Tuesday, May 23, 2017

DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT: Removing Trump via the 25th Amendment Is a Bad Idea

It would contravene the amendment’s plainly intended use, and it would be politically disastrous.
In the New York Times on Wednesday, Ross Douthat used his customarily eloquent voice to endorse an idea that has bubbled below the surface since the latest round of crises began to rock the White House: The 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Douthat proposed, should be used to remove the president from office.
In Douthat’s estimation, such a move is necessary because of Trump’s “incapacity to really govern, to truly execute the duties that fall to him to carry out.” In fact, Douthat considers that it is inaction that presents the greater risk. “Leaving a man this witless and unmastered in an office with these powers and responsibilities,” he writes, “is an act of gross negligence,” for Trump, at root, is a “child.”
That President Trump is a peculiarity is, alas, beyond doubt. But even if one were to sign on completely to Douthat’s devastating characterization — and I’m not averse to doing so — there would remain a crucial difference between the best diagnosis and the best remedy. It is possible that we are in for a bumpy few years under the stewardship of this administration; it is possible that we are in for worse. It is also possible — if not guaranteed — that to stage a legalized coup would be extremely unwise. And at no point in his essay does Douthat seriously grapple with that possibility.
The 25th Amendment was intended to do two things. First, to clarify the line of succession in the event that a president is killed or incapacitated. Second, to allow for the “immediate” transfer of power to the vice president in such a case as the incumbent is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” In both its text and its original public meaning, the amendment was designed to deal with a situation such as Woodrow Wilson’s stroke or the assassination of John F. Kennedy; it was not designed to kneecap the ill-tempered or the incompetent. Should it be used to do just that, a terrible precedent would be established.
Read the rest from Charles Cooke HERE.

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