Friday 24 May 2019

'President is not well mentally,' says ethics chief


U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young
U.S. President Donald Trump. Photo: REUTERS/Jim Young

Tom Embury-Dennis

A former White House ethics chief has insisted Donald Trump must be removed from office because the president is "not well at all mentally".

Richard Painter, who was George W Bush's ethics lawyer between 2005 and 2007, said that Mr Trump's national emergency declaration over illegal immigration was "clearly illegal" and a product of the president's state of mind.

"The president is not well at all mentally. I think he's an extreme narcissist," Mr Painter told cable network MSNBC.

"He has been denied what he wants, his wall, and he is having a hissy fit," said Mr Painter.

"He is out of control, and he will not take no for an answer from Congress.

"And he's going do this. He is going to insist on doing it.

"He is going to tear the country apart. It's unconstitutional, it's illegal.

"He is going to do enormous damage to the Republican Party which is going to split right down the middle over this, and we really need to keep in mind that this is because the president is not well."

Mr Painter cited Mr Trump's belief of Vladimir Putin over US intelligence officials as evidence of his irrationality.

"He is not capable of doing the job," he added. "He does need to be removed under the 25th amendment, but he stocked his cabinet with people who are unwilling to do that, and Congress is apparently unwilling to even try to remove him through impeachment."

The 25th amendment to the US constitution allows the president to be replaced in the event of death, removal, resignation or incapacitation.

On Monday, a coalition of 16 US states, led by California, sued the Trump administration over last week's emergency declaration giving the president powers to allocate federal funds for segments of a barrier across the US-Mexico border.

The move came after Congress refused to grant Mr Trump the $5.7bn (€5.03bn) he initially demanded in wall funding, a row which led to a record 35-day government shutdown late last year.

"Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power," California attorney general Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

"We are suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states.

"For most of us, the office of the presidency is not a place for theatre."

The White House has been contacted for comment on the issue.

Irish Independent

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