President Donald Trump‘s rambling 75 minute speech at a Phoenix, Arizona rally is once again sparking calls to invoke the 25th Amendment which allows for the removal of the President under certain circumstances. On CNN Tuesday night, James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, even questioned President Trump’s fitness for office.
Even James Clapper, former director of national intelligence, says he questions President Trump’s fitness for office https://t.co/K9EtoRPBEP
— Al Bree (@nlitenmebabe) August 23, 2017
“I find this downright scary and disturbing,” Clapper said. “I really question his ability … his fitness to be in office.”
Robert Reich, a political commentator, asked on twitter: “I think Trump is losing it. Seriously. Isn’t this what the 25th amendment was designed for?”
Eugene Robinson, an opinion writer for the Washington Post, also recently penned a piece titled “It’s time to talk about Trump’s mental health.”
“To this layman’s eyes and ears, there seems to have been deterioration,” he wrote.
As Trump continued to ramble during his speech in Phoenix Tuesday night, searches on google for the 25th Amendment surged.
— Josh Dorner (@JoshDorner) August 23, 2017
— Mark Curtis (@MarkCM07) August 23, 2017
Thousands upon thousands protest outside Trump’s rally, which was empty. Expect talk of 25th Amendment to grow. pic.twitter.com/KOaiFuQ8sz
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) August 23, 2017
The 25th Amendment allows for the removal of a President if the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet informs congress in a written statement that he is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” If the president appeals his own removal, a two thirds vote by Congress must then confirm his removal. The amendment has been used six times. The most recent invocations surrounded when a president was undergoing a medical procedure which required him to be under general anesthesia, so therefore was temporarily incapacitated.
Most legal experts think it would be very difficult to invoke the 25th Amendment in Trump’s case, especially given the current make-up of Congress.
“Due equally to the respect for the individual and regard for democracy, we do not allow the state, or anyone else, to uniformly call some incapacitated without clear, constricting standards. This requires the literal inability to function — coma status, or its equivalent, generally,” LawNewz.com columnist Robert Barnes wrote in a recent post.
But not everyone agrees. Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe told The New Yorker that the standard for removal is not “a medical or otherwise technical one but is one resting on a commonsense understanding of what it means for a President to be ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’—an inability that can obviously be manifested by gross and pathological inattention or indifference to, or failure to understand, the limits of those powers or the mandatory nature of those duties.”