To say that Democrats talking about invoking the 25th Amendment after Wednesday’s violence at the U.S. Capitol is stupid an understatement. It’s also shameless posturing by a party that has been fantasizing about ousting Trump, one way or another, since before he took office.
Impeachment was the most common “remedy” proposed by the anti-Trump left following his election and taking office. The most commonly cited example of how early impeachment was being floated came 19 minutes after Trump was sworn in when the Washington Post declared that the campaign to impeach President Trump had already begun.
But Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote a piece called “How to remove Trump from office” on January 9, 2017—eleven days before Trump took office. According to Cohen, impeachment wasn’t adequate because it’s a “laborious process and requires provable acts of treason, bribery or other ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ — very high bars indeed and difficult to define,” thus making it unlikely for Trump to actually be removed from office via impeachment.
There is, however, another way. Under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the vice president, together with a “majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide” can remove the president for being “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” No doubt the mere mention of incapacitation would summon a horde of lawyers to Washington to contest it or the meaning of every term.
A few months later, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) introduced a resolution to create an independent commission to determine if the president was mentally and physically fit to be president because of his tweets. The bill had over 20 co-sponsors. Later that summer, Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s (D-Calif.) introduced a resolution calling for President Trump to undergo a physical and mental health exam to “determine whether the president suffers from mental disorder or other injury that impairs his abilities and prevents him from discharging his Constitutional duties.”
There are ample news stories discussing the invoking of the 25th Amendment throughout Trump’s presidency, and even claims that administration insiders were considering it. Andrew McCabe even claimed in 2018 that DOJ officials actually discussed it, and Maxine Waters saw the 25th Amendment as a back-up option in the event of a Trump reelection.
It’s hard to take talk about invoking the 25th Amendment seriously when it was going on before Trump took office, and never let up. It’s a left-wing fantasy that won’t happen, especially over an incident he had nothing to do with.
Matt Margolis is the author of Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis