Why Try to Get Rid of Him Now?

He is scheduled to be removed from office 13 days from now. Any attempt to strip him of his powers would require a number of Republican officeholders to agree. Given the nature of almost all Republican officeholders, it’s unlikely they would cooperate. But there are reasons to make the effort anyway.

First, it’s the right thing to do. Heinous actions should have consequences, either as retribution or as a way to limit future bad behavior.

Second, it reminds everyone that the federal government has procedures in place to deal with presidents who are unfit. Following those procedures when appropriate emphasizes their reality. It gives them weight.

Third, a failed attempt would show the public which Republican officeholders refused to do the right thing. Most of us already know who is likely to resist removing this particular unfit president, but it’s worth making their refusal public knowledge, making it clear to even more of us that they shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt or entrusted with responsibility in the future.

Finally, it’s possible that the attempt to punish this president would succeed. Since the president incited a riot that endangered Vice President Pence and members of his family, in addition to all the other people who were put at risk, and furthermore called Pence disloyal and weak when he failed to engineer a coup, the vice president might conceivably get a majority of the president’s cabinet members to approve the use of the 25th Amendment, making Pence the acting president until January 20th. If Democrats in the House of Representatives impeach the president again, as they seem likely to, roughly 17 of the 50 or so Republican senators, including Majority Leader McConnell, might conceivably agree to convict him and bar him from ever being president again.

This is why it’s encouraging that leading Democrats. a few Republicans and other observers have called for action against this incredibly unfit president, unlikely as it may be.