Author and columnist Ross Douthat piece for The New York Times titled “The 25th Amendment Solution for Removing Trump.” I think it’s worth going over what the 25th amendment to the Constitution actually entails and whether it can be applied to President Trump or not.
Section 4 is meant to be invoked should the President’s incapacitation prevent him from discharging his duties, but he is unable or unwilling to provide the written declaration called for by Section 3. The President may resume exercising the Presidential duties by sending a written declaration to the President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House.
Yes, President Trump can be a stupid person. Yes, President Trump can and all too often does make silly mistakes. However, despite these and many other shortcomings, none of them can possibly be used to successfully declare Trump as being “incapacitated.”
In order for a sitting president to be removed from office under the 25th amendment, the vice president and a majority of his cabinet must deem him “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” first. Then, the issue is dealt with on a Congressional level, requiring a two-thirds vote. In essence, removing Trump via the 25th amendment is almost politically impossible stemming from the fact that Trump is not incapacitated in the first place.
One must also look at the precarious precedent invoking the 25th amendment brings to the table before making a judgment: the overreaching power of a president’s cabinet can cause a major White House shakeup. I say it is overreaching because to remove a president under seemingly unjustifiable measures is inherently overreaching and iniquitous.
Do we really want to allow future disgruntled cabinet members to remove a president just because they don’t like him? That is exactly the sort of grossly absurd precedent baselessly invoking the 25th amendment sets.
If Democrats and company want to remove Trump, the 25th amendment is simply not the way to go. Instead, catching him on something genuinely nefarious and not incredibly overblown is a start. Then, the impeachment process begins. However, Democrats are most likely not going to play the game this astutely; the evidence for that being they are already over blowing incidents such as the Comey memo. It is more foreseeable that Trump continues to act like a buffoon throughout his term, gets his majority Republican ripped away from him in 2018, gets impeached over something unprovable/overblown, never gets removed from office, and then gets destroyed by a Democrat in the 2020 presidential race.
Remove Trump with validity or blow him away in the 2020 election, with the way things are going, Democrats are almost guaranteed to win in the long run. The pathway to fixing that is not along 25th Amendment Avenue, but rather down Better President Road. Trump needs to focus on the one thing he’s good at: promulgating decent policy. If he shuts his mouth, negotiates with Congress, and unifies his party, the legislative victories will be underway. Until then, more silly talk of removal is bound to be underway.