRUMP IN ‘COMPLETE MELTDOWN’ AFTER BOMBSHELL ARTICLE IN NYT

DONALD Trump has reacted furiously to a bombshell article in the New York Times, which revealed “many senior officials” in his own administration are “working from within” to undermine his agenda.

The newspaper took the extraordinary step of publishing an anonymous piece from one such official, saying the author’s “job would be jeopardised” if their identity were revealed.

“We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to readers,” the Times said.

Mr Trump has repeatedly complained about anonymous sources criticising him in the media.

He labelled the anonymous op-ed “gutless” in a scathing response.

“We have somebody in what I call the failing New York Times that’s talking about, he’s part of the resistance inside the Trump administration. This is what we have to deal with. And you know the dishonest media. But it’s really a disgrace,” the president said.

“Can you believe it? Anonymous, meaning gutless. A gutless editorial.”

Mr Trump called for the author to turn themselves in.

One person close to the White House described the president’s mood behind closed doors as “volcanic”, according to NBC reporter Hallie Jackson.

“People have told me he is having a complete meltdown at the White House right now. He’s not sure who he can trust and he wants to fire everyone, except his family,” claimed Scott Dworkin, a Democratic strategist.

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US President Donald Trump. Pic: AFP

US President Donald Trump. Pic: AFPSource:AFP

The article in question paints a picture of a petty and “amoral” president whose behaviour is so alarming it has driven his own hand-picked appointees to mutiny.

“The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that 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 anonymous official writes.

“I would know. I am one of them.”

While they agree with some of Mr Trump’s policies and “want the administration to succeed”, the official believes “our first duty is to this country”.

“The president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic. 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.”

“The root of the problem is the president’s amorality,” the official says, describing Mr Trump’s instincts as “anti-trade and anti-democratic”.

They concede the administration has enjoyed some achievements, including tax reform and deregulation.

“But these successes have come despite, not because of, the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective,” the official writes.

“From the White House to executive branch departments and agencies, senior officials will privately admit their daily disbelief at the commander in chief’s comments and actions. Most are working to insulate their operations from his whims.

“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.”

Mr Trump outside the Oval Office. Pic: AP

Mr Trump outside the Oval Office. Pic: APSource:AP

The author claims there are “unsung heroes” inside the White House — senior aides who have “gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing”.

They also say there have been “whispers” among Mr Trump’s cabinet appointees of invoking the 25th Amendment, a mechanism through which he could be removed from office and replaced by the Vice President, Mike Pence.

Mr Pence and a majority of the cabinet would need to declare Mr Trump unable to “discharge the powers and duties of his office”. Then, if Mr Trump disputed their judgment, the matter would go to a vote in the House and Senate, where two-thirds of each chamber would have to vote to remove him.

So, why hasn’t that happened? Because it’s a longshot, and being unprecedented, would almost certainly spark legal chaos.

“No one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis,” the official says. “So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.”

The radical move to get rid of Mr Trump is unlikely to happen. Pic: AFP

The radical move to get rid of Mr Trump is unlikely to happen. Pic: AFPSource:AFP

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders echoed her boss’s scathing reaction to the article, calling on the anonymous official to quit.

“He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign,” Ms Sanders said.

A few unlikely sources reinforced that critique — albeit for different reasons — as America digested the New York Times piece.

“The author of the anonymous op-ed is hoping to vindicate the reputation of like-minded senior Trump staffers ‘See, we only look complicit! Actually, we’re the real heroes of the story.’ But what the author has just done is throw the government of the United States into even more dangerous turmoil,” wrote David Frum, one of Mr Trump’s most consistent critics, in The Atlantic.

Mr Frum labelled it a “cowardly coup from within the administration” that will only “inflame the president’s paranoia”.

“(Mr Trump) will grow more defiant, more reckless, more anti-constitutional, and more dangerous.

“What would be better? Speak in your name. Resign in a way that will count. Present the evidence that will justify an invocation of the 25th Amendment, or an impeachment.”

Conservative commentator Amanda Carpenter, another frequent Trump critic, said the article was a “cry for help”.

“But the truth is also that you signed up to go help Donald Trump, and I think it’s frankly unseemly to go and do this behind his back,” Ms Carpenter told CNN.

NBC host Nicole Wallace called the whole thing “BS”.

“They want credit,” Ms Wallace said. “They want medals. They want to be held out as protectors of civility. It’s BS.”

The anonymous article comes on the heels of similar revelations from an upcoming book by Watergate reporter Bob Woodward.

Citing sources inside the Trump administration, Mr Woodward describes measurestaken by senior officials to defy the president’s orders.

For example, when Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own people, Mr Trump was on the warpath.

“Let’s f***ing kill him! Let’s go in. Let’s kill the f***ing lot of them,” he reportedly told his Defence Secretary, General James Mattis.

When he hung up the phone, Gen Mattis told an aide: “We’re not going to do any of that.”

The administration ended up launching an air strike, but did not, as Mr Trump put it, “kill the lot of them”.

Mr Woodward also claims the president’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, “stole” documents off Mr Trump’s desk to prevent him from signing them.

“I wouldn’t let him see it. He’s never going to see that document. Got to protect the country,” Mr Cohn reportedly said after one such incident.

Bob Woodward’s book, Fear. Pic: AP

Bob Woodward’s book, Fear. Pic: APSource:AP

Several of the senior staffers quoted in Mr Woodward’s book, including Gen Mattis, have denied the allegations. The president himself has suggested the stories are “made up”, saying Mr Woodward has “a lot of credibility problems”.

However, unlike Michael Wolff and Omarosa Manigault-Newman — the two authors of previous books that claimed to reveal damaging accounts from inside the administration — Mr Woodward has a reputation for fastidiousness and accuracy.

The respected journalist is best known for breaking the story that brought down President Richard Nixon.

He says the information within his book is drawn from hundreds of hours of interviews — many of them taped — along with notes, diaries and government documents.

You can probably add today’s New York Times piece to the stack of supporting evidence.

– News.com.au

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