Prez ‘un­rav­el­ling?’

Th­ese are crazy times in a crazy White House

Winnipeg Sun - - NEWS - MARK BONOKOSKI mark­ @Mark­Bonokoski

When uber-con­ser­va­tive Steve Ban­non was ban­ished from the White House as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s chief ad­viser, he made no bones about how he was now gunning for the en­tire Re­pub­li­can Party.

To him, it was an ex­tremely dys­func­tional anti-Trump col­lec­tive, pop­u­lated by di­nosaurs, that was in dire need of a good culling.

The other day, Ban­non was in the head­lines again af­ter re­port­edly telling Van­ity Fair that he be­lieved Trump had an only 30% chance of serv­ing a full term in the Oval Of­fice.

He wasn’t talk­ing about Trump be­ing whacked by some crazed gun­man in a gun-crazed Amer­ica, or about him be­ing im­peached in a fash­ion rem­i­nis­cent of pres­i­dents Richard Nixon and Bill Clin­ton.

The for­mer was a crook, and the lat­ter a horn-dog.

No, Ban­non was talk­ing about the ob­scure 25th Amend­ment, in­voked af­ter the as­sas­si­na­tion of John F. Kennedy, that would al­low Trump’s own cabi­net to vote him out of of­fice un­der spe­cific sit­u­a­tions if the pres­i­dent’s health — phys­i­cal or men­tal — im­pairs his abil­ity to per­form his du­ties.

In other words, if Ban­non is cor­rect, there is a mod­ern­day Julius Cae­sar play in the works where Trump’s in­ner cir­cle is plot­ting to take him out, and put Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence in the big chair.

It takes no ge­nius to as­sume that it will be Trump’s men­tal health that would be brought into play if Ban­non’s prophecy has any va­lid­ity since the pres­i­dent’s phys­i­cal health ap­pears to be fine.

It’s his un­pre­dictable brain pat­terns that are wor­ri­some, with both Democrats and Repub­li­cans alike voic­ing opin­ions that come close to say­ing out­right that there is a lu­natic in the White House.

With­out ques­tion, Trump makes out­ra­geous state­ments, lies with­out sec­ond thought, tweets both venom and threats, and of­ten comes across as if play­ing Crazy 8s with a euchre deck.

It doesn’t help that Van­ity Fair re­ported that sources in the White House have Trump “un­sta­ble … los­ing a step … un­rav­el­ling,” and pro­claim­ing he “hates ev­ery­one in the White House.”

Ban­non, of course, is no fan of Mike Pence.

When Pence was named as Trump’s vice-pres­i­den­tial run­ning mate, e-mails from Ban­non ob­tained by Buz­zFeed, had him call­ing Pence an “un­for­tu­nate ne­ces­sity” and the “price we pay for the #nev­ertrump move­ment.”

Now out of the White House and back with Bre­it­bart, Ban­non is ramp­ing up ef­forts to field a slate of pri­mary con­tenders to re­place in­cum­bent Re­pub­li­can sen­a­tors in 2018 with a more pro-Trump crowd, par­tic­u­larly Sen­ate ma­jor­ity leader Mitch McCon­nell who is seen as both the en­emy and the money man in the GOP.

And he wants to see the 25th Amend­ment sce­nario doused.

Since late Septem­ber, when the Ban­non-backed for­mer judge Roy Moore ousted Sen. Luther Strange in an Alabama Re­pub­li­can pri­mary, Ban­non has been hun­kered down with big GOP donors and po­ten­tial can­di­dates to plot against Repub­li­cans re­spon­si­ble for Trump’s fail­ure to re­peal and re­place Oba­macare.

Ban­non’s vic­tory in Alabama in­vig­o­rated his de­ter­mi­na­tion.

Moore, to most pun­dits, didn’t have a hope in hell of win­ning. In fact, he was twice tossed out as the state’s chief jus­tice.

The first was for his re­fusal to re­move a Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment, and the sec­ond was for re­fus­ing to rec­og­nize the U.S. Supreme Court’s rul­ing le­gal­iz­ing same-sex mar­riage.

Yet he still beat out Luther Strange, who rode into the elec­tion bol­stered with $10 mil­lion in ad­ver­tis­ing from the McCon­nell-aligned Sen­ate Lead­er­ship Fund.

On Thurs­day, Wash­ing­ton Post po­lit­i­cal columnist Robert Ka­gan penned a syn­di­cated piece that car­ried the head­line, “Steve Ban­non is killing the Re­pub­li­can Party.

“Good rid­dance (to it),” was the kicker.

Crazy times.

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