With Recent Individuals Suggesting That President Trump Is Unfit To Serve, What Would Be Required To Remove His Powers?
February 1, 2018 | View PDF
There are two instances in which a President can be removed from power by Congress and/or high ranking Executive branch officials. The first is impeachment which requires a simple majority in the House of Representatives and a 2/3 vote by the Senate. You will recall if you are old enough that President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives but not removed because 2/3 of the Senate did not also vote to impeach him. The recent suggestions by Democrats have more to do with removal via the 25th Amendment of the Constitution rather than an impeachment.
Truly it has become sad in the manner that the two parties treat each other and it seems it has gotten much worse that the way that President Obama was treated. There were the “birthers” that wanted to prove that Obama was not born as an American and that his Hawaiian birth certificate was a forgery. There was never undisputable proof made via the claims of the birthers.
Ever since President Trump was Candidate Trump he has appeared to me to be something of a loose cannon. Though it seems many of his statements are ill considered I think he calculates the impact long before he makes the statements. It’s just his personality and it makes me a bit crazy at times. But I see the results and I must say his goals for America are things that are good for America. The socialistic ideals that have infiltrated the minds of so many Americans are failing its tests as instituted in so many other countries and even here. Eight years of President Obama caused me significant financial issues because of his dallying in health insurance. While I preferred President Obama leave office ASAP, I never would have considered the absurd techniques used by President Trump’s opponents.
This is where the second method of removing a President comes in and it is for the most part more difficult than an impeachment. There are times when
Presidents have removed themselves from power for short periods of time since the 25th Amendment, which includes President Clinton during a medical procedure. I recall President Lyndon Johnson (not Andrew Johnson, I’m not that old) having gallbladder surgery. I know that he was incapable of making decisions for a period of time. His surgery was in 1965, before the 1967, 25th Amendment ratification. A review of his papers show that he and Vice President Hubert Humphrey had discussed and put into place a means of decision making while Johnson was incapable. Johnson went on to say that President Eisenhower and Vice President Nixon as well as President Kennedy and then Vice President Johnson had done similar things to provide for continuity in “Presidential” decision-making. The much earlier drawn out death of President Garfield after being shot and the stroke of President Wilson left the Executive branch in a quandary for a period of time with no Constitutional directive.
The 25th Amendment says:
Section 1 In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
Section 2 Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress.
Section 3 Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.
Section 4 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.
My research includes one oft-repeated truth of psychiatry; not to diagnose someone that they have not personally examined. A few have crossed that line suggesting President Trump to be mentally incapable of leading. Some Democrats and even a handful of Republicans believe President Trump should be removed through the 25th Amendment. This country has not been used to having a President that is a strong leader and less of a diplomat. I would liken President Trump’s style to more like that of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (and vice versa). Netanyahu must be a strong leader because most of the countries surrounding Israel want to wipe Israel from the face of the earth. Many of those same countries would love to do the same to the United States. Fortunately oceans and distance divide us.
If President Trump is to be removed under the 25th Amendment, it will take the Vice-President, a majority of the Cabinet and maybe 2/3 of Congress to do so. And it will take a real physical or mental disability to convince them to follow the procedure of that Amendment. Instead of dividing our country, let’s pray for it!
This article is informative only and not meant to be all inclusive. Additionally this article does not serve as legal advice to the reader and does not constitute an attorney- client relationship. The reader should seek counsel from their attorney should any questions exist.
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