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Republicans defend Donald Trump's mental stability as Stephen Bannon issues apology

7 January 2018 9:44 PM
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Washington: Republicans and Trump allies rushed to defend US President Donald Trump's mental stability on Sunday, as former White House aide Stephen Bannon issued an apology for his role in the furore that's followed the release of a controversial new book.

Bannon provided a statement to the political website Axios expressing "regret" for comments attributed to him in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, a scathing tell-all by Michael Wolff that paints Trump as unprepared for the presidency and portrays his aides as concerned about his mental stability.

US President Donald Trump again attacked a new book suggesting he lacks the fitness and stability for office, declaring, "Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I."

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US President Donald Trump explains his 'mental state' tweet, claiming author Michael Wolff is a 'fraud' and that he considers the 'Fire and Fury' book a work of fiction.

US President Donald Trump again attacked a new book suggesting he lacks the fitness and stability for office, declaring, "Ronald Reagan had the same problem and handled it well. So will I."

"My support is also unwavering for the President and his agenda," Bannon said in the statement.

Among other statements in the book, Bannon cast doubt on the President's future and said it was "treasonous" and "unpatriotic" for Donald Trump jnr to have a June 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer.

Bannon said in the statement to Axios that his comments about the Russia meeting were aimed at Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager at the time of the meeting, rather than Donald Trump jnr.

Bannon is quoted in Fire and Fury as saying that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will "crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV."

In the statement to Axios, Bannon calls the President's son "both a patriot and a good man."

After excerpts from the book's were released, Trump said on January 3 that Bannon "lost his mind" upon leaving the administration.

Trump's top policy adviser Stephen Miller slammed Bannon on Sunday, telling CNN's State of the Union host Jake Tapper that Bannon was an "angry, vindictive person" whose "grotesque comments are so out of touch with reality."

He said the "whole White House staff is deeply disappointed" with Bannon's comment.

"The book is best understood as a work of poorly written fiction. The author is a garbage author of a garbage book. ... The betrayal of the president in this book is so contrary to the reality of those who work with him."

Miller's appearance on the show ended when Tapper abruptly cut him off after Miller refused to address questions and repeatedly lectured the host about the credibility of the CNN network. Tapper called Miller "obsequious" and said he was concerned only about "one viewer" (Trump).

Shortly after the interview, Trump tweeted his critique of Miller's performance.

Miller and Bannon were once thought to be kindred spirits – both hard-liners on immigration who sought to exploit Trump's populist rhetoric to advance a nationalist agenda. But as Bannon began to lose favoir in the West Wing, Miller reportedly realigned himself with a faction led by Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and daughter Ivanka Trump.

In his book, Wolff relied heavily on on-the-record interviews with Bannon, who was critical of other White House aides and Trump's children.

Bannon referred to a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump jnr and a Russia lawyer at Trump Tower as "treasonous" and suggested that it was highly likely that Trump jnr told his father about the meeting. That meeting has been scrutinised by independent counsel Robert Mueller as part of his probe into the Trump campaign's contact with Russian officials.

Asked whether Trump has met the delegation, Miller was evasive, saying Bannon was not present and therefore "is not even a remotely credible source on any of it."

Miller was one of several Trump allies to defend the President on Sunday talk shows.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo told Fox News Sunday he had found the President "engaged" and that Trump was an "avid consumer" of the CIA's daily intelligence briefing.

The same rhetoric was used by Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, on ABC's This Week. Cotton said Trump as an "active, engaged and effective leader."

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, also defended Trump's stability, saying "he didn't become the President by accident."

Speaking on NBC's Meet the Press, Wolff said he was given access to the White House in the early months of Trump's term, and that his "goal was to keep going until somebody said go away."

If Trump said the pair never sat for an interview, it may be that "he probably did not see" their conversations in that way.

Source: theage.com.au

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