President Donald Trump’s erratic behavior has sometimes sparked concern to the point of questioning whether or not the 25th Amendment should be invoked. That amendment provides for a process by which executive authority can be transferred away from the president if they are determined to lack the capacity to fulfill the office’s responsibilities. Now, House Democrats have unveiled legislation that, if enacted, would create a Commission on Presidential Capacity, whose job it would be to work on these issues.
This commission, which would be permanent and made up of medical professionals and experienced political leaders, would follow in line with the 25th Amendment’s provision that allows the vice president to operate in tandem with “such other body as Congress may by law provide” when involuntarily transferring power away from the president, if necessary. Without this separate body — which Democrats now seek to create — the vice president would have to work with a majority of the administration’s top Cabinet officials in order to invoke the 25th Amendment. There’s obviously the potential in that latter scenario for political conflicts of interest to cloud judgment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has suggested in the wake of the president’s treatment regimen for his Coronavirus diagnosis that Trump could be or at least could have been in an altered state of mind. He’s behaved bizarrely, veering from 15 all-caps tweets in a row to abruptly demanding the end of negotiations over a potential comprehensive Coronavirus-connected economic relief package — to then backtracking and insisting that there are actually specific relief measures that he wants to see accomplished, pronto. On Thursday, Pelosi commented to Bloomberg News that Trump “is, shall we say, in an altered state right now.”
On Friday, Pelosi cast the new legislation as part of Democrats’ broader plans for reform in the looming post-Trump era. There is, of course, essentially no chance of many of these reforms making it anywhere with the Republicans in control of the Senate — although FiveThirtyEight currently estimates that Democrats are slightly favored to win control of the Senate this November.
Meanwhile, Pelosi commented about the new legislation:
‘This is not about President Trump; he will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.’
As if all they’ve got are petty insults, on Friday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany suggested on Twitter that Pelosi herself is unfit for office. Her “evidence” is a clip in which Pelosi says “Good morning, Sunday morning,” in the middle of an interview. She may have been speaking to someone off-camera — this concept really isn’t difficult. As has been suggested elsewhere, it also might have just been a joke. Suggesting that she is somehow unfit for office is just ridiculous.
The only one who needs the 25th Amendment is Nancy Pelosi herself.
“Good Morning, Sunday Morning,” she bizarrely blurts out after suggesting impeaching President @realDonaldTrump for exercising his Art. II, Sec. II power!
Stop projecting, Nancy! ⬇️pic.twitter.com/QXBVhKqwLd
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) October 9, 2020
White House staffers are just, by and large, not credible people at this point. Trump himself has addressed questions about his mental capacity in the past. He has repeatedly referred to himself as a “stable genius,” but in reality, he has repeatedly spiraled wildly through public meltdown after public meltdown. Trump insisted that “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation,” adding that “they don’t call her Crazy for nothing!” — but it is Donald Trump himself, not some mythical “they,” who seems to have come up with the “Crazy Nancy” moniker.
Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing! https://t.co/7vE0Jvq0dM
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2020