Why the Democrats' 25th Amendment Gambit Won't Work
The collusion narrative is falling apart and there is nothing impeachable in the Stormy Daniels story, so Democrats are trying the Hail Mary of all Hail Marys: Trump is nuts so Pence and the cabinet should declare him unfit for office.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution provides for the orderly transition of power in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation of the president. It was passed in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination when there was the perception that there was a delay in Johnson taking office -- intolerable in the nuclear age. In point of fact, Johnson became president the second that the bullet destroyed Kennedy's brain, but the confusion made it seem essential that the matter should be clearly spelled out in a constitutional amendment.
For the purposes of the "Trump is loony" scenario, Section 4 is relevant:
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.
Elizabeth Warren is urging this scenario on the vice president and the cabinet.
"If senior administration officials think the president of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment," Warren told CNN.
"The Constitution provides for a procedure whenever the vice president and senior officials think the president can't do his job. It does not provide that senior officials go around the president — take documents off his desk, write anonymous op-eds. ... Every one of these officials have sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States. It's time for them to do their job,” she added.
The author of the Times op-ed said the idea of removing Trump from office had already been floated by his top aides.
If things are really as bad as the Times op-ed suggests, we have a bunch of cowardly geese serving in the cabinet. Are we to believe not one cabinet member has the balls or feels the patriotic duty to expose madman Trump by resigning and proclaiming that the president is unfit to serve?
Trump is not crazy. He's ignorant. He is temperamentally unsuited to serve as president. He's a liar, a bully, a charlatan, a misogynist, morally corrupt, and he cheats on his wife.
We've had worse presidents. Nixon talked to the presidential portraits on the wall. Lincoln suffered from clinical depression. Several chief executives were crooks. Many certainly cheated on their wives. Invalidating a legitimate democratic election is an incredibly serious matter which is why it's never happened in American history, and despite many massively flawed men who have served as president, the Constitution always had its way with them.
Vice President Pence and a majority of the cabinet will never declare Trump unable to serve -- never. Warren is grandstanding. Other Democrats are bound to pick up on this meme because this is all the opposition has left. For all the hysteria generated by the Times op-ed, there is no corroboration, no documentation, no evidence whatsoever that backs up those claims. It's not even clear if the author had the kind of access to Trump he suggests. And even if he did, his analysis of Trump's mental state is subjective and unprofessional.
Trump may yet be impeached for... something. It's Mueller's job to find an impeachable offense and the fact that no one in Mueller's orbit has leaked anything suggesting anything close to an impeachable offense strongly indicates that Mueller is failing in his primary task of giving Democrats an excuse to get rid of Trump.
The 25th Amendment gambit is really a last-gasp effort to tarnish Trump and the Republicans before the midterms.