NYT's Kristof Talks How to 'Get Rid of' Trump, 'Very Nervous' on Deportation

Appearing as a guest on Tuesday's CNN Tonight, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof declared that he feels "very nervous" about the Trump administration's recent efforts to increase deportation of illegal immigrants, and ended up discussing his latest column, titled, "How Can We Get Rid of Trump?" which describes how the 25th Amendment could be used to remove President Donald Trump from office as an alternative to impeachment.

Host Don Lemon began the segment by asking the Times columnist what he thought of the recent liberal activists descending on town hall events confronting Republican congressmen, leading the liberal columnist to appear visibly happy as he began: "I find it robust to see these kind of exchanges. I must say that I guess I question a little bit how much impact it will have. At the end of the day, Trump is astonishingly extraordinarily popular amongst Republicans."

After Lemon injected that President Trump nearly has 90 percent support among Republicans, Kristof conceded: "Yes, exactly. Gallup shows 87 percent -- higher than any other President since Eisenhower except George W. Bush at this stage of his presidency among Republicans."

A bit later, Lemon moved to the subject of the Trump administration announcing increased enforcement of immigration laws, but recalled that White House press secretary Sean Spicer denied there would be "mass deportation."

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Kristof found it "reassuring" that there would not be "mass deportation," but then fretted about the increased enforcement, declaring that it made him "very nervous." Kristof:

It was reassuring that he said it wasn't mass deportation. But on the other hand, you know, they are scaling up. They are talking about hiring another 10,000 ICE agents, another 5,000 border patrol agents, putting up, my source is saying another 20,000 beds to house people, and giving a much greater authority to go after people, including those who haven't committed major crimes. It makes me very nervous.

After Lemon asked why he was "nervous," the Times columnist referred to a friend of his from Oregon who was concerned that he would not be able to run his agriculture business without illegal immigrants to work for him.

The CNN host then brought up Kristof's latest column on how Trump might be removed from office and posed: "It is interesting because you write in your latest piece called, 'How Can We Get Rid of Trump?' You look at just that. What did you learn?"

After beginning by asserting that "everybody talks about impeachment," the liberal columnist suggested that Trump's cabinet could potentially remove the President from office before lamenting that it would be an "uphill struggle" to do so:

Well, so everybody talks about impeachment. The cleaner route if there is a crisis is the 25th Amendment, Section Four, which is never implemented but essentially allows the cabinet by majority vote to decide to oust the President. But then if the President protests, it has to be backed by a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Congress. And that is a pretty uphill struggle.

Below is a transcript of the relevant portion of the Tuesday, February 21, CNN Tonight:

DON LEMON: You heard Kyung's report,these town halls. Is this democracy at work?

NICHOLAS KRISTOF: Yes, it is. And it is, I mean, I find it robust to see these kind of exchanges. I must say that I guess I question a little bit how much impact it will have. At the end of the day, Trump is astonishingly extraordinarily popular amongst Republicans.

LEMON: Almost 90 percent.

KRISTOF: Yes, exactly. Gallup shows 87 percent -- higher than any other President since Eisenhower except George W. Bush at this stage of his presidency among Republicans.

(...)

LEMON: Let's talk about the President's new immigration plans that he just talked about today, just released today. Looking at potentially, this is massive expansion in the number of people who are deported. Sean Spicer said today that these efforts are not mass deportation. What do you see here?

KRISTOF: Well, it was reassuring that he said it wasn't mass deportation. But on the other hand, you know, they are scaling up. They are talking about hiring another 10,000 ICE agents, another 5,000 border patrol agents, putting up, my source is saying another 20,000 beds to house people, and giving a much greater authority to go after people, including those who haven't committed major crimes. It makes me very nervous. I think a lot of folks also who are in parts of the economy that depends on these folks are-

LEMON: Why does it make you nervous?

KRISTOF: Because, you know, so many of these people have lived in the U.S. for years. They have kids who are American citizens. It's not as if, you know, some unauthorized immigrant can just cleanly move out. What do you do with their five-year-old kid? I was back home in Oregon over the weekend, and a friend who has a small agricultural business, he relies on a couple of young men from Mexico. He is not sure about their legal status, but he is worried that they may now be pushed out. He doesn't think he is going to be able to hire a replacement.

(...)

LEMON: It is interesting because you write in your latest piece called, "How Can We Get Rid of Trump?" You look at just that. What did you learn?

KRISTOF: Well, so everybody talks about impeachment. The cleaner route if there is a crisis is the 25th Amendment, Section Four, which is never implemented but essentially allows the cabinet by majority vote to decide to oust the President. But then if the President protests, it has to be backed by a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the Congress. And that is a pretty uphill struggle.

LEMON: Why did you write about that?

KRISTOF: Because I think there is a deep sense now -- there are so many folks who are really distressed by the way this is going. You see President Trump as fundamentally different from so many other leaders. You know, I had the leader of a friendly allied country call me up the other day, and he skipped the preliminaries and said immediately: "What the expletive is wrong with your country?" And he is worried. And I think a lot of Americans are, too.

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