Pelosi proposes panel to check if Trump is mentally fit under 25th Amendment, GOP calls it 'coup' against POTUS
Under the Constitution's 25th Amendment, House Democrats led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep Jamie Raskin of Maryland are all set to introduce a proposal to establish a panel on Friday, October 9, in order to determine the president's fitness to remain in office.
The proposal would push for the creation of an expert panel which would include members appointed by Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate. In addition, it would also include doctors as well as former presidents and Cabinet secretaries, who would each serve four-year terms.
Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and member of the House Judiciary Committee, said that the sole purpose of the panel would be to "determine whether the President is mentally or physically unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office," through a medical examination of the sitting POTUS at the direction of Congress.
The move comes after Pelosi went on national television to stress on the erratic behavior being demonstrated by Trump after he tested positive for coronavirus. "The president is, shall we say, in an altered state right now," Pelosi said on Thursday, October 8, during an interview with Bloomberg TV. "I don’t know how to answer for that behavior. "There are those who say when you are on steroids or have Covid-19, there may be some impairment of judgment."
At the direction of his doctors, Trump has been administered dexamethasone, a steroid used to reduce lung inflammation in Covid-19 patients. The side effects of the drug include psychiatric effects including mood swings, rage and psychosis. Add to that the fact that Trump's doctor Dr Sean Conley has been providing limited updates about the president's health and has repeatedly contradicted himself in press conferences over the weekend, the situation only gets even graver.
Earlier this week, Raskin explained why the proposal was so important. "The population is getting older, politicians are getting older," he said in an interview. "It's not hard to think that there will be future situations where the president's physical and mental state may create issues for us. So, we just need to make sure that we have a structure and a process in place to address it."
According to the 25th Amendment, "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."
Raskin added: "Congress has not yet set up such a body but I think that we should. I wish it had been done after the 25th Amendment was adopted in 1967."
Pelosi had made it clear that the proposal would likely apply to future presidents and not just to Trump. "I don't say that would work for this president but I do think, well, for this presidency, you know, three-and-a-half months, but we can establish it for the future so there's much more clarity and a backstop," she said at a livestream event hosted in New York City.
However, Republicans were skeptical about the aim of the proposal as they were convinced that Pelosi was going to use it to try and remove Trump from office. Rep Mark Green tweeted, "I wouldn’t put it past @SpeakerPelosi to stage a coup. She has already weaponized impeachment, what’s to keep her from weaponizing the 25th amendment? We need a new Speaker!"
Rep Doug Collins wrote, "@SpeakerPelosi will stop at NOTHING to take down @realDonaldTrump. First it was the Russia hoax, then sham impeachment. Now she's trying to invoke the 25th amendment because he... fully recovered from the coronavirus? We won’t let her get away with it."
Omar Navarro, the perennial candidate for the seat of California's 43rd congressional district against longtime Democratic congressperson Maxine Waters, said, "Nancy Pelosi wants to establish the 25th amendment to remove Trump. We can use Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution to determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel Pelosi."
.@SpeakerPelosi will stop at NOTHING to take down @realDonaldTrump.— Rep. Doug Collins (@RepDougCollins) October 8, 2020
First it was the Russia hoax, then sham impeachment. Now she’s trying to invoke the 25th amendment because he... fully recovered from the coronavirus?
We won’t let her get away with it.https://t.co/L9fRPFpynC
Nancy Pelosi want’s to establish the 25th amendment to remove Trump. We can use Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel Pelosi.— Omar Navarro (@RealOmarNavarro) October 9, 2020