Robert Reich: Republicans think Donald Trump is “out of his gourd”

According to a former GOP congressman, Republicans are planning to bail on the president in favor of Mike Pence

In a Facebook post published on Monday, Robert Reich, former labor secretary under Bill Clinton, reported a conversation with one of his friends, “a former Republican member of Congress.” If this GOPer is as in-the-know as he claims to be, President Donald Trump could be in quite a bit of trouble.

According to Reich, his friend is hearing from his former colleagues who still serve that “Trump is out of his gourd.” He also claims that “stuff with [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions is pissing them off,” presumably a reference to how Trump has undercut his own attorney general over his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. The colleague also pointed to Trump’s hiring of “horse’s ass” Scaramucci as communications director, a matter that may have been remedied by Trump’s subsequent firing of the same “horse’s ass.”

The Republican also said that his co-partisans are worried that Trump will hurt their reelection chances in 2018 and 2020 and “want him outa there,” although he doubts they’ll impeach him without special counsel Robert Mueller coming up with a “smoking gun” (he also doubts that Trump will fire Mueller).

So what does he think the plan is?

“Put someone else up in ’20,” Reich’s friend said. “Lots of maneuvering already. Pence, obviously. Cruz thinks he has a shot.”

Reich’s friend also claims that Republicans believe Trump has become mentally unstable. He attributed Trump’s firing of former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and undermining of both Sessions and Tillerson to an alleged belief that they are plotting to cite the 25th Amendment, which allows a president’s cabinet to remove him from power if he’s mentally incompetent, in order to remove Trump from power.

Reich said his friend dismissed any notion of disloyalty by Sessions and Tillerson as “ludicrous” but insisted that “Trump is fritzing out. Having manic delusions. He’s actually going nuts.” As a result, “my betting is he’s out of office before the midterms. And Pence is president.”

It is important to note that some of these predictions seem a tad disconnected from political reality. For one thing, the fact that Trump and his right-wing surrogates have been gradually building up a case for firing Mueller suggests that, at the very least, the notion that he could do so should not be dismissed out of hand. Similarly, there is no evidence from other media outlets that Trump believed Priebus, Sessions and Tillerson were plotting against him.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Republican Party has so far only stood up to Trump when it comes to the specific issue of sanctions against Russia. Aside from that issue, their approach toward the president has been fearful bordering on obsequious, so it’s a stretch to say the least to imagine them plotting against him behind the scenes.

This morning I phoned my friend, a former Republican member of Congress.

Me: What’s going on? Seems like the White House is imploding, and Republicans are going down with the ship.

Him (chuckling): We’re officially a banana republic.

Me: Seriously, what are you hearing from your former colleagues on the Hill?

Him: They’re convinced Trump is out of his gourd.

Me: So what are they going to do about it?

Him: Remember what I told you at the start of this circus? They planned to use Trump’s antics for cover, to get done what they most wanted – big tax cuts, rollbacks of regulations, especially financial. They’d work with Pence behind the scenes and forget the crazy uncle in the attic.

Me: Yeah.

Him: Well, I’m hearing a different story now. Stuff with Sessions is pissing them off. And now Trump’s hired that horse’s ass Scaramucci — a communications director who talks dirty on CNN! Plus Trump’s numbers are in freefall. They think he’s gonna hurt them in ’18 and ’20.

Me: So what’s the plan?

Him: They want him outa there.

Me: Really? Impeachment?

Him: Doubt it, unless Mueller comes up with a smoking gun.

Me: Or if he fires Mueller.

Him: Not gonna happen.

Me: So how do they get him out?

Him: Put someone else up in ’20. Lots of maneuvering already. Pence, obviously. Cruz thinks he has a shot.

Me: But that won’t help them in the midterms. What’s the plan before then?

Him: Lots think he’s fritzing out.

Me: Fritzing out?

Him: Going totally bananas. Paranoia. You want to know why he fired Priebus, wants Sessions out, and is now gunning for Tillerson?

Me: He wants to shake things up?

Him (chuckling): No. The way I hear it, he thinks they’ve been plotting against him.

Me: What do you mean?

Him: Twenty-fifth amendment! Read it! A Cabinet can get rid of a president who’s nuts. Trump thinks they’ve been preparing a palace coup. So one by one, he’s firing them.

Me: I find it hard to believe they’re plotting against him.

Him: Of course not! It’s ludicrous. Sessions is a loyal lapdog. Tillerson doesn’t know where the bathroom is. That’s my point. Trump is fritzing out. Having manic delusions. He’s actually going nuts.

Me: And?

Him: Well, it’s downright dangerous.

Me: Yeah, but that still doesn’t tell me what Republicans are planning to do about it.

Him: Look. How long do you think it will be before everyone in Washington knows he’s flipping out? I don’t mean just weird. I mean really off his rocker.

Me: I don’t know.

Him: No all that long.

Me: So what are you telling me?

Him: They don’t have to plot against him. It will be obvious to everyone that he’s got to go. That’s where the twenty-fifth amendment really does comes in.

Me: So you think…

Him: Who knows? But he’s losing it fast. My betting is he’s out of office before the midterms. And Pence is president.

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and his work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.
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