By: Denise Simon | Founders Code
Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Democrats are moving forward with trying to remove President Donald Trump from office days after he allegedly incited violent riots at the Capitol.
Pelosi told her members in a letter that the House would attempt to pass a measure Monday to call on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove Trump from office. If he does not act, Democrats will proceed with impeaching Trump
“In protecting our Constitution and our Democracy, we will act with urgency, because this President represents an imminent threat to both,” she wrote.
Many so-called Trump supporters inside and outside government have called on Trump to resign to save and rebuild the government, transfer power peacefully, and restore confidence in the Republican Party.
WHY WAS IT PASSED?
The push for an amendment detailing presidential succession plans in the event of a president’s disability or death followed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. President Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1965 State of the Union promised to “propose laws to insure the necessary continuity of leadership should the President become disabled or die.” The amendment was passed by Congress that year and ratified in 1967.
HAS THE 25TH AMENDMENT BEEN INVOKED BEFORE?
Yes, presidents have temporarily given up power, but those instances have been generally been brief and voluntary, for example when the president was having a medical procedure.
In 2002, President George W. Bush became the first to use the amendment’s Section 3 to temporarily transfer power to Vice President Dick Cheney while Bush was anesthetized for a colonoscopy. Section 4 of the amendment, which allow the Cabinet to declare the president unfit, has never been invoked.
HOW CAN THE CABINET DECLARE THE PRESIDENT UNFIT?
The 25th Amendment’s Section 4 lays out what happens if the president becomes unable to discharge his duties but doesn’t transfer power to the vice president himself.
The vice president and majority of the Cabinet can declare the president unfit. They then would send a letter to the speaker of the House and president pro tempore of the Senate saying so. The vice president then becomes acting president.
The president can send his own letter saying he is fit to serve. But if the vice president and majority of the Cabinet disagree, they can send another letter to Congress within four days. Congress would then have to vote. The president resumes his duties unless both houses of Congress by a two-thirds vote say the president is not ready.
ISN’T THERE SOME OTHER LEGISLATION ABOUT THIS?
Section 4 of the amendment also gives Congress the power to establish a “body” that can, with the support of the vice president, declare that the president is unable to do the job. If they agree the president is unfit, the vice president would take over. But Congress has never set up the body.