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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Time to Consider 25th Amendment?

George Wenschhof

George Wenschhof
The irrational, irresponsible and totally unacceptable actions coming from the occupant of the White House clearly illustrate Mr. Trump is temperamentally unfit and totally unqualified to serve as president of The United States. 

It is frightening to consider the further damage Mr. Trump can do over the next three plus years to American representative democracy.

The extreme damage Trump has already done and can do is so severe, it may be time for the vice president, cabinet and congress to step up to exercise their powers provided in the constitution to replace the president, for the good of the nation.

Section 4 of the 25th amendment of the U.S. constitution outlines procedures for the removal of a president deemed “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

It only takes the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to decide that a president is no longer fit. After the House and Senate are notified, the vice president is able to take office as acting president.

If Trump would protest to the House and Senate and there is no doubt he would, he is reinstated until another vote is taken by the vice president and the Cabinet declaring him unfit. Afterward, a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate is required to determine the permanent removal of the president.

Espousing reckless and incendiary language that has put the United States on the brink of nuclear war with North Korea, an action that would result in the loss of millions of lives, demonstrates Trump is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.

Add to that, an at times incomprehensible and combative recent press conference where Trump defended white supremacists in the wake of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Meanwhile, there are multiple ongoing investigations of the collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia and their efforts to influence the 2016 election. The firing of F.B.I. director James Comey and verbal threats of their jobs by Mr. Trump directed at special counsel Robert Mueller and attorney general Jeff Sessions have also been appalling coming from the president. His actions deserve the scrutiny of obstruction of justice charges.

Dismissing and defending his son’s acceptance of a meeting with Russian operatives, ostensibly for the purpose of receiving negative information on secretary of state Hillary Clinton and her campaign is simply mind boggling.

Further telling is that in six short months, there have been three White House press secretaries who have come and gone, unable to effectively provide cover for the failings of the president. Now, after many high level executives resigned following the disgusting language by Mr. Trump defending white hate groups, the White House has announced the much lauded Council of American Manufacturing has been disbanded.

Understandably, members of the president’s cabinet and staff who do not want to be associated with a bigoted and unstable leader are also seriously contemplating resignation. 

The inability of Mr. Trump to understand and effectively project American democracy across the United States and worldwide combined with his incapacity to comprehend how congress operates are major compelling reasons to consider taking action now.

Exercising the 25th Amendment is not an action that should be taken often or without serious thought. Yet this Amendment exists for times like this when it is painfully obvious the elected president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office.

American representative democracy is being tested as never before. At the very least, it is past time for congress to step up to exercise their check and balance powers with the executive branch.

Stay tuned.