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.

Get Rid of Him Now and Stop Him from Coming Back

Two law professors explain why it’s necessary to sideline the president, impeach him, convict him and prevent his return: 

After a mob incited by President Txxxx stormed and occupied the Capitol, American democracy needs protecting now — and not just now but in the coming weeks and years as well.

There are reports of preliminary discussions within the administration about invoking the 25th Amendment, a provision in the Constitution that provides a process to declare a sitting president no longer capable of fulfilling his duties. Another call is coming from a surprising source: The National Association of Manufacturers, not normally an organization known for this kind of political activism, said that Vice President Mike Pence “should seriously consider working with the cabinet” to invoke the amendment to remove President Txxxx and “preserve democracy.” People are invoking the 25th Amendment on the grounds that Mr. Txxxx is not fit to hold office and incited the chaos that unfolded on Capitol Hill — and may unfold again.

There are also calls from a number of Democratic representatives to impeach and remove the president . . .

The magnitude of the current crisis calls for both of these measures. The threat the president poses to our democracy is not short-lived and must be cut off urgently and decisively — before it leads to even greater degradation to American democratic processes and traditions. It will need to happen quickly, even with other demands pressing on our country’s leadership . . .

To do this, the cabinet and Congress must deploy the 25th Amendment and impeachment in sequence.

First, Vice President Pence and a majority of the cabinet should invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment in order to make a declaration that Mr. Txxxx is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” This would immediately suspend, but not remove, Mr. Txxxx from the exercise of his presidential duties and appoint Mr. Pence as acting president. The 25th Amendment would not and should not be used as a lasting solution in a case of this kind, but rather as a temporary measure to sideline a demonstrably unfit and dangerous actor who is fueling anti-democratic action.

Second, the House should quickly draw up and pass articles of impeachment. And then the Senate should hold a fair — but immediate and efficient — trial both to remove President Txxxx from office and, as important, to disqualify him from serving in public office in the future. Precedent suggests that the Senate would likely need to hold two separate votes on removal and disqualification, although the disqualification vote may require only a simple majority to be approved, as opposed to the two-thirds vote necessary for removal from office.

Disqualification is necessary given Mr. Txxxx’s anti-democratic response to the 2020 election and the continuing danger that he will pose to constitutional norms if allowed to flirt with a return to power in 2024. Indeed, the importance of disqualification in this case is such that the Congress should proceed with impeachment even if Mr. Txxxx’s term in office has already concluded.

A public vote and rapid trial in the Senate would give much-needed legitimacy to actions to remove Mr. Txxxx from office. By forcing Republicans to stand up for democracy and against the president’s actions, it would also reaffirm bipartisan support for the fundamental principles of American democracy. Further, while the 25th Amendment is intended mainly for illness or other objective incapacities, impeachment offers an appropriate moral response to the president’s conduct, including incitement to violence and attacks on basic democratic norms.

Why do this with only about two weeks left in President Txxxx’s term? Because we must defend our democracy for all Americans, now. And we must preserve our democracy for future Americans. . . . And we must reassure the world, and especially would-be authoritarian regimes, about what United States policy will be on questions of freedom and self-rule now and in the future.

The Constitution does not protect against every threat currently facing our democracy. But it contains a range of useful safeguards. And it is high time to deploy them — with urgency.

Unquote.

Unfortunately, “some [Democratic] members fear that impeachment might trigger another violent episode”. The Republicans have the Sedition Caucus; Democrats have the Fear Caucus.

Mike Pence and Some Friends Can Quickly Remove Trump If They Want To

The 25th Amendment to the Constitution is a way to quickly replace a president who cannot or will not do his job. Vice President Pence could become Acting President tomorrow if a majority of the Cabinet agreed. 

Hoping for courage from Pence or members of the Cabinet is probably a waste of time, but, according to CNN, “some Cabinet members are holding preliminary discussions about invoking the 25th Amendment”. 

A law professor at the University of Michigan wrote a book about the amendment and has been discussing it on Twitter. Here’s how it would work. Pence would initiate the process. He would need 8 of the 14 members of the Cabinet to agree that Txxxx should be removed. At that point, “the president is stripped of his powers and the Vice President becomes Acting President”. 

If the president agrees he’s unfit, Pence has the job until Joe Biden takes over on January 20th. 

Assuming the president doesn’t agree to relinquish his job (a safe assumption in this case), Pence and the cabinet have four days to respond. If Pence became Acting President on January 7th, therefore, he and the Cabinet wouldn’t have to do anything until January 11th. At that point, they’d either have to reinstate Txxxx or declare again that he’s unfit.

Saying again that Txxxx is unfit would immediately turn the matter over to Congress. Congress would then have at least 21 days to debate the issue, while Pence would still be Acting President.

Fortunately, Joe Biden would be president after 10 days, so Congress could let the clock run out on the worst presidency in history without taking a vote.

