Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, says it’s time to remove President Trump from office by invoking a rarely used constitutional amendment.
Speier said in a tweet, “POTUS is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that place the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th amendment.”
The 25th Amendment gives the vice president and a majority of the cabinet the authority to declare Trump unable to discharge the powers of the presidency.
Speier’s tweet followed Trump’s combative news conference on Tuesday where he said “both sides” are to blame for violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1967 in response to the assassination of President Kennedy. It spells out the succession procedure should the president die, resign or is unable to “discharge the powers and duties” of the office.
Section 4 of the amendment allows for the vice president and a majority of the cabinet to provide a written declaration that the president is unable to perform his duties. Congress must then decide with a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers that the president is unfit for office.
Previous use of 25th Amendment
The amendment was used twice during the Watergate scandal under President Nixon and three times when presidents have undergone colonoscopies, once involving Ronald Reagan and twice for George W. Bush, according to Newsweek. But Section 4 has never been seriously proposed for the type of situation now surrounding Trump.
Yet Speier says the evidence is growing that the country needs to be protected from Trump.
“The president day by day is becoming more erratic,” she told NBC Bay Area. “I don’t want to send out men and women to war in North Korea because the president made such outrageous comments.”
While Democrats might see the use of the 25th Amendment as a short-cut around impeachment, removing Trump this way would require significant Republican support — from his cabinet, the vice president and a majority of the House and Senate.
Use of the 25th Amendment has a couple of additional obstacles. It doesn’t specifically mention mental incapacity as a cause for removal. And it doesn’t give a standard or test for determining the capability of holding office.