The comments from Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, echoed those of a handful of other lawmakers, most notably Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who asserted last week that Trump has not demonstrated the “stability” or “competence” necessary to effectively lead the country.
The criticism has followed Trump’s statements last week about the hate-fueled violence in Charlottesville, for which the president said “both sides” were to blame. He also said some “fine people” had marched alongside neo-Nazis to protest the removal of a Confederate statue.
Schiff said his concerns about Trump long predate those comments. He cited the president’s assertions after the 2016 election that he would have won the popular vote against Democrat Hillary Clinton if not for massive illegal voting.
“I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, this man is not only going to not grow with the job, but is willing to say things that are just patently untrue,’” Schiff said.
The congressman said there is “a broadening recognition that there are some serious issues with our president that aren’t going to go away, that aren’t going to get better, and indeed with the pressures of the job, may very well get worse.”
Schiff, however, said he does not agree with some fellow Democrats who have argued that it’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment, which gives the vice president and eight Cabinet members the authority to unilaterally force the president from office if they deem him “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
“I think for that reason at a minimum, we need the very best people around him in the White House,” Schiff said of Trump.
In the wake of the ouster last week of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, Schiff said he’d like to see others depart. He named Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior policy adviser, and Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to the president who often speaks out on foreign policy.
“So, yes, I think there's more cleaning house that ought to take place,” Schiff said.