The 25th Amendment is Trump’s Kryptonite


The search term “25th Amendment” spiked in popularity after President Donald Trump took office.

After the assassination of JFK, the 25th Amendment was enacted. That happened in 1967.  Before the passage of the 25th Amendment the Vice President didn’t officially have the power to take over as President.

The 25th Amendment states that if the president dies, resigns, or is removed from office, the vice president becomes president.  And if the president is unable to fulfill his duties — like when President George W. Bush was under general anesthesia for colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007 — he can temporarily transfer his powers to the vice president, and get them back when he’s done.

But Section IV of the 25th Amendment could be a way to legally remove Trump from office.

 Section IV 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.”

Section IV goes on to say that if two-thirds of both houses of Congress don’t vote to uphold the decision and keep the vice president in charge within 21 days, then the powers and duties automatically transfer back to the president.

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Akhil Reed Amar, a law and political science professor at Yale University, said in a podcast for the National Constitution Center on the topic that the president’s own running mate is the one who triggers a “palace coup,” in order to maintain political stability.

“The 25th Amendment doesn’t try to specify in great detail what might count as a disability, but does try to in effect identify who and how we go about the process,” Amar said. “Here’s the key point: The vice president is the pivot in the whole process. Unless the vice president puts himself — maybe one day, herself — forward, no one else can really basically, at least within the 25th Amendment framework, proclaim an unwilling president ‘disabled.'”

The idea is that the Cabinet and VP are the president’s closest advisers.  So they would be the ones with the best sense of his mental faculties. They, and Congress, could also consult doctors to evaluate the president’s physical and mental health in order to determine if he or she is fit for the job.

The 25th Amendment is a separate process from impeachment, which allows Congress to remove a sitting president if a majority of the House of Representatives votes that he has committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, and a trial in the Senate convicts him.

All in all, it has been used six times since it was passed 50 years ago, a sure indication of how important a piece of legislation it was.

Never has an American President been removed from office by use of the 25th Amendment due to mental illness…but there’s always a first.

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11 thoughts on “The 25th Amendment is Trump’s Kryptonite

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  1. You have got to remember. He didn’t win by a landslide but he won. A really large portion of the population support him. Be advised, they support him regardless of his misdeeds as a businessman. Middle East Islam migration and South American migration are a hot topics. Especially among Trump supporters. This includes Republicans and cross over Democrats. It was the issues that put him into office. Certain Democrats wanted to Suppress the 2nd amendment. When Republicans say yes we should not automatically say no. We need new leadership. The current paradigm is not working.

    MLK was Republican rebel rouser. He was sent by the Republicans to put a wedge in the Democratic party. He was all about stealing other people’s wealth.

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  2. Now that the environment, education, and feeding the elderly are all down the tube, we’ll all be stupid and/or dead in the coming months.

    But at least Hillary didn’t win, so there’s that.

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    1. and now that it’s officially public we have no privacy online (duh, like we ever did?? every keystroke, even if deleted, is recorded!), many are wondering if Bristol will be bombarded with ads for booze and vibrators.

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  3. While I’m ashamed to admit that I was unaware of this amendment until now, I feel I must point out that “mental illness” is so vague that it shouldn’t be relied upon. I have a mental illness, which I prefer to call a disorder, and which is controlled by medication. If we were to seek Trump’s removal because of a “mental illness”, it’d take a lot of shrinks to come to the same conclusion and the same treatment to settle this issue. I’m as fed up with Trump as anyone, but at this point I’m not convinced that a charge of being mental would work. Although it would be interesting to see how thin lawyers could stretch a charge of being “a danger to himself or others.”

    Otherwise, Malia, great post as always.

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    1. zoe,
      I understand that mental illness is hard to define, and each of us probably has some form. The nice thing aboutt he 25th Amendment is that if everyone agrees, Trump is probably so extremely ill that there isn’t really much to discuss.

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  4. Cybergouge, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was NOT a republican. His father may have been, but that’s debatable. How can you possibly say “he was all about stealing other people’s wealth.” You sound very alt-right. and, FYI, Trump only won 26% of the votes.

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    1. Back when, The republican party changed colors and became the democratic party. It is just one more tricky part of our political circus. The old switch er roo. This element within our society has used this tactic to sway the American voter again.

      Trump was a democrat before he was a republican. Its the old Trojan horse theory. And thus the brainwashed kids of these liars continue to use the same tactic today.

      I personally have lived by solid beliefs. Clean Environment, Charity to those in need and fairness to all, clean food, water, air and soil. Future investments of sound mind for a healthy society. A right to free speech, A right to live free of abuse. A right to healthcare when needed, Public Education, and A right to remove paid servants when necessary. These are my basic beliefs.

      Unfortunately we have been taxed without representation, we have been lied to and put in danger, our society is crippled and we must stand up as our ancestors did and fight for our constitution and fair society.

      Mr trump is not our president nor is his cabinet representatives of America. All must resign today and a new election held immediately with numbered, traceable ballots.

      And additionally citizen united must overturned to remove money from our election process. This is the unlawful unconstitutional, illegal unethical outcome of the supreme court decision. Each Judge that voted for this outcome must be investigated for their roll in this tragic injustice to America that we see and witness today. period.

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  5. Trump has a couple of diagnosed “mental illnesses” one is obsessive lying. The other is about forced sex on unwilling people. He is insecure, and has a little man complex (bully) He is dangerous as usa president. And bottom line? He did not win an election. As he said it was rigged and rigged for him to take it. Only lousy actors would claim that he won anything. He has cheated and lied his entire life in everything he does. He hires professional enablers and now involves his own children in his lying scam con jobs. Forget the mental illness the TREASON and espionage is the problem.

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