House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday announced legislation to create a commission that would allow Congress to remove a president from office, using the 25th Amendment, a day after she accused President Trump of being “in an altered state “for his treatment against the coronavirus.
“This is not about President Trump,” Pelosi said Friday. “It will face the judgment of the voters. But it shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”
Pelosi denied that the timing of the legislation had anything to do with the elections, arguing that a commission on presidential capacity needs to be set up to “give the people some comfort” about the stability of the government.
Trump responded immediately and said that Pelosi’s effort is really to impeach future President Joe Biden.
“Crazy Nancy Pelosi is considering the 25th Amendment to replace Joe Biden with Kamala Harris,” Trump tweeted. “The Democrats want that to happen fast because Sleepy Joe is out of the game!
Pelosi was joined on Capitol Hill by the bill’s author, Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, who said the coronavirus crisis has further demonstrated the need for a succession plan in the event the president is incapacitated.
“We have to act,” said Raskin, who was a professor of constitutional law.
“In times of chaos, we must hold fast to our Constitution,” Raskin added. “The 25th amendment is about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of office.”
Pelosi had anticipated the new legislation on Thursday, telling reporters that she would be “speaking about the 25th Amendment” on Friday, allowing the vice president to become interim president if it is determined that the president “cannot fulfill the powers.” . and duties of her position “.
She questioned Trump’s health status and behavior since he was diagnosed with COVID-19 amid an outbreak at the White House.
“The public needs to know the health status of the president,” Pelosi said Thursday, demanding to know her negative test for the virus before announcing that she was infected last week.
Donald Trump later responded: “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her crazy for anything! “
Under Amendment 25, Congress, the Cabinet, and the Vice President can take powers away from a President if for any reason he is found unfit under extreme circumstances. But that requires a 2/3 vote of both houses.
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment also provides that a majority of “any other body such as Congress may by law” determine whether the president cannot exercise the powers and duties of his office. The 25th Amendment was ratified in 1967 and Raksin said it is time for Congress to set up this “body.”
Raskin’s bill, which would have to be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the president, would establish “the Commission on Presidential Capacity to Perform the Powers and Duties of the Office.”
The 17-member bipartisan commission would work with the vice president to determine if the president is “unable to fulfill the powers and duties of his office” due to physical or mental incapacity. In perspective, that commission would adjudicate the need for a transfer of power.
Raskin introduced a similar bill in 2017 saying Trump has thrown the country into chaos.
“For the safety of our people and the safety of the Republic, we need to establish the ‘corps’ required in the 25th Amendment,” Raskin said at the time. “The president can fire his entire cabinet for asking the same question tens of millions of Americans are asking at their dinner tables, but he cannot fire Congress or the body of experts we established under the Constitution.”
While such a bill may pass the Democratic-controlled House, it would seem extremely unlikely that it will pass the Republican-controlled Senate unless there is a significant development in Trump’s health. However, he introduces a new political narrative just weeks before Election Day.
Trump was admitted to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center last Friday, began treatment, and returned to the White House on Monday, before returning to the Oval Office on Wednesday.
Pelosi was asked on Friday if he thought Trump had reached the threshold for the 25th Amendment to be invoked.
“That is not for us to decide,” he said.