July 31, 2017 – 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 gonna 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.
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.
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.
ROBERT B. REICH is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written fourteen books, including the best sellers “Aftershock”, “The Work of Nations,” and”Beyond Outrage,” and, his most recent, “Saving Capitalism.” He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, INEQUALITY FOR ALL.