WILL VP PENCE TAKE THE (TWENTY-) FIFTH…?

February 18th, 2017

Yesterday I wrote:

In reading this morning I cam across the reference to a tweet that suggested:

I think both houses of Congress should assemble and watch the video of this press conference w/o interruption, then talk about what to do.

That won’t happen because the vast majority of Republicans in our Congress either loudly and enthusiastically applaud President Trump’s ever utterance or they’re scared witless by the real threat of the beating they would receive from Trump loyalists.

That mention lead to a conversation of the two, Constitutional, ways that a President may be removed from office. The first is reasonably well known—impeachment by the House of Representatives and a guilty verdict by the Senate for Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors—but Americans are now starting to talk about a mostly unknown path to remove a President: the 25th Amendment.

Adopted in 1967, the amendment (specifically Section 4) reads:

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.

I have argued elsewhere that Vice President Mike Pence was President Trump’s insurance policy against impeachment. Following the surreal press conference on Thursday, I no longer believe that to be true. I think the President’s mental state presents a clear and present danger to the existence of our nation. We may have to deal with a President Pence, and that historic change will carry other grave challenges, but the calculus has changed.

2 Responses to “WILL VP PENCE TAKE THE (TWENTY-) FIFTH…?”

  1. mary jo says:

    Would a majority of his hand selected cabinet choose this path?

  2. Jeff Hess says:

    Probably not, but there may be enough in Congress to force the issue, specially as the concerns ramp up in the next 30 days.

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