01:23 - Source: CNN
Schiff: Trump is dividing the country

Story highlights

Schiff said there was a problem with Trump's capability

He called Trump's response to the Boston protests 'inadequate'

Washington CNN —  

The White House staff shakeup must continue, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff said Sunday.

The comments from the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee on CNN’s “State of the Union” came after the exit of chief White House strategist Steve Bannon on Friday and the departure of several other senior staff. Democrats continue to call for President Donald Trump to remove others, including Stephen Miller as senior adviser and Sebastian Gorka as deputy assistant.

“We need the very best people around him in the White House,” Schiff said of Trump. “And that means not people like Bannon, not people like Miller, not people like Gorka, but rather some more adults in the room.”

Schiff said the President’s own impulses made it even more necessary that he have a strong staff to push him in the right direction.

“I think there’s more cleaning house that ought to take place,” Schiff said. “The more fundamental problem is at the very top.”

Schiff raised serious concerns about Trump’s character, saying it meant he needed a staff to rein him in and a Congress to “put real restraints” on him.

However, Schiff stopped short of calling for Trump’s removal under the 25th Amendment, a move backed by fellow California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier.

“I certainly think that there’s an issue with the President’s capability,” Schiff said. “There’s some attribute of his character that makes him seemingly incapable of introspection.”

Schiff referenced recent comments by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) to demonstrate what Schiff called a “broad recognition” that the President has said and done things that are cause for concern.

Corker, whom Trump reportedly considered for secretary of state, on Thursday said Trump “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to demonstrate in order to be successful” and said the President had not made it clear he understands the character of the US.

Trump has taken broad criticism, including from members of his own party, for his comments in the wake of racially charged clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, blaming “many sides” for the violence. After that initial statement, Trump read another condemning white supremacists and later told reporters that while he condemned such hate groups, there were fine people on “both sides” at the protest.

In response to a self-described free-speech rally and counterprotest Saturday in Boston, Trump sent a tweet praising the police and those protesting racism.

Schiff called Trump’s response to the events in Boston “perfectly fine” but said it was also “inadequate” given Trump’s comments on Charlottesville. Schiff said that in those remarks, the President equated white supremacists with those protesting hate and said Trump was unable to repudiate bigots who supported him.

“We can’t allow the commander in chief to somehow equate the handful of people that would make those protests violent with any kind of sentiment that condones white supremacy or neo-Nazism,” Schiff said.