News & Politics

Why Talk of Invoking the 25th Amendment to Remove Trump Is Nonsense

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Rep. Adam Kinsinger became the first Republican in Congress to call for the removal of Donald Trump via the 25th Amendment. Other GOP leaders have also discussed the option of removing Trump from office either through a quick impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment. Cabinet members are said to be having “informal” discussions about removing Trump.

In the end, it’s going to be up to the cabinet and Vice President Pence on whether the 25th is invoked. A majority of the cabinet would have to vote in favor of removing the president and Pence would have to agree before the process of removing Trump could even begin.

Jonathan Turley points out the danger of the cabinet voting to remove the president.

Fox News:

“You have to be very careful with this. When you start to remove presidents by what you perceive as a mental disability, it is a standard that can easily be abused,” the George Washington University Law professor told “Fox & Friends.”

“This is about constitutional faults, not character faults,” Turley explained. “And it’s very dangerous if you start to say, ‘Well, I just view him as unstable’ unless you’ve got very strong ground.”

Turley points out there are time constraints as well.

While Trump could be removed by the 25th Amendment, Turley said it is “extremely unlikely” and noted the president could object and lead to an 8-day process period, which “would effectively remove him within a couple of days of leaving office … and that’s assuming you have the merits.”

As far as we know, there’s no medical reason to remove Trump. And I doubt very much that Trump could be examined for his mental fitness before he’s scheduled to leave office on January 20. The cabinet wouldn’t dare take some armchair psychiatrist’s word that Trump is ill and vote to remove him.

All this talk about the 25th Amendment is nonsense. And if the Democrats try to railroad impeachment through Congress, Republicans — even if they think Trump should go — shouldn’t sit still for it. There are procedures and precedents that need to be followed in order to prevent the public from accusing the Democrats of their own coup d’état.

But that isn’t stopping Democratic politicians from posturing.

ABCNews:

“This president should not hold office one day longer,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Thursday. “The quickest and most effective way — it can be done today — to remove this president from office would be for the Vice President to immediately invoke the 25th amendment. If the Vice President and the Cabinet refuse to stand up, Congress should reconvene to impeach the president.”

What reason does Schumer want to use for the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment? Section 4 of the amendment is applicable.

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.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days 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. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.[3]

The only possibility of the cabinet invoking the 25th Amendment is if Donald Trump were to be declared mentally incompetent by a qualified, independent mental health professional. Otherwise, Trump’s millions of supporters would see his removal as a coup and their subsequent actions would make what happened at the Capitol yesterday look like a picnic.

There needs to be an “incapacity” of Trump. And with no visible or obvious incapacity, any effort to remove him would be illegal and bring about exactly the result that Trump’s opponents are accusing him of attempting at the Capitol on Wednesday.