October 11, 2020
On Friday, October 9, House Democrats unveiled legislation that would create a panel tasked with gauging President Donald Trump’s mental and physical fitness to perform his job—and potentially, with removing the POTUS from office in a case of decided debility, The Hill reports.
Indeed, Under Amendment 25, Section IV of the U.S. Constitution, the Congress may remove the president under the following circumstances: “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.”
The commission would be permanent, applying to future administrations, but it’s a clear shot at President Trump, whose reaction to his treatments for the coronavirus has raised questions about his mental acuity.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), whom The Hill characterizes as “a sharp critics of the president,” has fueled those questions in the days since Trump returned to the White House after three nights in the hospital. She has floated the idea that Trump’s drug regimen—which includes a steroid linked to mood swings—might be affecting his decision-making.
The Democrats’ legislation invokes the 25th Amendment, which empowers Congress to create “a body” which, working with the vice president, can remove a president deemed “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
Sponsored by Representative Jamie Raskin (D-Maryland), a former professor of constitutional law, the bill would create a 17-member panel charged with judging the president’s fitness —and empowered to remove that figure when deficiencies are determined. In such a case, the vice president would take over.
The proposal has no chance of being enacted, with Congress on recess and the Senate and White House currently controlled by Republicans. Indeed, GOP leaders have already dismissed it as a political stunt.
But the bill marks another effort by Democratic leaders to energize their base ahead of the November 3 elections, while feeding accusations that Trump—already under fire for his fitful response to the coronavirus pandemic—has become increasingly erratic under treatment for his own case of COVID-19.
Research contact: @thehill