Donald Trump Is Unstable — And He Could Be Removed From Office

Section 4 of the 25th amendment was created for a reason

Donald Trump, seen in reflection, poses for a portrait following an interview with the Associated Press at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Donald Trump, seen in reflection, poses for a portrait following an interview with the Associated Press at the Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015 (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Donald Trump has shown no signs of sobering up since he’s assumed the most important role in the world. He’s still impulsively tweeting, hurling insults, and exhibiting the same reactionary lack of discipline and shaky relationship with the truth that he embodied throughout his candidacy. During his campaign, this blatant lack of decency was dispelled by his supporters as “genius showmanship” used to garner attention and manipulate the media. “He’ll change when he gets into office,” they decried. Well, he’s President now and hasn’t changed one bit. In fact, he’s gotten worse. And if it continues, he could be removed from office.

Words matter and, as we know, Donald Trump is careless with them. Off-the-cuff remarks may have worked for him during his campaign, but when it comes to the presidency, words need to be carefully crafted in order to achieve certain ends. Especially in regards to dealing with other nations. Diplomacy isn’t a game, and if Trump thinks it is, he’s playing dangerously.

Last week, Trump had numerous phone calls with world leaders, as all freshly inaugurated presidents do in their first week in office. There were two in particular that showcased Trump’s ineptitude.

After Trump took to Twitter last Thursday, declaring that if Mexico wouldn’t agree to pay for his border wall then they should cancel their upcoming meeting, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto did just that. The day after the cancelation, the two had an hour long phone call where Trump reportedly told Nieto:

“You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren’t doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn’t, so I just might send them down to take care of it.”

After the AP report was published revealing this excerpt, both the White House and the Mexican government pushed back claiming the comments did not occur. The following morning, the White House reversed course and confirmed that the comments did indeed occur but they were “light-hearted” and came as “part of a discussion about how the United States and Mexico could work collaboratively to combat drug cartels and other criminal elements, and make the border more secure.” I’ll let you decide for yourself whether a threat of invasion is “light-hearted.”

On Saturday, President Trump spoke to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. You would expect that call to go smoothly, seeing how Australia is a strong ally of the U.S. and Trump has no prior friction with Turnbull. Think again. The Washington Post reported that Trump berated Turnbull, bragged about his electoral college win, and abruptly ended the phone call. At one point he told Turnbull “this was the worst call by far.” He also shared his thoughts on the refugee agreement between the two nations:

“This is the worst deal ever,” Trump fumed as Turnbull attempted to confirm that the United States would honor its pledge to take in 1,250 refugees from an Australian detention center.

Trump, who one day earlier had signed an executive order temporarily barring the admission of refugees, complained that he was “going to get killed” politically and accused Australia of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers.”

After the report of this call was making waves, Trump decided to take to Twitter to double down on his criticism of the refugee swap and falsely call the refugees in the deal “illegal immigrants.”

After less than two weeks in office, Trump’s irrational tendencies have been on full display. There are numerous examples one could look to, but these two circumstances seem to encapsulate all of them. Thin-skinned temperament. Impulsive statements. Baseless claims. Misrepresentations of the truth. Doubling down, then subsequently backtracking on assertions. Those tendencies were all fun and games for his supporters during the campaign but when applied to serious diplomatic situations, it could prove harmful to America’s reputation and relationships with foreign nations.

Trump’s erratic behavior has prompted many to call for him to be removed from office. Although some would argue there are already grounds for impeachment (*cough* emoluments), people had a different constitutional method in mind.

Why would these events cause one to think there were grounds to remove Trump from office and what in the 25th amendment could allow this, you ask?

Most people know of the 25th amendment for its first three sections, which involve (1) the transfer of power from the President to the Vice President in case of death or resignation, (2) the nomination of a Vice President in case of a vacancy, and (3) the President voluntarily transferring power over to the Vice President. All 3 have been invoked in the past. The first three times the 25th amendment were invoked was the use of Sections 1 and 2 during the scandals of the Nixon Administration. The last three times were temporary invocations of section 3, when past President’s had medical procedures. But there is a fourth section that has yet to be invoked.

Section 4 of the 25th amendment reads as follows:

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.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall resume the powers and duties of his office unless the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive department or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit within four days 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. Thereupon Congress shall decide the issue, assembling within forty-eight hours for that purpose if not in session. If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.

This essentially states that if the Vice President and majority of the President’s cabinet, or the majority of either body of Congress, decides the President is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” they can provide a written declaration that would then immediately remove the President from office and transfer power to the Vice President.

Then after the President sends a letter claiming they are indeed capable, the Vice President and the Speaker of the House can contest it within four days, then creating a 21 day window where 2/3 of both houses of Congress must agree that the President is unable to carry out their duties. The President can always send another letter claiming they are able, and the 21 day window would then reset. If 2/3 of both houses vote that the President is unable to perform the duties, they are out, and the Vice President is in.

Although this Section has never been invoked, it has been considered. Both times were during Reagan's presidency. Once in 1981 after the assassination attempt, and another in 1987 when his aides claimed Reagan appeared depressed, inept and inattentive after the Iran-Contra scandal. Although Reagan didn’t reveal his condition until 1994, it is thought that these were early symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

Section 4 is broad and can clearly be applied in the context of Trump’s presidency. Trump is clearly unfit for office. The likelihood of this occurring in Congress in the short-term is small, given the fact that Republican lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- KY) care more about passing their agenda and reelection in 2018 than the lives of the American people. But in the long-term, if Trump begins to lose the Republican base, his approval ratings keep dropping, and polls like this keep popping up…

…Republican lawmakers may find it politically expedient to execute on the arsenal of methods before them to get Trump out of office and install their beloved Mike Pence.

On the cabinet side, if Trump continues his erratic behavior, someone is bound to hit their limit and put their country over their political allegiances. Some members of the White House staff that are close to President Trump have apparently already hit theirs, given the leaks of the phone calls that made this article possible.

The constitutional ammo to remove President Donald Trump from office is there. Whether it’s through impeachment or via the 25th amendment, only one question remains. Will Republican lawmakers ever realize that executing on their shortsighted political agenda isn’t worth reducing the strength of the United States?

News // Donald Trump / Government / Politics / USA