With all the talk going on over the 25th Amendment and whether the cabinet could use it to remove the power of the presidency from Donald Trump, Fox News host Tucker Carlson challenged the idea by questioning how this would actually work. Unfortunately, he didn’t let his guest, law professor and former George W. Bush administration ethics lawyer Richard Painter, provide the answer.
Painter, now a law professor at University of Minnesota and a staunch proponent of using the 25th Amendment for Trump, began to give the answer.
“How would you do it?” Carlson asked. “Would you rush into his office? Would you rouse him from bed? Like how would you do this?” Painter said this isn’t about physically taking someone out of an office, but stripping them of power and giving it to someone else.
Carlson then raised the question of what would happen if the president challenged the assertion of the cabinet that he was unable to perform his duties. Again, Painter began giving the answer.
“If the majority of the cabinet, the Vice President were to temprorarliy remove the president, then it would be up to two thirds of the United States House and Senate to permanently remove the president under the 25th Amendment.”
Carlson then ended the segment before Painter could finish, but played it off like the professor didn’t have an answer for him.
“Unfortunately, we’re out of time. Look, think this through a little bit, come back, and we can play it all out,” he said.
For those left wondering, here’s how the 25th Amendment works, as explained in … the 25th Amendment.
First, the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet would have to say in writing to the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House that the president is unable to perform his duties. In order to regain his powers, the president can then send written statements to the same people saying that he is indeed able. The VP and cabinet would then have four days to challenge this with another written declaration to the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. It would then be up to two thirds of both houses of Congress, as Painter said, to decide the issue. The 25th Amendment details how this would work:
Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.
[Image via Fox News screengrab]