Pelosi introduces bill to remove unfit presidents after questioning Trump’s mental health, insists it’s not about election

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi previewed legislation Friday that would establish a commission that could be used to determine whether President Donald Trump is mentally fit to continue leading the country.

Pelosi said the bill, which comes roughly three weeks ahead of the November 3 election, is necessary after accusing the president, without evidence, of being “in an altered state” since his treatment for COVID-19.

“This is not about President Trump,” she claimed during a press conference. “He will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”

The Speaker, who, under the Constitution, is second in line to the presidency, also claimed that the timing of the bill, which has little chance of passing in the GOP-controlled Senate, let alone signed by the president, has nothing to do with the pending election.

Pelosi, who continually adjusted what appeared to be an ill-fitting mask, was joined at the press briefing by the bill’s author, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), who said that the COVID-19 pandemic shows there is a need for shoring up presidential succession in the event he becomes incapacitated.

“We need to act,” he said. “In times of chaos, we must hold fast to our Constitution. The 25th Amendment is all about the stability of the presidency and the continuity of the office.”

The amendment, which was ratified Feb. 10, 1967, was proposed in response to President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. It deals specifically with presidential succession.

According to an explainer by Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, the amendment “provides the procedures for replacing the president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation, or incapacitation.”

The amendment calls for the vice president to succeed a president who has been removed from office, a president who dies in office or who resigns with the vice president. After the vice president becomes president, he or she then nominates someone to replace him or her; the nominee becomes VP on a simple majority vote in both chambers of Congress.

Section 4 of the amendment also says a president can be removed if the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” determine he or she cannot continue to discharge his or her duties. If the president refutes such a determination, he or she must transmit that to the House and Senate; if the incapacity determination is submitted again, then it takes a two-thirds vote in each chamber to declare the president unable to continue in his or her post.

That’s the section the Raskins bill incorporates. The legislation proposes creating a Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office Act, a panel that would be charged with determining whether the president is capable of continuing to lead the country.

“The public needs to know the health condition of the president,” Pelosi said Thursday.

Trump would later respond, “Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don’t call her Crazy for nothing!”

Raskins proposed similar legislation in 2017. And less than a month after Trump took office, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) formed a working group to study what additions to the 25th Amendment were necessary based on the president’s “erratic behavior.”

Democrats revisited the 25th Amendment narrative in September 2018 after The New York Times’ publication of an op-ed submitted anonymously by an alleged official within the Trump administration who alleged Trump wasn’t stable.

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Jon Dougherty

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