In her weekly press conference, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) informed media that she and other Democrats would be “discussing” the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution — the amendment that allows a majority of Cabinet officials, with the assent of the Vice President, to remove the President because he is unfit to hold office.
Democrats have suggested deploying the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office before, but this is the first time that leadership — notably, the Speaker of the House — has seemingly endorsed the idea.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Pelosi hinted that Democrats would be discussing the issue seriously at their event Friday.
“Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow. We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment. But not to take attention away from the subject we have now,” she said.
When pressed for further information, Pelosi demurred.
“I’m not talking about it today except to tell you, if you want to talk about that, we’ll see you tomorrow,” she said. “But you take me back to my point, Mr. President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this made a hotspot of the White House?”
The 25th amendment allows for the vice president to sign off a plan to replace the president if a majority of Cabinet officials (or a majority of Congress, in specific instances) agree that the president is unfit to serve in office. It also allows the president to pass off duties to the vice president if he believes he cannot serve, even for just a short period of time.
Trump has not, at any time during his battle with coronavirus, passed his duties on to Vice President Mike Pence.
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) is well known for suggesting that Democrats initiate the complicated process to remove Trump from office, and pressed the Cabinet to hold a vote to end Trump’s tenure back in 2018. The New York Times reported, also in 2018, that before resigning, deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein suggested that he secretly record Oval Office meeting with the president in order to help convince Cabinet members to start the removal process following the president’s decision to fire then-FBI director James Comey.
Pelosi floated the idea of questioning Trump’s fitness for office on Wednesday in an appearance on The View, the Daily Wire reported earlier on Thursday. In the interview, Pelosi suggested that key White House staffers stage an “intervention” on the president to address his “erratic” behavior following his coronavirus diagnosis. She even went so far as to quote amateur social media doctors who theorized, earlier this week, that a corticosteroid, dexamethasone, that doctors prescribed to the president to aid in his recovery, could be impacting his ability to think clearly.
“I don’t know, but there are those healthcare providers who say that,” Pelosi said. She later added that the president is likely in “denial” about his condition. “Also, if you have the coronavirus, it has an impact, as well. So the combination is something that should be viewed.”
“We should be concerned because of the virus and its viciousness, but also because of the denial the president is in,” she said. “There’s something wrong about the disconnect between what the president’s responsibilities are and what’s happening.”