Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a House Democrat, has just introduced legislation that will make the Constitution’s presidential removal procedures much easier. The Representative presented the legislation in response to concerns about President Trump’s behavior. Blumenauer filed the bill during the House’s Spring recess in hopes to empower former presidents and vice presidents from both parties, in cooperation with the sitting vice president, to make a determination if a president is fit for office.
“It is hard to imagine a better group to work with the vice president to examine whether the president is able to perform the duties of the office. When there are questions about the president’s ability to fulfill his or her constitutional responsibilities, it is in the country’s best interest to have a mechanism in place that works effectively,” Blumenauer said in a statement.
The House Representative believes that the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, put in place 50 years ago, would not be effective enough in cases of emotional or mental incapacity. The present amendment simply states that the vice president assumes leadership in the Oval Office in the event that a president is removed from office, dies or resigns. It is also the law that the vice president, along with a majority of a president’s Cabinet members can jointly declare that a president is unfit to serve, and the vice president would then assume control. If a president refuses to step down, it would take a two-thirds override from both the House and the Senate to vote force a presidential resignation.
The rationale behind Blumenauer’s bill is that the present legislation would not work if an unstable president simply fired all the Cabinet members. He also argued that it’s possible, under unstable pressure, that loyal Cabinet members might stand by the president even if they had significant suspicions.
“Because the cabinet can be fired by the president, there is a natural bias that would make them reluctant to acknowledge the president’s inability to serve. It’s time to revisit and strengthen the Amendment and make sure there is a reliable mechanism in place if the president becomes unable to discharge the powers and duties of office,” Blumenauer said.
Blumenauer is not the only Democratic lawmakers who have publically raised questions about Trump’s psychological state since he took office; others have included: Sen. Al Franken (Minn.) and Reps. Ted Lieu (Calif.) and John Yarmuth (Ky.). Blumenauer raised his first concerns from the House floor in a February speech in which he expressed worry at what he considered “erratic” behavior. He focused on Trump’s “baseless” claims about voter fraud and his assessment that it was sunny during his inaugural address when it was in fact raining.
What do you think about a bill that would simplify the procedure for forcing a president from office?
Credit: The Hill