It's a fact the election of Donald Trump is an incredibly scary prospect for many Americans for all sorts of reasons. Hate crimes are up dramatically, people are afraid for their basic safety. Trump doesn't seem to have even the most basic understanding of the job he's now got on his hands. He's still tweeting. In the event of a total emergency, there is a Constitutional loophole that could remove him from office. Could Donald Trump be removed with the 25th Amendment? Yes, Mike Pence could fire the president, but it would be a very dangerous thing for democracy.
Here's how the 25th amendment works.
Once Trump assumes office, Mike Pence, along with either a majority of Trump's cabinet or Congressional Republicans, can invoke the 25th amendment because the president is unfit or lacks the capacity to serve, according to Cornell University Law School Legal Institute. And in the event a President Trump is endangering national security or is deemed completely unable to do the job, that's a solid option. It's been invoked six times since it was ratified in 1967, most notably by President Richard Nixon, according to Politico. But if the 25th amendment is used for political purposes, that becomes a dangerous threat to democracy itself.
Vice President Pence deciding with a handful of presidential advisers or Congressional GOPs to wrestle control away from a democratically-elected sitting president sounds a lot like a coup. Trump was elected, whether you agree with it or not, because Americans wanted a president who would break from the Washington D.C. political establishment.
If Trump uses his presidency to challenge the Republican establishment in Congress, the idea of getting rid of Trump and replacing him with a party faithful like Pence might seem like a good idea. And that's the scenario that should concern all Americans.
Consider the fact that many right-wing news outlets called for the 25th amendment to be invoked against President Obama for mental illness, among other perceived incapacities, like this December 2015 article from the Washington Times that asked,
Is it now time to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment?
Has our president officially lost his ability to discharge the powers and duties of his office?
Anyone who listened to President Obama speak to reporters in Paris on Tuesday would reasonably conclude it is high time to start drawing up the papers to transmit to Congress for his removal.
The 25th amendment is, if you'll forgive the metaphor, the nuclear option — the emergency glass we can break in the event of a catastrophe. And if President Trump turns out to be a danger to national security then it will be up to those around him to make the decision of whether to strip him of the powers of his office. But if Trump can be elected by the American people and simply discarded once he's no longer useful to the political machine, then maybe the folks who elected him to demolish the establishment are onto something after all.