One such Democrat is Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who recently said that if Trump doesn’t start “[acting] presidential,” the 25th Amendment could come into play.
"The 25th Amendment is there to provide a backstop if in fact the president becomes incapacitated," Speier told CNN on Friday.
As Byron York explains, “the 1967 amendment, which has its roots in the Kennedy assassination, covers ways to replace an incapacitated president.”
The Resistance is looking at Section 4 of the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and a majority of cabinet officers, or the vice president and a majority "of such other body as Congress may by law provide," to declare the president unable to serve, making the vice president the acting president. If there is a disagreement — say, the president believes he is able to serve and the vice president and a majority of the cabinet or the other body don't — then Congress decides who will be president.
Anchor Brianna Keilar then wanted clarification as to whether Speier believed Trump to be incapacitated.
"Well, I think that we have got to be very careful," Speier said. "He needs to start acting presidential. He needs to start recognizing that as president you don't go around and shoot down the media, as if it's some kind of a game you're playing. You don't take on people saying nasty things about them. You don't take foreign leaders and hang up the phone with them or besmirch them, as he has with some of the European leaders. I mean, he has got to get a grip. And so the 25th Amendment is there if a president becomes incapacitated.”
The California Democrat continued to talk about times in American history the 25th Amendment would’ve been relevant, such as after Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke and his wife had to de facto serve as president.
"You are very serious about this?" asked Keilar.
"I'm serious about conveying to the president that he's got to get serious," Speier replied. "That we have efforts underway around the globe attempting to exploit our dysfunction right now. He's got to act presidential."
She’s not alone in her call to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Last week Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer announced he’s creating "a working group to clarify and strengthen the 25th Amendment,” noting the “erratic behavior out of the White House.”
Democrats Discuss Using 25th Amendment To Remove ‘Unstable’ Trump From Office
In an attempt to remove President Donald Trump from office, Democrat lawmakers are accusing him of being mentally ill and are invoking the 25th Amendment to introduce legislation that would allow former presidents and vice presidents to evaluate Trump’s mental health.
Rep. Early Blumenauer (D-Ore.), who has represented a Portland district for 20 years, wrote in an op-ed published Wednesday in The Oregonian that the 50-year-old 25th Amendment contains a “fatal flaw” that must be addressed.
The 25th Amendment allows the vice president to become president if the president resigns or is removed from office by his Cabinet for being “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” It was ratified in 1967 following President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.
Blumenauer said that allows a president “who is suffering from mental illness and is emotionally unstable or irrational” to fire his Cabinet in order to “prevent the application of the amendment.”
He said he was exploring legislation that would include former presidents and vice presidents in that deliberation.
Democrats: Hey, how about removing Trump via the 25th Amendment?
KEILAR: “I want to talk about something you tweeted yesterday. You said, ‘Describing POTUS as unhinged at today’s press conference is kind. This is scary. #25thAmendment.’ And the 25th amendment details the procedure for replacing the president in the event of death, removal, resignation or incapacitation. Can you explain that in more than 140 characters for us, what you want to see there?”
SPEIER: “The 25th Amendment is there to, you know, you provide a backstop if in fact the president becomes incapacitated.”
KEILAR: “Do you believe he’s incapacitated?”
SPEIER: “I think that we have got to be very careful. He needs to start acting presidential. He needs to start recognizing that as president you don’t go around and shoot down the media as if it’s, you know, some kind of a game you’re playing. You don’t take on people saying nasty things about them. You don’t take foreign leaders and hang up the phone with them or besmirch them as he has with some of the European leaders. He has got to get a grip. So the 25th Amendment is there if a president becomes incapacitated. Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated, his wife actually was the president in waiting for most of the end of his term. Certainly Eleanor Roosevelt played a role. I don’t believe that Melania Trump is in a position to do that but certainly —“
KEILAR: “Is this a quip or are you very serious about this?”
SPEIER: “I’m serious about conveying to the President that he has got to get serious. That we have efforts under way around the globe attempting to exploit our dysfunction right now. He’s got to act presidential, he’s got to stop being a campaigner.”
It’s not just Speier floating this strategy, as Byron York points out. Fellow Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer has launched a “working group to clarify and strengthen the 25th Amendment” in anticipation of its use in the near future. York also points out how the media has taken a sudden interest in presidential succession.
Well, there are only a few problems with that approach, one of which is that Congress would have to have the Vice President in on the action. The language of the 25th Amendment allows Congress to take some role in that process, but is much more specific about the VP requirement:
4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
This language was included in anticipation of a disabling event so sudden that the president could not certify it himself, at which point the temporary authority would need to shift to the Vice President immediately. It’s clear that a declaration of incapacitation has to come from the Vice President and also a majority of the Cabinet, or and also another body selected by Congress to litigate the matter. Note too that Republicans hold control of Congress and aren’t likely to agree to a separate body other than the Cabinet for that declaration.
The odds of Mike Pence calling for an involuntary removal of Trump from office over rhetorical style are basically nil, as it should be. Without that, the process simply doesn’t start. If Congress wants to remove a president, the Constitution provides another mechanism for that purpose — impeachment and removal, which Democrats also have no hope of invoking.
But even if Pence started the process, what would be the ultimate outcome? As Amanda Carpenter noted on CNN Sunday in the video below, it would be President Mike Pence, who would then appoint a Republican vice president to succeed him. Jason Kander, who ran for the Senate and lost to Roy Blunt, isn’t exactly making a case for a rebound in Missouri, where Trump won 57/38 over Clinton while Blunt edged by Kander 49/46. Rick Santorum does all he can to keep from bursting out in laughter.
Democrats are doing themselves no favors with all of these efforts to find exotic ways of dealing with a lost election. They want to paint Trump as unfit, but to most Americans looking from the outside in, it’s Democrats who are losing their minds over having been cast into the political wilderness. After all, Trump is performing about the same as he did on the campaign trail, and that was good enough for a 306-232 Electoral College victory. And nothing says “in touch with the common people” like career Beltway politicians cooking up backroom schemes to remove a duly elected president 30 days into his term, for being exactly who he was during the campaign.
Trump might need to rein in his rhetoric a bit at times, but it’s clearly the Democrats who need to “get a grip” on themselves. Their desperation has exposed them as the “unhinged” party.