There has been a lot of chatter lately about impeaching the President. In fact, according to Public Policy Polling, 48% of Americans would like President Trump to be impeached. That’s actually a higher percentage of the American public than voted for him in the first place.
But you have to understand that a President is like a hemorrhoid: once you get one it’s not as easy as you think to get rid of it. The difference is, in the case of the ass, you first have to impeach him.
Keep in mind, though, that impeaching someone is not the same as kicking them out of office. An impeachment is basically just saying that you’re fairly sure they screwed up somehow. It’s like being indicted by a grand jury. The House of Representatives needs to do this with a majority vote, and considering which party holds the majority, Trump would have to do something a lot worse than leaking a few secrets to the Russians for that to happen. I’m thinking something along the lines of bombing Des Moines.
But even if the house did impeach Trump, the Senate would have to convict him with a 2/3 vote, which they would only do over Mitch McConnell’s dead body.
So really, we can’t count on getting rid of our Presidential condition that way. Fortunately, a guy named Ross Douthat has a different idea. He proposed in a New York Times op-ed that we use an existing Constitutional amendment to cure our country’s Trumpitis.
I know what you’re thinking, and Douthat is not talking about the 18th Amendment, which was prohibition. While it certainly seems as though the President is often GWI (Governing While Intoxicated), especially when tweeting late at night, we must realize that, even if alcohol was banned, the President of the United States could probably get all the liquor he wanted anyway, especially if he likes vodka.
So, no, not the 18th Amendment. The Amendment Douthat wants to invoke is the 25th, which states that:
“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.”
According to the website Vox, this means that “one vice president and any eight Cabinet officers can, theoretically, decide to knock the president out of power at any time.” This is a good thing, because we rarely have more than one vice president at a time.
Douthat, who, by the way, is a conservative columnist, thinks that Trump has clearly demonstrated that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office and adds “…leaving a man this witless and unmastered in an office with these powers and responsibilities is an act of gross negligence…”
Okay–now here comes the punchline of this whole piece. Someone named Jennifer Rubin wrote a contrary opinion in The Washington Post which suggests that Douthat “confuses unfitness with ‘inability to discharge the powers and duties’ and thereby recommends a disastrous process.”
Basically her argument is that Trump is perfectly able to discharge his duties, he’s just not able to discharge them well. You know things are pretty bad when the person arguing that you should stay in office says she supports you because you’re merely incompetent.
In other words, the 25th Amendment is meant to cover a situation in which a sitting President becomes injured or gravely ill, but not dead. It’s not intended to be invoked when the President is already incapacitated at the time he takes office and, actually, during the entire time he ran for office.
To solidify her side of the debate, Rubin adds that the 25th Amendment is “not meant for a situation in which the president is so stupid as to raise questions about whether he is a danger to the country.”
Yes, sir. A strong endorsement indeed.
See you soon.