The “25th Amendment” states that the President must be “incapable of performing the duties and powers of his office.” Criteria for this “incapacity” are not defined, meaning generally physical or mental impairments. CNN cited anonymous republican Leaders saying Trump is “out of control”.
The elected president, whose departure from office is scheduled for January 20, had his supporters gathered in Washington by the thousands with a speech on Wednesday. In it he reiterated his completely unproven accusation of massive fraud in the presidential election on November 3rd and called for a march on the Capitol – the seat of Congress.
Later, Trump supporters stormed the Capitol and rioted in the building for hours. Trump called for “peace” in a video message that was still broadcast during the riot. At the same time, he said to his rampaging supporters: “We love you” – and renewed his election fraud allegations.
For Trump to be ousted by his own cabinet, his deputy Mike Pence would have to support the initiative. According to the constitutional amendment, the vice president must lead the cabinet vote to disempower the president.
Pence was his loyal companion over Trump’s four-year term, but had recently distanced himself from him. For example, he condemned the riot in the Capitol and resisted Trump’s demand that he prevent Congress from certifying the election result. By virtue of his office, Pence is also Chairman of the Senate.
Democrats also called for premature disempowerment
In a letter to Pence, the Democrats in the House of Representatives also demanded the premature disempowerment of Trump by their own government. The elected president had incited an uproar and “tried to undermine our democracy,” wrote the democratic members of the judiciary committee. Trump is “mentally not healthy” and unable to “process and accept” the election result.
The procedure for the removal of the president provided for in the “25th Amendment” is complicated – if it actually got rolling, it might not be completed before Trump’s term in office ends anyway.
Because a mere cabinet decision is not enough for the permanent removal of the president. It is true that the president is removed from office immediately if the vice-president and cabinet submit a corresponding declaration in Congress. The president can then, however, certify his qualifications with a counter-declaration, which would immediately put him back in office.
In the next step, the vice-president and cabinet would again have to declare the president’s incapacity, which would lead to his renewed provisional removal from office. Congress would then have to vote on a possible final dismissal within 21 days. A two-thirds majority would then be required for this.
Even a new parliamentary impeachment procedure against the president – the so-called impeachment – is now being discussed. Such a procedure against Trump was initiated at the end of 2019 because of the Ukraine affair, but ultimately failed in the conservatively dominated Senate.
According to the US Constitution, a president can be removed from office for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. A simple majority in the House of Representatives would be sufficient to bring charges against Trump. A two-thirds majority in the Senate would then be necessary for an actual removal from office. However, a new impeachment is currently highly unlikely. (AFP)
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