Donald Trump is “unraveling,” “losing a step,” and appears “unstable,” sources close to the president told Vanity Fair.
Vanity Fair’s Gabe Sherman spoke with a half-dozen Trump advisers and prominent Republicans who expressed concern about the president’s mental state and questioned whether he could survive his entire term.
All of Sherman’s sources “describe a White House in crisis as advisers struggle to contain a president who seems to be increasingly unfocused and consumed by dark moods.”
Trump is reportedly angered by Congress’s inability to pass any part of his legislative agenda as he nears nine months in office.
He is also reportedly furious to a “surprising degree” after he backed Luther Strange in the Alabama Republican primary only to see him lose to Roy Moore, a candidate backed by Steve Bannon and Sarah Palin, by nearly double digits.
“Alabama was a huge blow to his psyche,” a person close to Trump told Sherman. “He saw the cult of personality was broken.”
Trump has also raged at his staff, reportedly venting to longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller, “I hate everyone in the White House! There are a few exceptions, but I hate them!”
Schiller departed the White House to make more money in the private sector last month and aides are worried Trump lost his “ultimate emotional binky,” the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman reported.
Schiller was reportedly upset the Chief of Staff John Kelly had limited his access to his longtime boss.
Trump is also reportedly upset with Kelly isolating him from his more controversial aides and associates. Sources tell Sherman that Kelly is “miserable in his job” and is only staying “out of a sense of duty to keep Trump from making some sort of disastrous decision.”
A former official mused that Kelly and Secretary of Defense James Mattis have made plans for how to stop Trump if he ordered a nuclear strike.
“Would they tackle him?” the official said.
Speculation mounted that Kelly may leave sooner than later Wednesday when his deputy, Kirstjen Nielsen, was nominated to be the next Homeland Security secretary.
Some Republicans believe that “Kelly wanted to give her a soft landing spot before his departure.”
But while White House departures are a source of concern, the real question is whether Trump can last his entire four-year term.
Aides are already worried about Trump’s public appearances and have advised him against doing interviews with networks less friendly than Fox News.
“He’s lost a step. They don’t want him doing adversarial TV interviews,” an adviser said.
Longtime Trump friend Tom Barrack, who was his top fundraiser on the campaign trail and organized his inauguration, even spoke publicly to The Washington Post to say he was “stunned” and “shocked” by Trump’s rhetoric and behavior.
Advisers have grown increasingly concerned that if Trump continues to spiral that the Cabinet may invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows the majority of the Cabinet to remove the president.
Ousted strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that his biggest risk isn’t being impeached but rather the 25th Amendment. “What’s that?” Trump reportedly asked him.
Bannon told people he thinks there’s only a 30 percent chance Trump will last his entire term, a source told Sherman.