Reporters are quoting anonymous sources in the administration who say the president is delusional or out of his mind. Of course he is. Pence is already on the maniac’s enemies list for doing his job earlier today as Congress began adding up the electoral votes. After watching this president incite right-wing insurrection, maybe he and a group of his associates will finally agree with a majority of Americans that we can’t wait for this president to go.

Note: Here’s the 25th Amendment flowchart Prof. Brian Kalt included in his book.

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Situation Normal, Just Stupid, Bigoted and Confused

Without informing the Defense Department, the President* issued an official statement via Twitter this afternoon:

12:55 PM – 26 Jul 2017

After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow……

(By the way, note the “my Generals”, as if they’re part of his army, not ours.)

It took a while for the next tweet to appear. According to Buzzfeed News:

At the Pentagon, the first of the three tweets raised fears that the president was getting ready to announce strikes on North Korea or some other military action. Many said they were left in suspense for nine minutes, the time between the first and second tweet. Only after the second tweet did military officials receive the news the president was announcing a personnel change on Twitter.

The suspense ended with his second message:

01:04 PM – 26 Jul 2017

….Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming…..

What a relief that must have been at the Pentagon! It was only the Commander-in-Chief* making a stupid, bigoted announcement, not a personal declaration of war. The White House said later that the “details”, such as the decision’s effect on the 15,000 or more transgender individuals already serving in the military, are to be worked out later.

This is one reason we have the 25th Amendment to the Constitution.

Good News: The 25th Amendment Can Be Invoked in 23 Days

Bad news: A man with a serious personality disorder will be sworn in as President on January 20th, only 23 days from now.

But as noted above, the new President will immediately become subject to the provisions of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. That’s the amendment that allows the Vice-President to become President when the President dies or becomes “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” (unfortunately, of course, it’s still “his”).

Here’s the first paragraph of Section 4:

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.

There is more to it than that, because the President can object to the Vice-President’s declaration. Congress would then decide the issue.

Granted, given the fact that the new President is being extremely careful to appoint people he trusts to his cabinet, it might be difficult for Vice President Pence to get the necessary signatures right away. He’d probably need to wait until at least one of the President’s appointments had been confirmed, but I’m sure the details could be worked out.

Next question: Will the new President be unable to perform his duties as required? That’s an easy one. The man is clearly suffering from a severe psychological disorder. (I mean, seriously.)

It didn’t get much attention, but three professors of psychiatry sent a letter to President Obama last month. They called for the next President to undergo “a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation” in order to see if he suffers from an incurable (!) illness called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. Professional ethics demand that psychiatrists not diagnose patients from afar, but is there any doubt that the President-elect is not a well person? From their letter:

Here … are the 9 criteria for “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. If an individual has 5 out of the 9 they have a confirmed diagnosis of this illness…

“Summary : A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.

3. Believe that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people (or institutions)

4. Requires excessive admiration

5. Has a sense of entitlement

6. Is interpersonally exploitative

7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.

9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.”

Opinions may vary, but I give him roughly nine out of nine. 

The professors continue:

1. People with NPD are extremely sensitive and insecure. They psychologically require constant compliments and acknowledgement because they do not have their own internal self-esteem. They need to get it from others.

2. If someone does criticize them, … it triggers this deep and painful lack of self-esteem and they MUST lash out to relieve the pain of the criticism.

3. They have only two modes: They are either fully your friend and love you or you are their enemy and they will do everything to discredit you or humiliate you. They can’t help it. The pain of having someone in their circle who does not approve of them or acknowledge them, almost constantly, is too great.

4. There are only two ways to deal with someone with NPD, and they are both dangerous. There is no healthy way of interacting with someone with this affliction. If you criticize them they will lash out at you and if they have a great deal of power, that can be consequential. If you compliment them it only acts to increase the delusional and grandiose reality the sufferer has created, causing him to be even more reliant on constant and endless compliments and unwavering support.

5. Because they crave the attention and approval of others they develop great capacity to engage and entertain and can be quite charismatic, even to the point of developing a cult-like following.

6. Someone with NPD will NEVER get along with any member of the press or any media outlet that criticizes him.

7. Someone with NPD will NEVER hire (and will fire) anyone who criticizes him. Therefore, and because they believe they know better than almost everyone else, they have a very hard time listening and taking any advice.

In other words, the President of the United States will be psychologically armed and extremely dangerous as of high noon on January 20th. That’s when the Vice-President of the United States needs to begin the process of saving us from the Electoral College. Never put off until tomorrow what needs to be done today.

PS:

Bad news: Mike Pence, a rock-ribbed Republican jerk, would become President.

Good news: We’ve survived bastards like him before.

More good news: If Pence doesn’t immediately get the 25th Amendment rolling, see Article 2, Section 4, Impeachment. Even Congressional Republicans do their jobs sometimes.