Political Science Expert: 'A President Inciting Insurrection Is About As Good As An Example' For Invoking 25th Amendment
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It is the hot topic coursing through the halls of Congress and apparently within the White House: Should the president be removed making use of the 25th Amendment?
"Having a president inciting insurrection, probably, is about as good as an example as you can get," said Charles Zelden, a political science professor at Nova Southeastern University.
Removing a president because he is judged unfit is a simple procedure, at least on paper – the Constitution.
Article II, Section 4, provides:
The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
"The decision is made by the cabinet and the vice president that the president is not fit to do the office of the president for health reason or capacity reasons," Zelden said.
Here is the next step, in part:
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.
"At that point, the president has the right to say, 'No, I am fit and object to it,'" Zelden said.
Time is on President Donald Trump's side. With a short time left before the inauguration, Trump can just sit it out.
"The president has three days in which to say, 'No.' To say, 'I am fit.' And the Congress has something on the order of two weeks or more to take up the vote," Zelden explained.
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It probably means game over who those who want to invoke the 25th. There just is not enough time left in the Trump presidency. The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden comes Jan. 20.
And is there the political will to go forward?
"The Republican Party has not stood up to him, yet. I don't see them standing up to him now," Zelden said.
The 25th Amendment has been invoked often in the past when presidents have been taken ill and all have agreed to put the vice president in charge.
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