Monday 23 April 2018

Trump 'being boxed in like a manchild to stop damage' amid calls for impeachment

Donald Trump must be impeached as soon as possible - says former US labour secretary

President Donald Trump has been widely condemned for his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Reuters
President Donald Trump has been widely condemned for his response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. Photo: Reuters

David Morgan

Donald Trump must be impeached as soon as possible, a former US labour secretary has urged.

Robert Reich said Mr Trump represents a "clear and present danger to America" and must be removed from office.

His comments followed the former real estate mogul's divisive campaign rally in Arizona that saw him attack the "fake media" and "truly dishonest journalists", who he claims misrepresented his comments on Charlottesville.

Surrounded by his core base, he claimed his response to the Virginia protests was "perfect" in a rambling and wide-ranging speech.

Mr Reich branded Mr Trump a "howling manchild" in the wake of the Charlottesville violence, and said the criticism of the US President's response could help to make him "irrelevant".

"It's unlikely Trump will be impeached or thrown out of office on grounds of mental impairment. At least any time soon," he wrote in an op-ed on his website.

"Yet there's another way Trump can be effectively removed. He can be made irrelevant. It's already starting to happen. The howling manchild who occupies the Oval Office is being cut off and contained."

He said Mr Trump's widely condemned response to the Charlottesville protests - in which he blamed the violence that killed one counter protester on "both sides" - had allowed Republicans to criticise him more openly than before.

"We're not out of danger. Trump will continue to rant and fume. He'll insult. He'll stoke racial tensions. He could still start a nuclear war," he said.

"But, hopefully, he won't be able to exercise much presidential power from here on. He's being ostracised like a obnoxious adolescent who's been grounded. When the media stop reporting his tweets, his isolation and irrelevance will be complete."

Yesterday, Mr Trump's fellow Republicans openly rebuked him after his threat to shut down the US government over funding for a border wall rattled markets and cast a shadow over congressional efforts to raise the country's debt ceiling and pass spending bills.

Shutdown

"I don't think anyone's interested in having a shutdown," the top Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, told reporters.

Mr Ryan said building a wall along the border with Mexico to deter illegal immigration was necessary, but added that the government did not have to choose between border security and shuttering operations.

Mr Trump in a speech threatened a shutdown if Congress does not agree to fund constructing the wall, a signature promise of his presidential campaign, which added a new complication to Republicans' months-long struggle to reach a budget deal.

After Mexico rejected a chief part of Mr Trump's promise - that it would pay for the wall - the president said the United States would fund it initially and be repaid by its southern neighbour. Lawmakers, including many Republicans, have not made that funding a top priority, as some question if a wall is necessary.

Congress will have about 12 working days when it returns on September 5 from its summer break to approve spending measures to keep the government open, while also facing a looming deadline to raise the cap on the amount the government may borrow. Both are must-approve measures.

Mr Ryan suggested Congress would need to approve a short-term extension, or continuing resolution, of current funding levels so that the Senate could have more time to pass a full spending bill. That would push the budget battle to later in the year and could in turn delay attempts at tax reform, another signature Trump campaign issue.

Friction between Republicans and Mr Trump has grown in recent months, with the president publicly castigating some party leaders, notably Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and expressing infuriation that Congress has not passed any significant legislation since his January inauguration.

A White House statement said Trump would hold "previously scheduled meetings" with Mr McConnell once Congress returns to Washington and that the two "remain united on many shared priorities, including middle class tax relief, strengthening the military, constructing a southern border wall, and other important issues".

Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the Republican chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee, said Mr Trump's threatened move could backfire on the party.

"When you control the presidency, the Senate and the House, you're shutting down the government that you're running. I don't think it's smart politically and I don't think it would succeed practically," he told Reuters in an interview.

The White House stressed on Wednesday that Mr Trump would work with Congress to get funding for the wall.

"The president ran on it, won on it and plans to build it," said White House spokeswoman Natalie Strom.

Irish Independent

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