You may recall that the subject of last week’s column in this space was the 25th Amendment – the temporary removal from office of a President of the United States who may not be able to fulfill the duties of the office due to some type of incapacitation (mental or physical). As you may remember, the procedure is for the Pres to send a letter to the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem explaining the situation. Another option is for the Vice President and either a majority of high-ranking officers in the executive department or another group deemed okay by Congressional law to send a similar letter to the above-mentioned officials.
Well, there’s a new fly in the amendment ointment. And I think I’ve got this straight. Nancy Pelosi is pushing for a new bill that would give Congress a different role in determining whether or not the 25th Amendment should be invoked. The bill apparently would help establish that other “group” to be okayed and to help shepherd along the process of temporarily removing the President from office.
Huh. I wonder at whom the Speaker is aiming that bill? Now, your first reaction might be, “Well, of course it’s The Donald.” And you’re probably mostly correct. There has been little, if any, indication over the last four years that hearts and flowers have been exchanged between Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Trump. (I don’t know for sure. He might have sent her some stinkweeds in a bouquet, and she may have gifted him with some rancid aftershave, but that’s a total guess.) Perhaps there have been pleasant words exchanged at some time, but no examples leap to mind immediately.
There is, however, another scenario to consider that I heard some fine folks in the media discussing this week. And that is, could the bill be an attempt to lay a little groundwork for a possible Biden presidency and his subsequent removal from office in 2021? One of the participants in the radio discussion postured that the Democratic party might be buying into the “Slow Joe” narrative touted by Trump on the campaign trail. His point was backed up by soundbites of running mate Kamala Harris referring to a “Harris administration” on more than one occasion. So, the conjecture was that the new law might be in place just in time to ease Joe out and usher Kamala into the Oval Office.
Hey, I’m just reporting what I heard.
Now, hard on the heels of that report came word that Georgia Congressman (and, it should be noted, aspiring Senate candidate) Doug Collins introduced a resolution to seek the removal of Ms. Pelosi from her duties as House Speaker. His claim was she “does not have the mental fitness” to lead her branch of Congress. Mr. Collins apparently believes that the “Crazy Nancy” sobriquet President Trump has hung on the Speaker is more substantial in nature than just a pithy way of giving his opinion of her. Collins sites such actions as ripping up the last State of the Union Address in full view of a nationwide audience, utilizing the services of a hair salon in San Francisco that were not available to the masses, the pursuit of what he called “fruitless and baseless accusations” against the President, and bizarre behavior on a recent Sunday morning news show.
Now I certainly don’t have a clue if any of these planted seeds will bear any fruit, but the actions describing attempts to remove elected officials from office do bring to mind one thought: Who’s next? The Vice President? The others in the line of succession to the Presidency? How far down the Constitutional line will we have to travel to find a new leader? What if our elected representatives ended up getting rid of everyone concerned? Administration officials? Gone. House leadership? Gone. Senate chiefs? Gone. And assorted minions right along with them.
Hey. Wait a minute. Think about that for a minute or two. Perhaps a total house-cleaning isn’t such a bad idea. I imagine you can identify a couple of dozen folks you’d like to see exit the public stage, no matter what your political persuasions. Such action does beg the question: Could we do any worse?
If things were run on a tit-for-tat basis, it probably wouldn’t take long to clear out Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue. I’m thinking a can of worms has been opened here. Perhaps even Pandora’s Box, the 2020 version. At the very least, it’s going to be awfully interesting (and perhaps entertaining to boot) to see how this latest get-rid-of-’em drama plays out.
©MMXX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer