Updated to reflect Elizabeth Warren email, see below
A timely piece has been published by NPR detailing the specifics of the 25th Amendment.
There have already been exchanges here at BMG regarding the 25th Amendment, on at least two diaries (Who Elected You? and No Profile In Courage). In the first of those, our usually astute Christopher makes an assertion about the operation of the 25th Amendment that requires at least clarification (emphasis mine):
25th amendment also requires the agreement of Pence. There’s speculation based on vocabulary that this op-ed is the work of the VP’s speechwriter, but that doesn’t guarantee he’s speaking for Pence in this instance.
The cited NPR piece says this (emphasis original):
Are there any other checks and balances in this process?
Yes. The law says that an incapacitated president can resume the duties of the 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 [legislative leaders] their written declaration that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
That’s an important detail: If a 25th Amendment process were triggered, Congress could appoint a “body,” or a board of medical experts, or other people, to give an opinion about the fitness of the president.
The agreement of Mr. Pence is not required if the GOP members of Congress do their moral and constitutional duty and appoint an independent body or board of medical experts to evaluate the competence of Mr. Trump.
The rest of the NPR piece is well worth the read.
Update to reflect Elizabeth Warren email
It seems that our senior senator agrees with us. She sent the following email late this afternoon:
Elizabeth Warren for Senate
Yesterday, a senior official in the Trump Administration wrote an anonymous New York Times op-ed that alleges that “the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic” and that the presidential cabinet does not believe Donald Trump is mentally fit for office:
Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.
Let’s be clear: We already have a constitutional crisis if the cabinet believes the President of the United States can’t do his job and then refuses to follow the rules that have been laid down in the United States Constitution. They can’t have it both ways.
Sign on now to tell the Trump Administration cabinet: Invoke the 25th Amendment if you believe Trump is unfit for office.
If the presidential cabinet believes that President Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” as the 25th Amendment states, then every minute they make excuses is a minute that our country is at risk.
If senior officials believe the president is unfit, they should stop hiding behind anonymous op-eds and leaking information to Bob Woodward boasting that they’re trying to save our country, and instead do what the Constitution demands they do: invoke the 25th Amendment and remove this president from office.
This isn’t about politics – this is about the safety of our children, the national security of our nation, and the future of our democracy.
Tell the cabinet: if Trump is unfit, invoke the 25th.