President Donald Trump can be replaced. No impeachment required.
This is true for any president, under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment. Although political problems would abound, the mechanism for judging the president’s ability to carry out his duties is solid.
Vice President Mike Pence would take the first step, following Section 4 of the amendment.
The vice president would gather support from a majority of Cabinet members.
Together, they would write a declaration to the Senate president pro tempore and the speaker of the House that the “president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
The vice president would take over as acting president immediately.
The president could resume his position by writing to the Senate president pro tempore and the speaker that “no inability exists.”
The vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could challenge the president’s declaration by submitting their own declaration, again, within four days.
The vice president would resume his place as acting president, and Congress would take up the challenge. It would have 21 days to decide if the president is able to serve.
Votes of two-thirds in both the House and Senate would keep presidential power under the vice president as acting president. Otherwise, the president would regain power.
The 25th Amendment does not prohibit the president from declaring again that he is able to meet the requirements of office. That would have the potential for resetting the cycle of a vice president-Cabinet declaration and congressional votes.
POWERS AND DUTIES
The president holds power over life and death. He commands the military. The power of clemency allows him to pardon a criminal or commute a prison sentence.
He may propose legislation, and sign or veto legislative bills passed by Congress. He directs foreign policy and deals with leaders worldwide.
He appoints ambassadors, as well as thousands of government officials. They include Cabinet members, federal judges and heads of agencies. The Senate confirms many of the appointments.
In short, the president runs the federal government day to day. His actions must adhere to the Constitution and federal laws.
Critics question Trump’s fitness as president because of false and nonsensical statements.
On March 4, Trump wrote on Twitter: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp [sic] my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”
Trump offered no evidence that Obama had tapped his phones. Obama did not have the authority. Trump shamed himself and his presidency, rather than Obama.
On Feb. 18, Trump held a campaign rally in Melbourne, Fla. “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening,” he said. “You look at what’s happening last night in Sweden.”
He implied and the next day confirmed reference to problems with immigrants, of which there is some. Nonetheless, was there trouble in Sweden on the night of Feb. 17? None. Trump’s claim: nonsense.
In an interview with Bill O’Reilly of Fox News, shown before the Super Bowl on Feb. 5, Trump said enforcement of his Jan. 27 travel-ban executive order affected just “109 people.”
In truth, federal officials said, 60,000 visas were revoked because of the travel ban.
With a manner opposite to President Trump’s impertinence, Vice President Pence is loyal, serious and substantially more conservative.
Those qualities would lead Pence to ignore a challenge to Trump’s presidency, other than emergence of an ability-to-serve problem clear both for supporters and opponents to see.
Pence’s calm, purposeful demeanor sets an example for the executive branch.
The nation would owe Pence a debt of gratitude if he would counsel Trump. Advise him to focus outward on the needs of others — rather than inward on himself — to build respect and power.