- President Donald Trump’s Cabinet reportedly considered removing him using the 25th amendment in the early days of the administration.
- A senior White House official wrote anonymously in a Wednesday New York Times op-ed that despite “early whispers” of invoking the 25th, “no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.”
- The 25th amendment of the US constitution lays out the procedure for the Vice President and a majority of Cabinet members to remove a sitting president from office.
President Donald Trump’s Cabinet considered removing him using the 25th amendment in the early days of the administration, a senior White House official wrote in a stunning, anonymous New York op-ed on Wednesday.
In the op-ed, titled “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration“, the unnamed senior aide reveals the internal, largely secret efforts of administration officials “thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”
“Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president,” the official recounted.
“But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until – one way or another – it’s over,” the person wrote.
The 25th Amendment of the US Constitution lays out the legal procedure in the event that a president dies, resigns, or is declared unfit for office by himself or others, allowing the vice president to take over.
Most often, presidents have used the amendment to temporarily hand over the duties of the presidency to their vice president, like when President George W. Bush was under general anesthesia for colonoscopies in 2002 and 2007.
But under the amendment’s fourth stipulation, it would only take 14 people to depose the president – Vice President Mike Pence and 13 of Trump’s 24 Cabinet members.
They could submit a “written declaration” to the president pro tempore of the Senate and Speaker of the House of Representatives affirming that “the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
The idea is that the Cabinet and VP are the president’s closest advisers, so they would be the ones with the best sense of his mental faculties, John D. Feerick, one of the chief architects of the 25th Amendment, told Business Insider’s Rebecca Harrington.
After the declaration is submitted, if two-thirds of both houses of Congress don’t vote to uphold the decision and keep the vice president in charge within 21 days, then the powers and duties automatically transfer back to the president.
The 25th Amendment is a separate process from impeachment, which allows Congress to remove a sitting president if a majority of the House of Representatives votes that he has committed treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours, and a trial in the Senate convicts him.
In a statement about the op-ed, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the official should resign and The Times should apologise for publishing it.
“The individual behind this piece has chosen to deceive, rather than support, the duly elected President of the United States,” she said. “He is not putting country first, but putting himself and his ego ahead of the will of the American people. This coward should do the right thing and resign.”
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