Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock without WiFi or decent cellphone reception, you’ve probably heard a thing or two about just how bad things are for Donald Trump. The mishandled firing of FBI Director James Comey and subsequent revelation about the president’s alleged misuse of classified intelligence have led to increased speculation regarding impeachment. (Which, by the way, critics have been talking about since two months before the election.) And not simply because Trump’s partisan opponents are throwing the word around, or bookies are reporting better odds of its occurrence. There’s a legal precedent for it.
However, Ross Douthat, a conservative columnist for the New York Times, argues for another mechanism in his latest op-ed — which is circulating like wildfire — that Trump can and should be removed in accordance with the 25th Amendment. Why? Because “Trump’s unfitness for the presidency” is no longer a debatable concern for Republicans, Democrats and everyone in between and beyond. And his “fitness,” or lack thereof, matters greatly seeing as how he currently occupies an office that “has become… a seat of semi-monarchical political power, a fixed place on which unimaginable pressures are daily brought to bear.” And Trump can’t cut it:
[One] needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.
Trump is seemingly deficient in them all. Some he perhaps never had, others have presumably atrophied with age. He certainly has political talent…. But they are not enough, they cannot fill the void where other, very normal human gifts should be.
Hence why, Douthat continues, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump’s cabinet and Congress should take action per the legal authority of Section 4 of the 25th Amendment. If Pence and a majority of the president’s cabinet appointees determine Trump “is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” they can inform Speaker Paul Ryan and Congress in writing as such. The Vice President would then have the legal authority to assume the powers of the presidency, and if Trump protested, a two-thirds vote by Congress can confirm these actions.
Of course, the thought of “President Mike Pence” will probably bring little comfort to Democrats, progressives and other opponents of the decidedly anti-Planned Parenthood politician. Nor horses, for that matter.
(Via New York Times)