CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The siege on the U.S Capitol has renewed talk of an extreme remedy, declaring that the President is unfit to do his job and removing him from office under the 25th Amendment.
The 25th Amendment addresses the issue of presidential disability as well as succession.
In 1955 after a heart attack and other issues President Dwight Eisenhower worried about the transfer of power, if he were temporarily incapacitated, especially given the Cold War relations with the Soviet Union. Eisenhower worked out an informal arrangement with his Vice President Richard Nixon in case he needed to temporarily cede power.
After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963 congress passed the 25th Amendment in July 1965.
Springfield political consultant Tony Cignoli explains how it works:
“If the President is incapable of carrying out his duties that’s what the 25th is there for. Whether it’s mental incapacity of physical incapacity it is in this instance that the Vice President goes to the members of the Cabinet takes their temperature on this moves them to say, we’ve got to have him step out of office for the good of the nation it’s important right now for this to happen.”
Cignoli adds that won’t be easy with a Cabinet of Trump loyalists. But if the Vice President and Cabinet declared the President incapacitated he could reclaim his powers by writing to legislative leaders and declaring his ability to do the job.
If the Vice President and Cabinet members object the matter then moves over to congress. It would require a two-thirds vote in both Chambers of Congress to strip the President of his powers once and for all.
At that point, Vice President Pence would finish out Trump’s term until inauguration day on January 20.