Sweet Jesus, it might really be happening. The answer to the collective Democratic prayers might actually be happening.
One House Democrat has made a huge leap forward in doing something many of us have dreamed of — deeming Trump unfit and stripping him of power.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced legislation in the House that would allow the input from former presidents and vice presidents across both party lines to have a determination in whether a president is fit to serve. He commented on the legislation:
‘It is hard to imagine a better group to work with the vice president to examine whether the president is able to discharge the duties of the office. When there are questions about the president’s ability to fulfill his or her constitutional responsibilities, it is in the country’s best interest to have a mechanism in place that works effectively.’
Though the 25th Amendment covers the death or resignation of a president, and even includes a way in which a president could be deemed unfit, Blumenauer’s concern lies in the manner of how a president could be deemed unfit and how he could prevent that from happening.
Currently, if a vice president and a majority of cabinet members agree a sitting president is unfit to serve, the vice president can take over. Congress would then decide the fate of the sitting president. It would require a two-thirds vote of both Houses to strip the president of his powers. The amendment reads:
‘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.’
Problem is, the president has direct control over his cabinet members. He could easily fire his cabinet members before any sort of meeting happened if he felt they would deem him unfit. He could also use this as a way of bullying them into keeping silent. Blumenauer commented:
‘Because the cabinet can be fired by the president, there is a natural bias that would make them reluctant to acknowledge the president’s inability to serve. It’s time to revisit and strengthen the Amendment and make sure there is a reliable mechanism in place if the president becomes unable to discharge the powers and duties of office.’
Though it’s highly doubtful that Republican Congress members would actually support the bill or it would gain any traction, it’s a legitimate move towards not allowing another Trump back into office in the future. Furthermore, Blumenauer has a major point. Who better than to have a say in the determination of a president’s fitness for office than former presidents themselves? It makes much more sense than asking a half-baked doctor to write four paragraphs deeming a man fit to sit in the Oval Office in five minutes.
Featured image by Alex Wong/Getty Images.