The New York Post reports in its usual restrained way:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday threatened that Democrats are looking at using a provision of the 25th Amendment to effectively remove President Trump from office.
Pelosi (D-Calif.) teased that she and her fellow Democrats are considering invoking the constitutional provision on presidential succession — a seemingly fantastical yearning among Trump opponents.
“Tomorrow. Come here tomorrow. We’re going to be talking about the 25th Amendment, but not to take attention away from the subject we have now,” Pelosi told reporters at a press conference.
Pelosi deflected a follow-up question about whether she believes it’s time to invoke the amendment, which was ratified in 1967. Trump is recuperating at the White House after a three-night hospitalization over the weekend for COVID-19 treatment.
“I’ll talk to you about that tomorrow,” Pelosi said.
In a Thursday afternoon press release, Pelosi and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said they would introduce a bill establishing a new commission that could remove Trump’s powers if it finds him mentally or physically unfit.
The bill would create a Commission on Presidential Capacity to Discharge the Powers and Duties of Office that would “enable Congress to help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office in the Executive Branch of government,” the press release said.
The White House did not immediately comment on Pelosi’s threat.
The 25th Amendment grants a role to the House in cases of presidential succession or temporary incapacitation. It allows either the vice president and Cabinet — or some other entity designated by Congress — to declare the president unable to perform his duties. Congress never created an entity to supplant the Cabinet in making that decision.
The amendment says: “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.”
Pelosi’s legislation is almost certain to die in the Republican-held Senate. If a commission ever were to be established, and if a vice president were to agree that a president was unable to serve, the 25th Amendment requires 2/3 of each chamber of Congress to affirm that finding if the president objects.
At the press conference, Pelosi mocked Trump’s Thursday morning declaration in a TV interview that he’s “a perfect physical specimen and because I’m extremely young” and alleged that he wanted to misdirect coronavirus stimulus funds to his own businesses.
“He’s a perfect physical specimen, did he say? Specimen, maybe I could agree with that. And young, he said he was young. His disassociation from reality would be funny if it weren’t so deadly,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi’s latest gambit is interesting (there are more profane words I could use) given that Democrat Joe Biden is in arguably worse health not because of COVID, but because of his age (77) and the residual effects of his two brain aneurysms in the 1980s. What other explanation is there for Biden’s basement campaign and how protective his handlers have been about his health status?
Pelosi seems to forget, though, that even if Trump is removed from office by the 25th Amendment, Mike Pence becomes president, and he gets to pick his vice president. It won’t be Pelosi.